Buying A Car From Out Of State: # Tips & Tricks

You’ve found the perfect car at a great price on the internet…the only problem is that it’s located in another state. Before you give up your dream car simply because it’s in another state, here are some tips and tricks to help make the process easy and worthwhile:

6 Tips for Buying an Out of State Car

Buying a car out of state can be challenging, but you can do things to make the process easier.

  1. Do your research
  2. Be wary of low prices
  3. Get the car inspected
  4. Decide whether to ship it or drive it home
  5. Get insurance coverage
  6. Read the paperwork carefully

Let’s go into the details of each tip.

Tip 1: Do Your Research

You should always do your research when buying a car out of state. Since the stakes are higher, it’s even more important to do your research to avoid scams.

Start by researching the dealership or seller in question to ensure that they’re reputable and trustworthy.

Then research the actual car you’re looking to buy by checking out the vehicle history report through companies like CarFax.

Tip 2: Be Wary of Low Prices

Even if you think you see an amazing deal on a car out of state, you should be wary of prices completely different from the average value.

Low prices are an indication that there’s something wrong with the vehicle.

As a result, you need to proceed with caution if you encounter extremely low prices.

Tip 3: Get the Car Inspected

To cover your bases when purchasing a car from another state, it’s always a good idea to get the car inspected before you sign on the dotted line.

Finding a trusted mechanic far from home can be challenging, so be sure to check certifications and reviews for local mechanics.

You should also take the vehicle for a spin yourself to see how it drives and feels. If any repairs are necessary, complete them before driving back home.

Tip 4: Decide Whether to Ship or Drive the Car Home

Next, you need to decide whether to ship the car or drive it home yourself. If you’re in a neighboring state within a few hundred miles of home, it might make sense for you to drive the car home.

However, if you’re on the other side of the country, thousands of miles away from home, you should consider shipping it.

Tip 5: Get Insurance Coverage Before Going Home

Before making the trip, you need vehicle insurance if anything happens on the road. So contact your insurance company to acquire proof of insurance for this new vehicle before hitting the road.

Tip 6: Read Paperwork Carefully

Finally, you need to read all paperwork carefully before purchasing the car. Don’t just assume that everything is correct in the bill of sale. Feel free to ask any questions you may have before you sign.

Do I Need To Pay Taxes Twice If I Buy a Car from Another State?

One common misconception about buying a car from another state is that you’re then required to pay taxes twice — once in the state where you purchased the vehicle and again in your home state.

In reality, you will only need to pay taxes in the state where you plan on registering your vehicle.

What Taxes Will I Be Paying?

When you purchase a new or used car, most states will require you to pay sales tax based on the vehicle's purchase price.

However, the exact percentage of sales tax levied for car purchases varies by state. In addition, many counties and cities can charge their own sales taxes on top of the state tax. So before you purchase a vehicle anywhere, it’s always a good idea to look into your state and local tax rates.

Another tax you may need to look out for is a personal property tax for vehicles. Some states, including Virginia, Connecticut, Mississippi, and Rhode Island, charge a unique property tax.

This tax is based on the resale value of your car on an annual basis. If you’ve owned a car in these states before, you’re likely aware of this tax; however, if you’re purchasing a more expensive car, you should expect your taxes to increase as a result.

What Are the Advantages of Buying a Car Out of State?

Buying a new car from another state can be more complicated than buying one from your home state. However, sometimes the extra research and effort into buying elsewhere are worth it.

More Vehicle Options

Buying a car from another state could provide you with more vehicle options than you’d find in your home state. For example, if you’re looking for a specific type of antique vehicle and find a private seller in another state, it would be worthwhile to buy this specialized vehicle rather than waiting for one to come up for sale in your current state.

Buying a new car out of state might also be necessary if you’re looking for a specific make or model, but there are no dealerships located in your state. For example, say you live in Alabama and buy a Tesla in-person from a Tesla store.

However, there are currently no Tesla stores located in Alabama. In this case, you could travel to the surrounding states of Mississippi, Georgia, or Florida to purchase your new Tesla.

Better Pricing

Buying a car from another state could also provide you with a better price. Car prices are based on supply and demand and vary based on location. So if you’re looking for a specific type of car that’s in high demand in your area, you can expect to pay a higher price.

However, you could look for that same car somewhere with a lower demand so that you can get a lower price.

What Are the Disadvantages of Buying a Car Out of State?

  1. The longer distance
  2. Paying taxes based on your state’s laws
  3. Vehicle registration must be done in your state

While there are certainly advantages to buying a car out of state, there are also disadvantages that car buyers should consider.

The Longer Distance

Perhaps the distance is the biggest disadvantage of buying a car out of state. Instead of simply driving the car home from a dealer down the street, you now have to find a way to get your car home from another state. This can be quite challenging if you’re not purchasing from a neighboring state.

Paying Taxes Based On Your State’s Laws

Another disadvantage of buying a car out of state is the taxes. In theory, you might think that you could buy a car in a state with no sales taxes, like Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, or Oregon, and simply bypass this tax.

However, even if you buy a car in a state with no sales tax, you’re still obligated to pay taxes to your home state, where you’re going to be registering your new car.

Vehicle Registration Must Be Done In Your State

The last disadvantage of buying a car out of state is the registration. You’re required to register your car in your home state, and to do that; you need to take a trip to your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles or DMV. However, you can’t do that until you’re back home.

As a result, driving a new car back home from another state without the proper registration can be a problem. You need to obtain a temporary registration card and temporary license plate from the state where you purchased the car to drive it back home legally and safely.

How Do I Ship My Car Home?

If you’re purchasing a car from a state farther than a day’s drive, it might make sense for you to ship your vehicle back home instead of driving it.

After all, you just spent all this money on a vehicle; it doesn’t make sense to put thousands of miles on it and risk an accident to drive it back home.

Open vs. Enclosed Transport

There are two main transport options to choose from when it comes to car shipping: open transport and enclosed transport. With open transport, your car is loaded onto a completely open trailer. Most of these trailers are double-deckers and can fit up to ten vehicles at a time.

With enclosed transport, your car is loaded into a completely enclosed trailer. Some of these trailers are designed to fit multiple cars, while others can only fit one car at a time.

For most vehicles, open transport is sufficient as it’s the cheaper and more efficient option. However, if you have a particularly expensive or rare vehicle, you may want to consider enclosed transport.

How Long Does It Take to Ship a Car?

The time it takes to ship your car depends on the distance traveled. Here’s the estimated number of days it takes to ship a car based on distance:

  • Two days of transit time for distances of less than 500 miles
  • Four days of transit time for distances between 500 and 1,000 miles
  • Six days of transit time for distances between 1,000 and 1,500 miles
  • Eight days of transit time for distances between 1,500 and 2,000 miles
  • Ten days of transit time for distances between 2,000 and 2,500 miles
  • 11 days of transit time for distances greater than 2,500 miles

The time it takes to ship your car also depends on the service option — door-to-door service or terminal-to-terminal service.

With door-to-door service, you choose your car's pick-up and drop-off locations, and the driver meets you there. With terminal-to-terminal service, you drive your car to and from nearby auto terminals, where the driver then picks up and drops off your car.

Door-to-door service routes are carefully planned so that drivers can quickly pick up and drop off all vehicles in the load. However, it may take an extra day or two for the driver to pick up and drop off your car, depending on its placement in the load.

Terminal-to-terminal service can take longer since drivers often wait for a full load before hitting the road. This can take time and can be difficult to predict. So if you’re on a tight timeline, you may want to consider door-to-door service instead.

If you’re on a tight timeline and need your vehicle delivered quickly, then consider expedited car shipping services from companies like Carvaygo.

Is Car Shipping Expensive?

The cost of car shipping varies based on several different factors. So whether or not shipping your car would be considered “expensive” or not depends on the size of your vehicle, the shipping distance, the time of year, and the method of transport.

The smaller your new car is, the cheaper it will be to ship. If you’re shipping a small car, it will cost about $1,150. However, if you’re shipping a larger SUV or truck, it will cost between $1,280 and $1,450.

The shorter the distance you’re shipping your car, the cheaper it is.

  • If you’re shipping your car less than 500 miles, it will cost about $780.
  • If you’re shipping your car 500 to 1,000 miles, it will cost about $960.
  • If you’re shipping your car 1,000 to 1,500 miles, it will cost about $1,290.
  • If you’re shipping your car 1,500 to 2,000 miles, it will cost about $1,530.
  • If you’re shipping your car over 2,000 miles, it will cost about $1,600.
  • If you’re shipping your car during peak moving season in the summer, you can expect to pay about $200 to $300 more, thanks to increased demand.
  • If you’re using open transport to ship your car, you can expect to pay about $1,080 on average compared to $1,500 for enclosed transport.

The Bottom Line

Buying a car out of state is easy with Carvaygo. All you need to do is go to our website for a quick and easy quote based on your vehicle, address, and chosen shipping service.

We’ll take it from there by assigning a vetted carrier to pick up your vehicle and transport it back home promptly.

Buying a Car Out of State: Everything You Need To Know | Car and Driver
What New Car Fees Should You Pay? | Edmunds
How Much Does It Cost to Ship A Car? |

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