Can You Buy a Car Without a License?

Can You Buy a Car Without a License?
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If you’ve ever wondered “can I buy a car without a license?” you might be surprised to learn that the answer is “yes.” But even though a driver’s license isn’t required, having one makes the process that much easier. You won’t even be able to test-drive a car without insurance or a license.

That said, there are ways you can buy a car without a license that we’ll explore.

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Can I buy a car without a license?

The short answer is yes, but there may be hurdles. A driver’s license is your state of residence’s validation of your driver’s education and knowledge of the state vehicle code and laws. However, a driver’s license isn’t required to purchase a vehicle in any state. And you don’t even have to be a resident.

With a state or federal government ID, and the money needed, you’ll be able to buy a car. However, legally driving it off the lot will be impossible without registration, license and insurance.

That doesn’t mean you can’t take it home, however. For example, if you have a friend who is insured and licensed to drive, they can drive it home for you. Another valid option is to have the dealership deliver the car to you. Today, home delivery is becoming more common, and some dealership groups will happily deliver the vehicle to you after you purchase it online.

It’s important to remember, though, that it’s in your best financial interest to insure the car at your earliest convenience—even if it’s staying in the garage. This will protect your investment.

Can you register a car without a license?

No. Regardless of the state, there’s no way to get around the obstacle of registration without a driver’s license. To get a title and registration for the car, you’ll want to register a licensed friend or relative as your car’s title holder or co–title holder. Make sure the other person is someone you trust, because this makes them legal co-owners of the car.

Additionally, you may not have much time to register your car before costly penalties kick in. While New York allows residents a generous 180 days to register a vehicle, Florida requires it be done within 10 days. Penalties increase every month and can equal more than 160% of the cost for your original registration fee.

Registration is essential if you intend to drive the car on local highways. And to legally drive on the roads, you need a driver’s license.

Can you get car insurance without a license?

Yes, you can get insurance without a license. However, the insurance company may consider you a high-risk driver. Also, you’ll have more significant challenges if you don’t have a license because it’s suspended.

However, you may not be buying a car so you can drive it. There are many situations in which you would buy a car for someone else to drive you around. For example, it’s not uncommon for seniors to buy a car so their caregiver or relative can drive them to shop and do everyday tasks. In this case, you would be the insurance policyholder but not the primary driver.

Although only a few national auto insurance companies will insure you, smaller and local insurance companies will insure you, but it may be at a higher monthly cost.

So, there’s a way to protect your vehicle with insurance, even if you don’t have a license.

Can I finance a car without a license?

You don’t technically need a driver’s license to get an auto loan. But if you don’t have another form of photo identification, such as a state ID card or passport, the lender may not approve your application since you can’t prove your identity.

Lenders also want to make sure you can legally operate the vehicle once you purchase it. A possible fix for this obstacle is to get a state photo ID if you don’t have one. Then you can provide it to prospective lenders to prove you’re not stealing someone’s identity. But, even then, it may still be difficult.

But if you’re persistent, you may be able to find a dealership that will finance you. The dealership can self-finance the car, often at an inflated interest rate, or the dealer will work with finance companies who finance unlicensed customers. Of course, even though they may finance you, you’ll still need proof of insurance.

Can I buy a car with a learner’s permit?

Possibly! Purchasing a car with a learner’s permit is like buying one without a license. You can do it if you have cash. So, you may want to buy the car if the deal is outstanding, and you know you’ll get your license in the time allowed for registration. If the time frame is longer, you’ll need to register the car in someone else’s name to avoid penalties.

Even though you can buy it, you’ll need registration and insurance before you can legally drive it or be considered an owner.

Why would someone be buying a car without a license?

Every day, people buy vehicles without the need for a license. However, given the challenges, you may wonder why anyone would want to. Below are common reasons why someone would buy a car without a license:

You’re a car collector who’ll store the car and not drive it

Car collectors have garages and warehouses full of cars—and they never drive them. Although some states, like California, still require an owner to register the vehicle with a nonoperational registration, most states won’t require registration.

You’re buying the car as a gift for someone

One of the most exciting and rewarding experiences you can have is buying a car as a gift with the car title placed in the gift recipient’s name. There’s no need for your driver’s license since the person receiving the gift will register and insure the vehicle.

You’re buying the car for your business

If you want to buy a car for your business, a license isn’t essential. However, the business name will go on the title, and employees who drive the vehicle will need a driver’s license. Insurance for the car, in this case, is often covered by the company insurance policy.

You’re buying a car for your caregiver to drive

It’s common for a person to buy a car for their caregiver, and it’s legal. However, the caregiver will need a driver’s license and may choose to purchase non owner car insurance.

You’re buying a car as a cosigner with your licensed teen

Your teen driver, most likely, doesn’t have an extensive credit history. And if they can get financed, they’ll pay high interest rates when buying or leasing a car in their name. Cosigning their loan or lease agreement allows them to use your good credit and they’ll receive a lower rate.

You’re buying a car for someone you employ

Buying a car for employee use may be beneficial for you and your employee and doesn’t require a license. It’s also not a taxable benefit for the employee since it’s necessary to do their job. In addition, many major insurance companies offer non owner car insurance that excludes you as a driver but covers your employee. The driver would also need to be licensed to drive in your state.

About Bumper

At Bumper, we are on a mission to bring vehicle history reports and ownership up to speed with modern times. A vehicle is one of the most expensive purchases you'll likely make, and you deserve to have access to the same tools and information the pros use to make the right decisions.

About Steven Mitchell

Steve’s first car had pedals, and he’s been filled with passion for four wheels ever since. Steve lives and breathes the auto industry as a technologist, futurist, and writer while keeping up with the whys, hows, and plans of the automotive industry. His automotive journey began with a fully restored Triumph TR3b that he sadly never appreciated until decades later. Ownership of X-1/9’s, BMW’s, an SVT and a Dodge Ram Hemi have given way to an Audi Sport.

Disclaimer: The above is solely intended for informational purposes and in no way constitutes legal advice or specific recommendations.