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  • Buying and driving a car in america

    Hey guys,

    Wondering if any of you Americans car help me out.
    Next year me and my friend are planning on going to the good old US of A for a month. We want to drive from East to West and possibly back again.
    How would we go about buying and more importantly insuring a car in America?

    Any help appreciated!
    Edd

    P.S. Any parties we can crash?
    www.stfulondon.co.uk

    I guess it's just a good thing you didn't include the footage of us snorting cocaine from the thighs of prostitutes eh Edd. - Boogie

  • #2
    Do you have any idea how far it is from the east coast to the west coast and back? Be prepared to do LOTS of driving. Leave time to stop along the way and see things.

    How about renting a car? Buying a reliable car then selling it after one month would probably cost as much as renting a car for a month. If you buy a cheap car it could leave you stranded out in the middle of Kansas, miles from everything.

    Edit - You may not be old to enough to rent a car in the USA. Most companies require renters to be at least 25-years-old. You might find a company that would rent to you.
    Last edited by Wheel Rider; 2009-08-09, 12:48 AM.
    A man can fail many times but he isn't a failure until he begins to blame someone else. - Waite Phillips

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    • #3
      I think most rental places require you to be 21, is all. I know because I tried to rent one for a bussiness trip just a couple weeks ago. :-)

      As far as buying a car though: Buy the cheapest clunker you can find, then sell it back to our stupid government for $4500 with which you can buy a more "environmentally friendly" car.
      Last edited by forrestunifreak; 2009-08-09, 02:49 AM.
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      • #4
        The hard part will be to balance reliability vs. price. Like Wheel Rider said, you don't want to be stranded in the middle of nowhere (though that can lead to an adventure too). Renting may indeed be tough if you're under 25. It might make it more expensive.

        I know other unicyclists who have come over here, bought vehicles, lived in them, and then sold them at the end of their trip. Joakim Malm, the guy who invented coasting on a unicycle, would save up for a year or more, working at the indoor skate park in Stockholm, then come to California for several months, live in a car and surf.

        But I don't know the ins and outs of buying a car here if you're a foreigner. It should be something you can look up somewhere. For insurance, I like 21st Century (www.21st.com), but it pays to shop around.
        John Foss
        www.unicycling.com

        "Who is going to argue with a mom who can ride a unicycle?" -- Forums member "HiMo"

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        • #5
          Buying it is easy.

          Titling and registering the car could be "interesting" if you're not a US citizen.

          If you get that part figured out, insurance is easy. They're always glad to take your money.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Eddbmxdude View Post
            Hey guys,

            Wondering if any of you Americans car help me out.
            Next year me and my friend are planning on going to the good old US of A for a month. We want to drive from East to West and possibly back again.
            How would we go about buying and more importantly insuring a car in America?

            Any help appreciated!
            Edd

            P.S. Any parties we can crash?

            I don't know any of this I just searched it for you...Here is what I found, hope it helps, I was bored...
            From...
            http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Can_a_tour...ure_it_himself

            Can a tourist purchase a car in the U S and insure it himself?
            In: Auto Insuran
            ce

            AIG International Services offers short term auto insurance for tourists in the U.S. The car would have to be licensed and registered in their name in the U.S. You can call them at 877-708-6995 or website www.aig-is.com
            (Buy car --> Buy Insurance --> Register the car)
            Yes. Most large insurance firms won't do this, however, especially if it is a short term stay (below 6 months). I would suggest you look for an insurance broker (search for insurance broker online or in the yellow pages).

            An insurance for a non-citizen tourist will cost 100-200 dollars per month, depending on the car.

            You will need to bring your driver's license (and maybe a translation of it, if your driver's license is not in English. The translation of a foreign driver's license is called an international driver's license, which you can get in your own country).

            Also make sure to get a \"Motor Vehicle Driving Record\" in your own country, to prove that you have never had any accidents. If you prove this, it will usually lower the price of the insurance a little.

            You need to insure your car just after you have bought it. Insuring it is an easy step and you get some temporary insurance paper's on the same day that you want to insure your car (you need to have the car first before you can purchase insurance: the price of the car insurance depends on the year/model of the car). Some days later they (the insurance company/broker) send you the permanent insurance certification over postal mail to the address you have provided them with.

            After you have insured the car you need to register it, and here comes THE PROBLEM: You need a permanent address to be able to register it in the USA, and you can't use a friend's address (since that is slightly illegal). Read more here, about buying a car in US as a tourist: http://community.usatourist.com/forums/t/556.aspx

            Remember the overview I posted in the introduction:

            (Buy car --> Buy Insurance --> Register the car) - The LAST STEP is the DIFFICULT One. And the last step can't be skipped, because when you buy a car (new or used) you get it without TAGS on the license plate or without any license plate at all. These you only get when you register it.


            Answer
            Most likely, though heightened "security measures" in the U.S. will likely add a few steps to the process.
            If the tourist has insurance in his own country, it might transfer to the U.S., but that's unlikely. Most U.S. policies don't transfer outside of a certain perimeter in Mexico, for instance.
            You'd need a valid driver's license, too.
            [/I]

            Also...with regard to the International Driving Permit mentioned above I found this site...
            http://www.usa.gov/Topics/Foreign_Vi..._Driving.shtml...this is what it said...
            An International Driving Permit (IDP) translates information contained on your driver's license into 10 languages so that officials in foreign countries are able to interpret your license. An IDP supplements a valid government-issued license--it does not serve as a replacement for a license. If you are stopped by law enforcement, you will most likely be asked to produce both your IDP and your official driver's license. The United States does NOT issue International Driving Permits to foreign visitors, so you will need to obtain this document before traveling to the U.S

            This could be hard, you need to register in a specific state...it may be possible to get a temp tag which is usually good for 30 days, but you would still need an address, etc to do so I would think. 30 days would be hard to go East to West and back again.

            As many said you would need reliable car as most likely your going to cross a desert or mountains which plays hard on a vehicle.
            Also if you are old enough to rent a car, some companies rent cars that are only for "in state" use, so you should clarify that the vehicle is going across country and back to avoid potential or unforeseeable problems.

            Anyway sorry this is so long, I hope it helps.


            Originally posted by Peripatet View Post
            Buying it is easy.

            Titling and registering the car could be "interesting" if you're not a US citizen.

            If you get that part figured out, insurance is easy. They're always glad to take your money.
            Totally agree!!!
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            • #7
              Rental companies (most) will rent to 18+, they just have a "youth and vigor" surcharge you have to pay. I've done it with Avis and Enterprise.

              Another route would be to rent/borrow someone's car. That way, you don't have the insurace/registration/sell it at he end issues. You could also probably work out a deal to make it cost less. On the downside, you'd pretty much be obligated to make the return trip to return the car, unless you found someone looking to have a car moved coast to coast (which does happen and could lead to YOU getting paid for driving the car).
              Last edited by Peripatet; 2009-08-10, 03:12 PM.

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              • #8
                Thanks for all the replies guys
                I thought getting insurance was going to be the hard part, but it looks like registering it is going to be the hardest thing to do.

                The reason we want to buy rather than rent is so that the car is ours and we can do what we like with it. If we decide we want to take the seats out to sleep in it, we could. Whereas im sure they would give us some funny looks if we returned a rental car without its rear seats in. Im fairly handy with spanners and was planning on buying some tools to take with us just in case.

                When we first arrive we are going to stay with our friend in Pittsburgh for a couple of days. From what I understand, he could buy a car for us before we go out there, insure and register it to his address and when we get there, we could borrow or rent it from him. Is that right? Any snags with that plan?

                Thanks for all the help so far

                Edd

                P.S. Its a crazy system you Americans have!
                www.stfulondon.co.uk

                I guess it's just a good thing you didn't include the footage of us snorting cocaine from the thighs of prostitutes eh Edd. - Boogie

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Eddbmxdude View Post
                  Thanks for all the replies guys
                  I thought getting insurance was going to be the hard part, but it looks like registering it is going to be the hardest thing to do.

                  The reason we want to buy rather than rent is so that the car is ours and we can do what we like with it. If we decide we want to take the seats out to sleep in it, we could. Whereas im sure they would give us some funny looks if we returned a rental car without its rear seats in. Im fairly handy with spanners and was planning on buying some tools to take with us just in case.

                  When we first arrive we are going to stay with our friend in Pittsburgh for a couple of days. From what I understand, he could buy a car for us before we go out there, insure and register it to his address and when we get there, we could borrow or rent it from him. Is that right? Any snags with that plan?

                  Thanks for all the help so far

                  Edd

                  P.S. Its a crazy system you Americans have!
                  Just have the friend in America buy the car, and register it all in his name. But then insure it in your name as mentioned above and that really should be problem. He'll have to be there to sell it at the end though as legally it would be his car.

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                  • #10
                    shouldn't be a problem, I meant.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by forrestunifreak View Post
                      I think most rental places require you to be 21, is all. I know because I tried to rent one for a bussiness trip just a couple weeks ago. :-)

                      As far as buying a car though: Buy the cheapest clunker you can find, then sell it back to our stupid government for $4500 with which you can buy a more "environmentally friendly" car.
                      I don't want to starting a flame war however, that is a STUPID post.

                      One might read the Cash for Clunker law before commenting on it.

                      To paraphrase it briefly, that option is not available to them.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by xtor View Post
                        I don't want to starting a flame war however, that is a STUPID post.

                        One might read the Cash for Clunker law before commenting on it.

                        To paraphrase it briefly, that option is not available to them.
                        You expected an intelligent post from Forrest?

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                        • #13
                          You seriously take a post that ends with ?

                          Just have the friend in America buy the car, and register it all in his name. But then insure it in your name
                          If it was me, and I had a friend willing, id do this. ^.
                          Last edited by Jerrick; 2009-08-10, 11:27 PM.
                          Just bumming around MR~~~~~~~~~Team Forrest~~~~~~~~~Team Dirty Bird!~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by xtor View Post
                            I don't want to starting a flame war however, that is a STUPID post.

                            One might read the Cash for Clunker law before commenting on it.

                            To paraphrase it briefly, that option is not available to them.
                            Dude, while Forrest may be an accomplished uni rider, he's a dyed-in-the-wool child of a dyed-in-the-wool liberal-bashing conservative.
                            steveyo
                            ...like having your own personal rollercoaster...

                            - a few uni race write-ups
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by steveyo View Post
                              Dude, while Forrest may be an accomplished uni rider, he's a vastly uninformed dyed-in-the-wool child of a dyed-in-the-wool liberal-bashing conservative.
                              Improved.

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