So long are the days of spending your Saturday on the local car lot. These days, thanks to technology, consumers have the ability to purchase a car from the comfort of their home with the click of a button. Furthermore, their search is no longer limited to local inventory. Purchasing a car online gives consumers a much wider variety of vehicles to choose from and enables them to find exactly what they want. This has made buying a car out of state easier than ever before. Whether you are looking for a new or used vehicle, your chances of finding the exact make, model, and color are much greater when you expand your search nationwide. Not only do you have a better chance of finding the perfect car, but you can even save a ton of money on out-of-state dealership discounts and incentives. That said, you still need to be prepared for some of the pitfalls and obstacles you may face purchasing a car in another state. The following tips can ensure you are well-prepared before making a purchase.
Do Your Research
If you are looking to buy a used car, it is imperative that you get a vehicle history report. Find a reputable company such as CARFAX and take some time to look up the full history report of the vehicle. This will provide you with information regarding a crash or repair history as well as financial issues such as any liens that may be out against the vehicle. Discuss any potential findings with the seller before taking any steps toward making a purchase.
Have it Inspected
If you are not close enough to visit and test drive the vehicle yourself, take the time to have the vehicle inspected by a local mechanic who can evaluate your vehicle’s condition, test drive it, and alert you to any possible problems. If you are purchasing a car from an authorized dealer, they should already take care of this for you because it is required that all vehicles purchased out of state have a pre-purchase inspection performed on them.
Factor in the Cost of Shipping
If you are close enough to drive and pick up your vehicle, this may not apply. Otherwise, you will need to budget for shipping costs when purchasing a car out of state. Some dealerships and sellers will offer incentives such as free shipping but usually the burden of shipping falls on the buyer. Be sure to consider the cost of shipping and factor that into the price when purchasing a car from another state.
Understand the Taxes and Fees
You may think you will save money by purchasing a car from a state with no sales tax. However, you are responsible for paying sales tax in your state of residence. Therefore, if you purchase a car in another state, they will simply pass along the sales tax to the proper agency in your state. In addition to your own state sales tax, you may also have to pay any applicable local sales tax in the state of purchase.
Consider State Inspections
In many states, a smog or emissions test is required in order to register your vehicle. This could delay the registration process so be sure to check with your local DMV beforehand to see what’s required in your state. You should also ask the seller to show proof that the vehicle has passed previous emissions testing so you can avoid surprises.
Obtain the Title and Registration
If you are buying a car from an out-of-state dealership, they should be able to provide you with the necessary paperwork. However, if you are purchasing a car from a private seller, you will need to make sure that the seller provides you with a signed title and bill of sale. This will give you proof of ownership and allow you to obtain proper licensing and registration in your home state. You usually have between 30-60 days to acquire these documents and register your new vehicle.
Frequently Asked Questions
Honest Answers to Your Car Shipping Questions
Yes, we always ask for your specific pickup and delivery addresses, if the carrier can get right to the addresses you provide, they will. If the addresses that you give us are not safely accessible for a Multi-car carrier, however, you will need to make arrangements with the driver to meet at a nearby location where the carrier can safely get in and out.
People do it all the time (rarely for free) but the official answer is no.
Not what you wanted to hear, we know, but that is the honest answer.
We are not licensed to broker the shipment of household goods and, likewise, no car carrier that operates in the USA is licensed to transport them from state to state either. Despite what you might be being told by other car shipping companies you may speak with.
Remember, at the end of the day we're all salespeople, and the true answer to this question is not a great selling point.
You will hear a lot of companies tell you that you can put up to 100 pounds of items in the trunk, but that is not entirely true. That fact is that items of that amount are fairly common and the department of transportation is probably not going to split hairs and fine the trucker over items of that amount, provided they are not over their weight limit. They could fine them, however, if they see a vehicle stuffed full of personal items so the car carrier will most likely try to negotiate something with you to cover themselves against any costs they could incur. It's not something we can build into your contract though.
We have a short and helpful video on this topic in our user videos.
Only in rare cases and car carriers will usually charge a premium to make it happen.
All dates given by car carriers are typically estimates and projections.
For this reason (and to keep your cost down) we ask that you build in some flexibility and give us the earliest possible date you would be WILLING to release the vehicle, even though it may not be your preferred date.
We'll put you in direct contact with your car carrier and the driver will also typically call you the afternoon or evening before your pick up and delivery (they won't just show up unannounced, and if they do we want to hear about it). However, car carriers are out on the road battling traffic, weather and any number of other factors that can and do throw them off of their pickup and delivery projections from time to time.
If the projected dates we give you come and you are unable to make contact with your carrier, please call our office immediately so that we may help resolve the situation.
The average transit time from pick up to delivery on any vehicle going coast to coast will average 7 to 10 days. From there you can figure your transit time based on how far your vehicle is traveling, i.e. from either coast to the Midwest might average 3-7 days.
Even better, we do not even ask for payment until we have you confirmed for pickup by a safe, reliable, fully insured, direct car carrier. If for any reason you do not ship your car with the carrier that we arrange for you, there is no fee.
The fees paid directly to the carrier however, (in most cases, their fees are not paid until your vehicle is delivered) are not directly controlled by us, so any requests for a refund of the carrier's portion would need to be addressed with the carrier directly.
Of course! And you are always backed by our Damage Free Guarantee policy.
Part of what you pay us for is to verify that the car carrier that we put you on is covered by the proper amount of insurance and that everything is up to date.
There is never any additional cost to you for this coverage, and their insurance is always primary.