While most people stay within their own state when they buy a new or used vehicle, some people, because of their proximity to another state, or because of a great deal that they come across, want to buy a vehicle from another state. While in most cases this isn’t an incredibly complex thing to do, there are some things you need to keep in mind if you’re going to buy a vehicle out of state.

The first thing to keep in mind is that most competent automotive sales professionals (like me) and dealerships can help you navigate some of the complexities of buying out of state. We go through the process constantly, so make sure you let us know that you’re coming in from another state and we can help guide you accordingly.

Here are some of the issues you may need to address, depending on your state:


States have different rules when it comes to the tax implications of buying a vehicle. You will pay any sales tax to the state in which you’ll register your car. Since dealerships frequently calculate the sales tax for you, keep in mind that if they calculate the taxes based on the state in which you’re buying, and that state has lower taxes on vehicle purchases, you’ll be responsible for the difference. The same works in reverse, as you don’t want to overpay for your state’s taxes. Make sure to find out what tax laws are in place that can affect your transaction, because some of them could mean thousands of dollars in taxes and fees.


Similar to taxes, you’ll need to identify your state and the purchase state’s rules regarding inspecting your vehicle. There are some states (like CA) that have very strict requirements when it comes to emissions testing, and other states that have no safety or emissions inspection requirements at all. Make sure that you familiarize yourself with the appropriate rules in your state as well as any applicable rules in the state you’re buying from.

Title & Registration

Generally, the dealership will help you handle your title and registration paperwork. In the event that you’re buying out of state, any paperwork done by the dealer will be temporary, and it will be your responsibility to register and title the vehicle in your home state. It’s helpful to get in touch with your state’s DMV and find out the best way to handle the process so that you’re not caught off guard.

Car Insurance

While car insurance should be relatively easy to obtain, you should always call your insurance agent and explain your situation to them before buying the vehicle, so they can help you obtain the appropriate coverage immediately. While some insurance companies cover you for any vehicle purchases, others require you to purchase insurance on the vehicle before you buy it.

And if you’re considering buying a vehicle, or have any questions at all about the process, feel free to reach out to me anytime, and I’d be glad to help you out in any way I can!