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  1. Default Need advice: Buying a car in Canada or the US?

    Hi,

    Great forum guys!

    We are two 21-year-old guys from Denmark who are currently working in Canada (working holiday), so we have Canadian social security numbers.

    The thing is

    We are planning a two month road trip from Seattle, Vancouver, or San Francisco to Miami and as we are 21 years of age we have come to the conclusion that buying a car is the best possible option.

    Should we buy the car/insurance in Vancouver and if yes how is it possible to sell a Canadian registered car in the us?

    Are there any US companies that sells car+insurance packages to foreigners?

    Does Geico, AIG etc. offer auto insurances to foreigners?

    Any help is greatly appreciated

    Thanks in advance,
    Fred

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,703

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    Here is an older post from two Danes asking about insurance.

    I think you may find it difficult to sell a Canadian car in the US; sometimes items as simple as side marker lights are not the same and do not meet US safety regulations. I did bring up this document from the NHTSA.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default Oh canada

    Since you are living and working in Canada, it should be relatively easy to buy a car and find insurance using the address where you are currently living. Your citizenship status won't really matter, as long as you are legally living and working in Canada.

    Having said that, you've still got a whole host of problems with your plan.

    The biggest one is that it will be virtually impossible to sell a Canadian licensed car in the US. At that point, you'd basically be importing the car, which opens up a whole new can of red tape, not to mention taxes and fees.

    Buying a car in the US would not be easy, since you don't have a legal address here, thus creating all sorts of problems for license and insurance.

    What I would say would be far and away your easiest option, and perhaps your only realistic option, is to do a round trip roadtrip where you are starting and ending in Canada. Driving a Canadian car in the US is not a problem, and the insurance will be valid on both sides of the border. You wouldn't even have to finish in Vancouver: you could simply end your trip in Toronto, Montreal, or almost anywhere else in Canada. I just don't think that buying or selling a car in the US will work for your trip.

  4. Default

    Thanks guys, your help is greatly appreciated!

    If we buy a car in the US at a medium/large dealership, surely they could help us with insurance etc.? We both hold international drivers licenses.

    We've heard from some of our friends that you do not need a US address before you can register and insure a car, however, it would certainly make things a lot easier!

    Best regards,
    Fred

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default Please share your knowledge

    A medium to large dealership is probably going to tell you that unless you are a US resident, they can't help you, and I've never seen ANY car dealership have anything to do with insurance. They are two very serparate things.

    All an international drivers license does is provide a translation of your home countries drivers license. It does not give you any other legal rights or priviladges and will not be of any particular help in this situation.

    If your friends have found a way to buy a car in the US without a US address, please share with us what that is. Despite hundreds of questions about this process, no one has ever come forward to say they've been able to buy a car without a US residence.

  6. Default

    Hi

    Apologies if this is incorrect (I'm no expert in US law), this is just what they said...

    When they registered the car they used the address of the Hostel they were staying at... Then they got some temporary plates, and then they said to the motor department that the new plates (that would arrive within a month) should be sent to another us address (which was an address of another hostel that they would later stay at)

    I have absolutely no idea if this would work.. This is just what they said..

    Apologies if this is BS...

    Best regards,
    Fred

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default unlikely

    If your friends were able to make this work, and they have first hand information, then I would certainly use that. Please report back if you have some success with this route.

    I would say that the claim sounds highly suspect. Just for security reasons, I really doubt that you could get a DMV to send the license, and more importantly the title, to an address other than the official residence. That's even moreso if the address is out of state.

    That also doesn't solve the insurance problem, where generally you're going to need some sort of US documentation to obtain a policy.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Fred, I would honestly recommend that you take the bus from Vancouver to Seattle, and rent a car for a one way dropoff in Miami. This will be costly, but you will have a relatively new vehicle with breakdown protection and insurance. If you were able to buy a car, what are you going to do with it when you get to Miami? Reselling it for anything near what you paid for it is far from being a given. Anything you can buy from a medium or large dealership is going to be expensive (they don't keep old tradeins, they wholesale them to the small lots), and would you trust an old cheap car on a cross country trip?

  9. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    Fred, I would honestly recommend that you take the bus from Vancouver to Seattle, and rent a car for a one way dropoff in Miami. This will be costly, but you will have a relatively new vehicle with breakdown protection and insurance. If you were able to buy a car, what are you going to do with it when you get to Miami? Reselling it for anything near what you paid for it is far from being a given. Anything you can buy from a medium or large dealership is going to be expensive (they don't keep old tradeins, they wholesale them to the small lots), and would you trust an old cheap car on a cross country trip?
    I guess we are a bit naive in regards to trusting the car....:)

    I will take renting a car into consideration.. What are the cheapest rental companies?

    Best regards,
    Fred

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,703

    Default Varies

    Quote Originally Posted by FredHB View Post
    I will take renting a car into consideration.. What are the cheapest rental companies?
    You'd have to check online for the best rates, as they can vary depending on season and any promotions that happen to be going on at the time. You're going to have to stick with a national brand in order to ensure that you can even do a one-way drop off. These would be the companies found at most airports, such as Hertz, Avis, or Alamo.

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