There are many reasons you might want to purchase a car even if you don’t have a license. But is it possible? You may be able to purchase a vehicle without a license, but the regulations are different in each state. In order to make the purchase, you will likely have to follow different steps than the typical purchaser.

There are a number of reasons that buying a car without a license may make sense. Here are few common reasons for this type of vehicle purchase:

  • You will eventually get your license.
  • You need the car for business purposes and someone on your team will drive it.
  • You will hire a professional driver to drive you around.
  • It’s a gift for someone that does have a license.

Limitations when buying a car without a license

While it is typically possible to buy a car when you don’t have a driver’s license, you may face certain limitations. Every state has different rules and laws, so be sure to narrow your research to the state you’ll be purchasing and registering the vehicle in. There are some states that require a license to register a car. And even if the state allows you to purchase a vehicle, you may face limitations.

More work to get the car registered

When you buy a vehicle — either new or used — you need to register the vehicle and have the title transferred to your name. This process may be more difficult if you don’t have a license.

For one, registering a vehicle requires some sort of identification. Typically, a license serves this purpose, but if you don’t have a license you will need to have another type of identification. You also might be required to have insurance to register.

Additionally some states may require a different registration process for vehicle owners who don’t have a license. You may have to go into the registration office in-person to complete the process.

Insurance may be more expensive

In order to drive your vehicle, you must have car insurance. And getting car insurance may be more difficult if you don’t have a license. Some car insurance companies may not even allow you to get insurance through them if you don’t have a driver’s license.

When you find an insurance provider who will insure you without a license, they will likely ask for the information of the primary driver. If this person has a less than favorable driving record, insurance premiums could be higher than average.

Financing your purchase may be more difficult

Having a driver’s license isn’t technically required to get an auto loan. However, you usually need some form of photo identification. If you don’t have a driver’s license, you will need to have another type of government-issued photo ID in order to apply for loans.

4 steps to buy a car without a license

The process of buying a car without a license is quite similar to what it is if you do have a license. Just make sure you understand the requirements in your state.

1. Pick your purchase method

There are a few different ways to buy a vehicle. You can buy a brand new car from a dealer. Or, you can buy a used car. A used car can be purchased from an individual or through a used car dealership. Decide what type of vehicle you want to purchase and where you will look for options.

2. Determine how you will pay for it

When purchasing a car, you can either pay for the vehicle in cash or finance the purchase with an auto loan. An auto loan allows you to spread out the cost of the vehicle over time and gives you the option to buy a car that you don’t have the full amount of cash for at the moment. However, taking out a loan means you will also be responsible for interest and loan fees in addition to the cost of the car.

If you pay for the car in cash, you may not be able to afford all of the same options. However, you won’t have any additional financing fees to cover and you don’t have to worry about making loan payments in the future.

3. Find a vehicle

Once you know your budget and where you want to look for vehicles, you need to find a vehicle. You can search for used cars for sale by individuals on platforms like craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.

If you want to use a dealer for either a used or a new car, look for dealers in your area who sell the type of car you want. It may be a good idea to shop at multiple dealers to find the best deal.

4. Transfer the title

When you find your car, you will need to transfer the title to your name. When you buy from a dealer, they usually handle this process. If you buy from an individual, you will both need to visit the registration office to transfer the title. Just remember, that the title requirements for purchasing a car without a license differ in each state.

Ways to avoid buying a car without a license

Not sure you want to handle the hassle of purchasing a car without a license? There are a few other options you could try:

  • Get your license. This eliminates any hurdles you may encounter when purchasing a car without a license.
  • Use public transit. Instead of purchasing a car, use the local public transit to get around.
  • Use a ridesharing service. Services like Uber or Lyft can help you get around. These can be costly if you use them often, but if you only need transportation every once in a while this could be a viable option.
  • Ride your bike or walk. Great for your wallet and your health, walking or riding your bike to get around may be an option if you don’t have too far to travel.

The bottom line

It’s possible to buy a car without a license, but you need to know the regulations in your specific state. Understand your needs and research your options. Knowing all of your options will help you decide the best way to proceed.

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