Do You Need a License to Buy a Car?

For some people, buying cars is like a second-nature process. If you’ve purchased a few vehicles in your life, you might even feel like you know the ropes. But for others who may have never been through the traditional car-buying process, it can be challenging.

You might have questions about all the new digital ways of buying. Or should you venture into a dealership to get help? What about financing? And for many first-time car buyers who may not have a driver’s license, is purchasing a car even possible? States will vary with their requirements. But here’s what everyone should know about trying to buy a vehicle without a license. 

What today’s car-buying process entails

Driver's license being scanned.
Driver’s license being scanned | Getty Images

There are plenty of car-buying tools and resources to help you explore financing options without hurting your credit score and browsing for cars in your area that fit your budget. But there are other things to consider, too. You’ll likely need to budget for car insurance, taxes on the purchase, titling, license fees, and possibly extended warranty products.

So, do you need a driver’s license to buy a car? Buying a car or truck from a dealer or private party is entirely doable without a license, as KRQE News shares. But you can’t register the vehicle with your Department of Motor Vehicles without proof of insurance and a driver’s license.

If you don’t have a valid license now but plan to get one in the future, you won’t have trouble going through the car-buying process. You just won’t be able to register or drive it until you have a license in hand.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that dealerships won’t allow you to test drive their vehicles without a current license. So, it’s best to take someone with you to do the driving before you decide to buy. And even some classic or antique models that don’t require registration in certain states may still require a license to secure insurance. 

Instances in which you might try to buy without a license

It may not make very much sense to try and buy a car without a license. According to iSeeCars, there are plenty of realistic reasons someone might face a car-buying decision without a license in hand. Some soon-to-be-16-year-olds who’ve saved up their cash want to go buy their first set of wheels before they’re officially legal. Business owners buy cars for company use and aren’t required to have licenses to register business vehicles

In other instances, people may want to buy cars to collect them, not drive them. And if you’re buying a vehicle as a gift for someone else, it’s their information required to go on the title and registration. Additionally, elderly individuals who may no longer have their licenses may still need to buy a car for their caregivers to use.

What about insurance requirements for buying a car?

If you have the cash but no license, you are still more than welcome to purchase a car. But not only will it stay parked until you have properly secured registration, but you’ll also need insurance, which also requires a license. There are some circumstances in which an unlicensed driver can get insurance, but it’s challenging.

The bottom line is while it’s entirely possible to buy a car without a license, but it’s probably best to wait until you have one. If you have hopes of legally driving whatever car you buy, the registration and the insurance will all require a valid license. 

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