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  1. Default non resident car purchase

    Hi We are coming to visit our son in Vancouver next year and rather than pay $1500 for car rental we have decided to purchase a used car/truck/suv and gift it to him when we return to UK.What is the best way of doing this buy in Vancouver or Seattle and what taxes would we have to pay,i would use his address for registration and bring my own insurance from UK ( if possible to do ).
    We would have about US$10k to spend.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default "Gifting".

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    We have had many overseas visitors asking about purchasing a car for a road trip, but normally they do not have a registration address and have to sell it at the end of the trip, making it almost impossible to do.

    I am no expert, but rather than "gifting" the car to your son at the end of the trip it might be better to purchase it in his name at the start. The only downside would be that any accident you may be involved in might affect his insurance liability.

    I am sure someone could come along who is better informed, but I thought I would say "Hi" anyway.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    I agree with Dave that buying a car in your son's name is going to be a whole lot easier than trying to purchase a car yourself.

    You're pretty much going to have to buy the car in Canada, as if you buy one in the US you would not be able to use his address or even give the car to him without going through a whole mess of Importation Paperwork and Fees. (also a car with a Speedometer in miles likely won't be as valuable in metric Canada)

    I'm also not sure of the exact process in BC & Canada, but typically you have to be able to show you have insurance to register a car and its rather unlikely that a UK policy would qualify. You also often can't register a car without having a local drivers license, and you typically can't get one of those until you prove that you are actually living there (again, that's the case for the US, and is likely similar in BC, but you'll have to check with their Department of Motor Vehicles for specifics.)

    The easiest thing to do would almost certainly be to purchase the car in his name up front, and then just borrow it. You may need to get your names added to his insurance policy, and you'll also need to know that if you would get into a crash, he could potentially be held liable for your actions. (probably not as much of a concern, since you'd also have your UK insurance to fall back on, but something to consider none the less.)

    You also didn't say how long you plan to be on the road, but generally you need to be on the road for at least 2-3 months before a car purchase "breaks even." Obviously, if you were planning to give your son a car anyway, its a bit different, but that is something to consider.

  4. Default car purchase

    At the present he is not a resident on Canada and so is stuck there till he gets his papers. I said to him last year that i would help him to get some reliable wheels for the weather year round and have about £6000 to gift him,he is saving to get a better car than the money i can give will buy.As both him and his girlfriend work we could only see them on week-ends,and our intention was to drive from/to Vancouver,via Yellowstone The Big Horn, glacier NP and Calgary/Banff/Lake Loiuse. Car rental would cost $1500us for our 4 weeks there so the idea of purchase would gift him an extra few dollars and give us a car for our travels.I think the idea of him buying prior to our visit is good sense and i will get insurance cover from here for the trip.will let you know the outcome.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Even if he's not a resident, if he is staying there on a long term visa he still should be able to get the car registered and insured.

    For what its worth US$10k should buy a very comfortable and long lasting car, as long as you are shopping wisely. You should be able to get something with fairly low miles that's only a couple years old - basically the sweet spot between where you're between losing a ton of money with depreciation and where you start having to deal with frequent repairs.

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