Can You Buy a Car Without a License?

Are you interested in buying a car but don’t have a driver’s license yet? There are several different reasons someone would buy a vehicle without a license. However, do dealers and other car-sellers allow buyers to purchase without one? The answer is a little more complicated than you might expect. It’s very difficult to purchase, register, and get insurance for a vehicle without a license.

Why would you buy a car without a license?

2022 VW Arteon - it is challenging to buy a car, register it, and get insurance without a license.
2022 VW Arteon sedan

According to iSeeCars, there are many reasons to buy a car without a license. Firstly, the most obvious answer is buying a car for someone else. Whether it’s a family member, friend, or even a vehicle for your business, you won’t need a license to operate it if you’re not the primary driver. Additionally, sometimes a person with a disability or inability to drive for another reason purchases a vehicle for their caregiver to use.

Next, you might be a car collector, purchasing for practice with a leaner’s permit, in the process of getting your license, or a number of other things. There are strict rules about buying a vehicle without a license, whatever the reason.

You can’t register a car without a license

Signage is seen at the State of California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). it is challenging to buy a car, register it, and get insurance without a license.
Signage is seen at the State of California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). | David McNew/Getty Images

After purchasing a vehicle of any type, the owner must register it with the Department of Motor Vehicles. Without registering it, driving on public roads is illegal. Unfortunately, you’ll need a license to register a vehicle. The DMV requires proof of insurance and a valid driver’s license to register any car, regardless of state. However, it is possible to register the vehicle in another person’s name and make them the titleholder. In addition, those purchasing a car for business purposes can register it in the business’s name.

Can you buy a car with a suspended license?

Police officer could suspend your license, it is challenging to buy a car, register it, and get insurance without a license.
Police officer inside a car | Joseph Prezioso / AFP

Only certain states allow people to buy a car with a suspended license. iSeeCars says you will be able to purchase a vehicle but not get insurance or a registration. Therefore, you won’t be able to drive it after purchasing anyway, which is fine because your license is suspended. Next, lenders will hesitate to provide financing to many buyers with a suspended license. These scenarios are different on a state-by-state basis, so check with your local DMV.

Can you finance a car without a license?

A car salesperson talks to a customer at his desk
A car salesperson talks to a customer at his desk. | J. Conrad Williams Jr./Newsday RM via Getty Images

Yes, it is possible to finance a car without a license, but the process will change based on the lender. There are many online lenders and dealerships that don’t require one to get an auto loan. However, you will need a form of photo ID like a state-issued photo identification card. Alternatively, some banks and dealers won’t provide a car loan without a license. Credit unions are more likely to give a loan to someone without a license. Lastly, besides financing, there are always other options, like paying cash or using a low-interest rate credit card.

Can you get car insurance without a license?

Person with medium length brown hair sitting at their computer. They're holding their head in frustration. Car-buying roadblocks can cause confusion.
Frustrated with car-buying roadblocks | Elisa Ventur via Unsplash

According to iSeeCars, most states don’t allow you to get license plates without proof of insurance. Like other car-buying steps, it can be challenging to get insurance. However, it is possible. Many insurance agencies will not provide you with insurance unless you are the primary driver. Unlicensed buyers will need to search for an insurance provider that’s OK with someone else driving the vehicle all the time.

Additionally, you could add a co-owner during the buying process and let them get the insurance coverage. Next, you could list yourself as an excluded driver on the policy and name someone with a license as the primary driver. However, the insurance company will look at the primary driver’s credit score and driving history to determine rates and eligibility.

Can you buy a car without a license?

In conclusion, it is possible to buy a car without a license. However, every step in the buying process is much more difficult without one. For example, you won’t be able to test drive a vehicle at a dealership or from a private seller. Be sure to bring along whoever will be operating the vehicle to test drive the new car. If possible, it would be best to get a driver’s license before purchasing a vehicle. Everything about purchasing, registering, and insuring a vehicle is much more difficult without a license.

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