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Question: Foreigner Owning Car In USA?  
User currently offlineBirdwatching From Germany, joined Sep 2003, 3822 posts, RR: 51
Posted (4 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 6334 times:

I've traveled a lot to the USA these last years, specifically to the west. Sometimes alone sometimes with friends. I love to visit the national parks or just be on the road.
So I've been thinking, instead of rental cars, couldn't I just buy a car, park it somewhere and use it whenever I'm in the US?

So here is the plan:

I would buy and register the car somewhere out west where it is easy to get cheap flights into. All sings point to Las Vegas. I would rent a parking spot somewhere easily accessible from the airport. The DMV visits, inspections and paperwork would be done whenever I'm over there.

Now my question is: As a German, with a German passport and driver's license, how complicated is it for me to own a car in the US? What would the paperwork / formalities be like? Are there insurances specifically for occasional / low-mileage driving?

Thanks for any advice!

Soren   


All the things you probably hate about travelling are warm reminders that I'm home
13 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineoly720man From United Kingdom, joined May 2004, 6737 posts, RR: 11
Reply 1, posted (4 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 6324 times:

Not having a US address seems to be a potential problem, as does where the car will be parked up when not in use.

Discussed here....

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thread.jspa?threadID=1772848



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User currently offlineajd1992 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (4 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 6309 times:

You can do it - Top Gear did it for a roadtrip (from Florida to Louisiana) but how you would go about that, I don't know. But i'm 99% sure you can do it.

User currently offlinevarigb707 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 6110 times:

You may consider leasing, instead of buying it. Just a thought.

User currently offlineN328KF From United States of America, joined May 2004, 6485 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 6107 times:

Have you thought about services such as ZipCar?


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User currently offlinefalstaff From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 6104 posts, RR: 28
Reply 5, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 6096 times:
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Quoting Birdwatching (Thread starter):
So I've been thinking, instead of rental cars, couldn't I just buy a car, park it somewhere and use it whenever I'm in the US?

That depends on the state. Some states, like Michigan, do not require you to have a Michigan address to get Michigan plates. I have a friend who lives in another state, but has his car registered in Michigan, with his out of state address on his registraion and title. Since Michigan does not require any kind of inspection there is no hassle with getting your plates renewed yearly. You can renew through the mail. The only requirement to getting Michigan registration is to have Michigan insurance. You would need to do everything in person the first time, but everything else can be done through the mail.

People do it with boats all the time, because a boat should be registered in the state that it is used in the most, not the state its owner lives in. Michigan considers cars the same way.



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User currently offlinefalstaff From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 6104 posts, RR: 28
Reply 6, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 6092 times:
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Quoting Birdwatching (Thread starter):
Are there insurances specifically for occasional / low-mileage driving?

yes, but that would be difficult to get if you are only going to insure one car, because the company will see it has your primary vehicle. I am a single person with two cars so one is considered primary and the other is secondary and it has a different insurance rate. The company rightly assumes that I can only drive one car at a time. Back when I had three cars one was only used during nice weather and sat in my garage all winter. During the winter I had storage insurance, which meant that the car would be covered as long as it didn't leave my property. If a tree fell on it it would be covered if I drove it on the road it would not. When the warm weather came I called my insurer and had my regular insurance reinstated.



My mug slaketh over on Falstaff N503
User currently offlineKappel From Suriname, joined Jul 2005, 3533 posts, RR: 17
Reply 7, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 6089 times:

Quoting ajd1992 (Reply 2):
Top Gear did it for a roadtrip (from Florida to Louisiana)

Loved that episode, especially when driving through Georgia.



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User currently offlineajd1992 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 6068 times:

Quoting Kappel (Reply 7):

Loved that episode, especially when driving through Georgia.

They drove through Georgia?   I thought it was Florida - Alabama - Louisiana.

Any news on if you can register and insure a car yet?


User currently offlineBirdwatching From Germany, joined Sep 2003, 3822 posts, RR: 51
Reply 9, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 6051 times:

Quoting falstaff (Reply 5):
Some states, like Michigan, do not require you to have a Michigan address to get Michigan plates. I have a friend who lives in another state, but has his car registered in Michigan, with his out of state address on his registraion and title.

That sounds great. Is this for out-of-state US addresses only, or could it also be an international address?

Soren   



All the things you probably hate about travelling are warm reminders that I'm home
User currently offlineBirdwatching From Germany, joined Sep 2003, 3822 posts, RR: 51
Reply 10, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 6048 times:

Quoting Birdwatching (Reply 9):
Is this for out-of-state US addresses only, or could it also be an international address?

Looks like somebody posted this exact question, who is a German like me:
http://www.carinsurance.com/kb/content12661.aspx

Seems like the problem is getting insurance WITHOUT a US driving license.

Soren   



All the things you probably hate about travelling are warm reminders that I'm home
User currently offlineCOrocks From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 1215 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 6039 times:

What is your reasoning in doing this? I cannot imagine any scenario where this would cheaper than renting. Plus you have to deal with dead batteries, warped tires, etc - depending on how often you drive it.......

User currently offlinefalstaff From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 6104 posts, RR: 28
Reply 12, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 6028 times:
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Quoting Birdwatching (Reply 9):
That sounds great. Is this for out-of-state US addresses only, or could it also be an international address?

I don't know, but it is worth a shot.

Quoting Birdwatching (Reply 10):
Seems like the problem is getting insurance WITHOUT a US driving license

I would call an insurance company and find out. I would go with one of the shady insurance companies around Detroit, like LOOK Insurance, because they deal with questionable things all the time. They usually only ask about money. They deal with the crowd that only has insurance so they can register their car and don't have insurance the rest of the year. You do have to have insurance in Michigan, but 1 in 5 in Wayne county don't.



My mug slaketh over on Falstaff N503
User currently offlineTugger From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 5608 posts, RR: 8
Reply 13, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 5987 times:

Quoting Birdwatching (Reply 10):
Seems like the problem is getting insurance WITHOUT a US driving license

Is there an insurance company that covers both Germany and the USA that you could use? Does your current insurance company partner with anyone in the USA?

Tugg



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