You can buy a car online through a dealership’s website or an online seller or marketplace
When buying a car remotely, it’s important to read the fine print and negotiate prices
You can also buy car insurance online, through an independent broker or by comparing quotes from different insurance companies
Registering a new car online is more difficult. Some states allow it while others do not. You should contact your local DMV or equivalent agency to find out if you can register a car remotely
There are a few reasons you’d need to buy a car remotely, whether it be because you are moving, for safety concerns, or because you simply don’t have the time to go to a dealership. Depending on what state you live in, you actually can buy a car remotely, and in some instances, have it delivered straight to your home.
That said, buying a car online isn’t a totally simple process. Buying a car remotely takes a lot of research, and in addition to buying the actual vehicle, you’re going to also need to register it and buy car insurance. Though buying a car remotely might require a bit more legwork on your end, it can also be way more convenient than going to a car lot in person.
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When buying a car, whether remotely or in person, it’s important to set your budget and decide on the type of car you want. For example, if you have a large family, you might be better off shopping for SUVs than a two door sports car. But even once you’ve decided on the style of car you want, there’s the make and model, hybrid, electric or gas, two rows or three, AWD or FWD.
You’re going to want to do a fair amount of research online before buying, using trusted sources or accounts from people who own the cars you’re considering.
There are two common ways to buy a car remotely.
If you want to buy a car directly from a dealership, you can typically do so through the dealership’s website. No matter which dealership you wind up choosing, buying a car from a dealership requires the following steps:
There are plenty of online options where you can shop all different types of cars. Websites like Carvana and Vroom sell cars directly, while sites like Autotrader or CarGurus are marketplace platforms that allow sellers to list cars online and help facilitate the purchase. Either way, it can be easy to compare prices and buy cars from the comfort of your own couch.
When using these websites, there’s a few common steps you’ll take.
You can pick up your new car at the pick-up location, whether that is a car dealership or a car vending machine. Just like when you buy remotely from a dealership, you can also get a car shipped to you, however you’ll likely have to pay out of pocket for the shipping costs.
All but two states require you to have car insurance in order to legally drive. This means after you purchase your car remotely, you need to contact your insurance company to get your new car listed on the policy, usually within a set number of days after getting your new car. If you don’t already have a car insurance policy, you are going to have to purchase one before you can pick up your new car. You can do this online, either through an insurance company or an independent broker.
Below are the steps you need to take when buying car insurance remotely.
You can typically buy a car insurance policy in one day, so you can get your car insurance the same day you purchase a vehicle. You can get quotes and choose a policy even before you know the specific car you’re buying, and then once you decide, you can give the insurance company the rest of the vehicle information and get the policy started.
The answer to this question is: It really depends on where you live. Different states have different laws about how you can register your vehicle, however you do legally have to register all vehicles with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles or an equivalent agency, no matter which state you live in.
Some states allow you to renew your registration online, either bi-annually or annually. Other states allow you to register your new car if you bought it in-state. Others might allow you to mail-in a registration form. It’s important to check with your state DMV office or a similar agency before picking up your new car.
Kara McGinley is an Insurance Editor at Policygenius. She previously worked as a freelance writer and a copywriter for various startups. Her work can be found in Teen Vogue, The Culture Crush, and more.
Policygenius’ editorial content is not written by an insurance agent. It’s intended for informational purposes and should not be considered legal or financial advice. Consult a professional to learn what financial products are right for you.
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