If you’re planning a US road trip or any vacation, unless you’re headed to a big city like New York, you’re going to need a car. It`s a pretty big place. Fortunately, most car hire companies will let you pick up a car in one place and drop it off somewhere else, so if you’re road-tripping, you won’t need to go in a circle! Alternatively, you could always buy a car and then sell it once you reach your destination. The procedure for buying and insuring a car as a tourist isn’t as straightforward as it is for Americans, but it’s entirely possible and may work out more conveniently and more economically for your trip.
Learn more about automobiles at Vehicle Lab.
Buying a car in the United States
Tourists can purchase cars and vehicles from either dealerships or private individuals.
If you’re arranging a purchase with a private individual, it’s essential that you make sure they are the legal owner of the car and have all relevant documentation for it before you hand over any money. You’ll also need to make sure you visit the state’s motor vehicle bureau to register the car with you as the new owner, and sign all the associated documentation and pay the tax and registration fee.
Once all your documentation is signed, you must keep a copy of it in the car with you at all times, as well as a copy of your insurance documentation.
Insuring a car in the United States
While the process of buying the car is usually easy, insuring a car can be a little harder. This is because in most cases, the tourist won`t have an American driving license. Many insurance companies will only issue a policy to either residents of the US, or those who have a driving license issued in the US. Some other providers will insure tourists, but at much higher rates than usual.
In most parts of the United States, car owners must have a type of insurance called `bodily injury liability,’ which protects both you and anyone else if you’re involved in an accident. Payouts on these policies cover loss of earnings, medical expenses, and any other expenses you might incur as a direct result of your injuries (care costs, etc). If the cost of these expenses is higher than the total value of the policy, the `at fault’ driver is responsible for the rest.
In order to get an insurance policy, you’ll also need to provide an address within the United States. You should arrange your insurance policy before registering your car.
What happens if you don`t get insurance?
Even if you don’t have an accident while you’re driving in the United States, it’s essential that you arrange an insurance policy as to drive an uninsured car is a criminal offense in all states. The punishment you could receive ranges from anything to fines to the seizure of your car, so buy insurance before you get behind the wheel.