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Can a foreigner buy a car in USA

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41. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3578 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Terry,
As you know, I don't post on TP very often. Most of my advice on SEA is outdated or readily available to an Internet search. I now primarily help TP members that want to buy a vehicle while in the US. I have met many nice people via TP. I help them fulfill their dream of driving around the US and now have friends in many countries. A win, win!

Happy Holidays to you and your family. Mike

42. Posted by J3S (Budding Member 6 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Thanks, Mike - you're a star!

43. Posted by jtorjo (Budding Member 17 posts) 46w Star this if you like it!

Hi guys,

I will be arriving in Chicago in 2 weeks, and have planned a 4 month trip across the US, and also want to buy a car.
Any help would be deeply appreciated!

Best,
John

44. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 1852 posts) 46w Star this if you like it!

Any help would be deeply appreciated!

There is quite a bit of information already in the previous 42 posts. If you are using a smartphone for research switch to a laptop or tablet and maybe you can make more sense out of the information.

My advice is to get an International Driver's Permit and make sure your home country license is valid for the time in the US.

  • * If you are from a warm country keep in mind that during your 4 months you will probably encounter snow. If driving in the snow is something new for you just remember traction in snow is only part of the process - stopping without crashing into the car in front of you is another thing to worry about! Drive carefully especially in snow and ice!

Good luck.

45. Posted by jtorjo (Budding Member 17 posts) 46w Star this if you like it!

Quoting karazyal

Any help would be deeply appreciated!

There is quite a bit of information already in the previous 42 posts. If you are using a smartphone for research switch to a laptop or tablet and maybe you can make more sense out of the information.

My advice is to get an International Driver's Permit and make sure your home country license is valid for the time in the US.

  • * If you are from a warm country keep in mind that during your 4 months you will probably encounter snow. If driving in the snow is something new for you just remember traction in snow is only part of the process - stopping without crashing into the car in front of you is another thing to worry about! Drive carefully especially in snow and ice!

Good luck.

Thanks for the reply!
Mostly, I saw a few answers from vegasmike6, saying he PMed the guys needing help.

Having said that, I did quite a bit of research.

1. I just bought an International Driver's Permit. Incredibly expensive in Romania :)
2. I think I have the insurance thing figured out for the most part.
3. Plenty of snow in Romania, I know what that's like :D
4. Things I need help with:
a. Can I get insurance, if I'm in Chicago, but I would do it on an address from Miami (I have a friend there).
b. Can I register it to DMV in Chicago, on a PO Box, or on an address from Miami?

Best,
John

46. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 1852 posts) 46w Star this if you like it!

jtorjo Romania

One Google search I came up with mentioned tourists renting a slightly used car vs buying. Below is an article for "Rent a Wreck" where you pay for the use of the car. There may be other companies in Chicago but not sure since I haven't been there in a long time except for the airport. These cars are not new but maintenance should be okay. Do a Google search for"cheap" long term rental contracts for Chicago and Miami.

I don't know how much you were going to spend on a car but if the car is too old you may end up paying more to repair it than it's worth. Have your friend check with rental companies near his house. With used cars you buy they have to pass inspection and have insurance. With a rental company they have a system in place for insurance and the cars are inspected.

Sample:
http://www.rentawreck.com/rental_requirements.htm

What is your budget for buying a car and insuring and registering it? There is a minimum age limit too. It may pay to use a bus or train for long distance rides and just rent a car in particular cities for local exploring.

Up to you.

47. Posted by jtorjo (Budding Member 17 posts) 46w Star this if you like it!

Hi karazyal,

I checked rentawreck.com, for 4 months, prices are quite steep (around $5000).

My budget is $6000 for the car, and around $500-$750 for registering it. I'm thinking insurance for 4 months should be around $400.

This fits quite a few awesome Ford Mustangs (2006), and that's what I'd like.

Best,
John

48. Posted by jtorjo (Budding Member 17 posts) 46w Star this if you like it!

p.s. No worries about the min age limit, I'm 30+ :D

49. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 1852 posts) 46w Star this if you like it!

Good luck. Some Mustangs in good shape sell for more money than what you plan to spend. (Some are even double!) Unless its is your friend who is providing the car.

Have fun.

50. Posted by OldPro (Inactive 400 posts) 46w Star this if you like it!

If rental is $5k with no worries at all re insurance or repairs and you are looking at around $7k+ to buy, insure and register, assuming no repairs, that to me is a NO BRAINER. You RENT.

You may want to consider how insurance works. There is never a problem BUYING insurance. The problem only ever arises if you need to make a claim. Every insurance company has a department that doesn't exist on paper, called 'the claims refusal department'. Every claim goes first to that non-existent department to see if they can avoid paying out on a claim.

Now, they will check all kinds of things. Like are you actually a resident in the place you claimed as your residency. No? Hmm, providing false information on an application, claim refused.

Or let's just say they choose to take their time about dealing with your claim. What are you doing in the meantime? You cannot continue on with your trip if the vehicle is not drivable. Oops, didn't think of that. So will you have the money to either repair the car and wait to get money back from your claim later or to replace the car if it is not repairable and then wait for the money from your claim. All supposing of course that they do not refuse your claim. If it is a rental, they simply bring you another one!

I once had a rental car break down on the side of the road in the middle of the Sonora Desert south of Tucson. I hitched a ride to Tucson; checked into a hotel; phoned the rental company and told them where THEIR car was with the keys left behind the right front wheel and asked them to bring me another car to my hotel. They delivered another car to me and I accepted the keys while sitting poolside drinking an ice cold beer.

The saying is, 'hope for the best, plan for the worst'. You like many other people seem to be planning only for the best.

As for a 2006 Mustang, well all that is, is an old car someone buys who can't afford anything better. There is no such thing as an 'awesome' 2006 Mustang. You may have visions of driving down Route 66 in a Mustang convertible, top down. All that gets you is a sunburn and a car full of dust and sand, not to mention a bill for fuel that is double or more what you would spend on a fuel efficient car which arguably, Ford has never managed to build yet. ;)

RentaWreck by the way probably doesn't have anything as old as a 2006 that they rent. They used to rent quite old cars when they first started but now their cars are generally only a few years old. Rent based on size, fuel efficiency, etc. NOT on looks.