Do you need a license to buy a car?


You do not need a driver’s license to legally buy a car, but laws preventing you from driving present something of a roadblock if you had planned to get behind the wheel. There are situations in which a buyer with no license may want to purchase a car for someone else to drive, however, and there are processes to make that happen.

Buying a car without a license for someone else to drive

There are all kinds of reasons why you might want to buy a car without intending to drive it yourself. It could be a gift for a spouse or son or daughter, a vehicle for your caregiver, if you have a disability, or you may be a business owner buying a company car for employees to drive, for example.

It’s possible to buy a car without a license using cash and, in some cases, with financing, too. In many states you will need insurance and government identification in order to register the vehicle with your department of motor vehicles, and it’s a good idea to check with your local authority to find out what documentation is required.

If the vehicle is a gift for a licensed driver, you may decide to have the vehicle titled in their name, which would make them the legal owner, after which it should be a straightforward process for them to get insurance.

If you wanted to retain the title and ownership of a car someone else will drive, the insurance situation is more complicated. An insurer will typically want to identify the primary driver, often a spouse or family member, and you will be excluded as a driver within the coverage. The process can be different according to the relationship with the primary driver, and whether they do or do not live with you. If they don’t live with you, they may be able to get insurance through their current insurance policy, for example.

Buying a collectible car

Another scenario is you buy a classic or collectible car that will be kept off the road. In this case, you may want to forgo registration and license plates, and take out specialized insurance that doesn’t include the liability and collision coverage that comes with normal auto insurance.

Taking the right path

It’s certainly unusual to buy a car without a license, and you may raise a few eyebrows at the dealership, but it is legal. While driving it yourself is out of the question, there are ways to get the vehicle on the road when it will be driven by someone else, it just may take a little effort.


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