Buying of a car and insurance
We are three danish girls planning a roadtrip. We're planning on buying a car, but is a bit unsure about the cost and coverage of insurance. Two of us are 23 years old and the other 24. Is insurance very expensive when all drivers are under 25?
We have seen cars at the internet at the cost of 1000$. Is it possible to get a car at this cost (or below), that can drive from Miami to San Francisco without blowing up?
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Simply put, no, I would not trust any car that costs less than $1000 miles to make it across the country. I'd have doubts about anything under $2000, and wouldn't really feel comfortable until you got into the $3-4000 range.
But even that is really putting things too simply. On top of the car purchase itself, you will be looking at several hundred extra dollars for insurance, taxes, registration, etc, and that's assuming you can find a way to take car of all the paperwork without being a US resident. You'll also need to pay for an inspection and have money in reserve for repairs.
You didn't say how long you plan to take for this trip, but a general rule of thumb is that you need to be on the road for at least 2-3 months for the purchase of a car to be worthwhile, and unless you have a full travel visa (not using the visa waiver program) its going to be very difficult to take care of the legal issues that come with purchasing a car.
As Michael has said, the purchasing of the car is the least of your concern. That part is relatively easy and cheap. Putting that car on the road with registration, insurance and all the other issues would be your main concern. And what was a relatively cheap car (between three of you), could cost even thousands more before you can legally drive it... not to mention the weeks you could be waiting for paperwork, plates, etc. And then there is the maintenance and repairs.
Renting a vehicle, which initially may look much more expensive, could turn out to be not just a cheaper option, but you have the peace of mind that the car can be driven the day you want it and the company will stand behind you in case of breakdown. Check your travel insurance for options of coverage with a rental car.
You might also like to check out Adventures on Wheels. They do not have a surcharge for drivers under 25.
Last edited by Lifemagician; 05-20-2009 at 02:19 PM.
Reason: add extra information
Thank you both for the answers. What I didn't wrote before was that all three of us are going to study a semester at University of Miami. So another reason for buying a car was to have the opportunity to go on trips in the weekends. Our roadtrip will only last 3 weeks (is that enough time if we have already seen Florida before the weeks?), but we would have the car for 5 months.
Another concern is if it is possible to sell the car in a hurry when we get to San Francisco from Miami?
If we chosse to rent (as you recommended) is it expensive to rent the car in Miami and deliver it in San Francisco?
I really think renting a car would be the better option, since you can purchase renter's insurance AND get a MUCH nicer, newer, more reliable car than you would otherwise. Many national car rental chains will allow you to rent a car in one city and return it in another. Try Hertz , or Alamo I believe they offer this option. You can also talk to a rental agent from either one of these or other national rental companies.
Last edited by Midwest Michael; 05-21-2009 at 05:07 AM.
Reason: fixed link format
Well, considering your specific circumstances, there are a few options.
First, being here as students will make it much easier to purchase a car, and you could find that it is nice to have a vehicle during your months here. However, it will still cost a good deal of money, and you'll need to expect to spend a few thousand dollars upfront (you'll probably get some of it back at the end, but be prepared to lose most of it).
However, if you go this route, I think it will be much easier to try and do a round trip roadtrip. California has some significant smog regulations that can make it very difficult to sell an out of state car. You also shouldn't expect to be able to sell the car the same day that you need to get on a plane. The less time you have to sell the car, the less money you're going to get for it.
If you've only got 3 weeks, then you'd probably be a bit rushed trying to do a round trip to San Francisco. It could be done, but wouldn't leave much time for exploration. If you just want to do a one way trip, then renting a car could be a better option. Pretty much every national car rental company will allow one way rentals, but drop off fees and underage fees are going to vary widely by company.