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Buy used car then move


I am brand new to the community and also to car ownership and was hoping you all could help me out. I currently live in New York State but will be moving to Maine and working in New Hampshire in September. My original plan was to buy a car here in NY to have for the summer and then move it up with me to Maine but I’m really confused about how registration and insurance will work in this situation. Will I have to register the car in NY and then re-register it in Maine when I move up there? I am currently covered under my parents auto insurance out in California will that cover me out here? I also only have a California drivers license, not sure if that complicates things.

Thanks everyone for your help!

You really need to check directly with the motor vehicle departments of the states involved, and your insurance carrier.

How long have you lived in New York?

Your Cali insurance should cover you wherever you are driving BUT (big but) call them and tell them your situation and ask them if you are covered. The Cali drivers license is good everywhere. If you are a student, this is easy. Since you will be working, things get more complicated.

States usually require you to register (license) your car in their state if you live there. If you buy a car in NY, you will have to register it there, license it there and insure it there from a company licensed to insure cars in NY state. Look up NY’s DMV for their requirements.

When you move, you will need buy insurance from a company licensed in Maine in order to get your registration. You will need to change your drivers license, to Maine, too. Go to Maine’s DMV website and look up what you need to do. All this costs money, how much depends on where you live. Since I just moved to Florida, I know their fees are about $435 depending on the weight of your car. Every state is a bit different.

Pvt is right, you need to check with the Maine DMV. The requirements should be available on the internet.

And you need to check with your parents’ insurance company. Be prepared to cut the unbilical cord there, too.

I CAN tell you that if you live in Maine and work in NH you’ll be paying Maine state income taxes on your NH income in addition to living with Maine sales taxes. If you plan to work in NH, you’d be better off financially to live in NH.

My son and his husband just moved to Toledo Ohio from San Francisco. After shopping a while in cali for a vehicle ( their first in twelve years ) , they opted to wait till Ohio to make all the registering and licensing much easier
( the u-haul truck got them there ). Just got a facebook post showing a nice looking used Jeep Liberty :slight_smile:

btw ; your parents would have to be the registered owner of said vehicle for you to remain on their insurance as a driver of ‘their’ car.

In every state there are residency requirements. Unless you are a student or intermittant resident, you have a limited time to change your drivers license to New York. Then when you move again, you have to get another license. Same thing with a car, register in NY first, then NH or Maine when you move. I think you’re going to have to pop for your own insurance though. I don’t think the agent in Cal is going to be pleased to cover someone in New York.

Call the DNV in Maine and get a real live person on the phone to advise you relative to registration as in Maine you need to be insured. Your NY registration will be valid for a while so there is no rush there. To aid you in the insurance you might use in Maine, it might be good to choose a company in NY that might have a Maine carrier and it will be much easier to transfer the insurance. Working through the insurance company, all your questions should then be answered and taking your card with you from NY to Maine will cover you .

If you buy a car, you will have to get license plates. That requires paying registration fees and taxes. You will probably need a Maine home address to pay only Main fees. Otherwise, you will pay NY registration and licensing fees and NY taxes. When you move to Maine, you will pay their taxes and fees just a couple of months later. Maybe it would be better to just wait until you move to Maine to buy the car.

I’ll be doing the bulk of my driving in NH, would I be able to buy the car in NY and then take it up and register it in NH same day? The main reason I want to buy in NY is that I’m able to see the cars via subway/the sort of car I’m looking for is generally cheaper in the city than up in New England (subaru). I’ll get on the horn to both the Maine and NH DMV’s to try and get this figured out tomorrow, thanks a ton for all the advice!

Also to “the same mountain bike”, I’ve got a living situation up in Maine that’s cheap enough to more than make up for the income tax difference (its really tough to find an apartment in portsmouth! haha) but thanks for the advice! And I totally plan to get off my parents insurance I just haven’t driven regularly/owned a car for seven years!

Much simpler to wait until after you move to Maine to buy the car, unless you badly need a car in NY for the summer. If all you want it for is weekend trips and the like, look into one of the car sharing services, like ZipCar. If they have cars near you, they can be very convenient and are cheaper than owning a car if you only use a car once or twice a week and don’t drive very long distances (by which I mean hundreds of miles). Last I checked ZipCar had a three-day limit per use, but they can waive that limit if you ask. We used their cars several times for five-day trips to Southern California, piling up about a thousand miles. With every day you use a ZipCar you get a free mileage allowance (it used to be 125 miles, but don’t know now) and are charged for every mile above that. Insurance and gas are included. There is a credit card for gas in the car. It’s a well-thought-out system, ideal for people who don’t commute by car.

We used ZipCar for those trips to Southern California because they were about as cheap (counting everything) as a standard rental car would have been. For longer trips where you start getting discounted weekly rates the rental car is cheaper. But for errands and weekends away it is hard to beat ZipCar (or similar). What we also liked was that the car was already right in our neighborhood, so we could walk over and get it, and that when we made the reservation we knew exactly what car we were getting. We could see online the availability of all the nearby car and decide what we wanted. If a Prius was available, we could take it. They even have trucks, vans, and premium cars for more money. Most of their cars are practical compact hatchbacks, perfect for errands, but large enough for longer trips, too. Admittedly we’re in a city and neighborhood with a super high density of pods (groups of ZipCars), but if you’re in NYC or another major city there will probably be car sharing services of some sort. In the suburbs and smsll towns, well, you need a car. Or use rentals if you only take infrequent trips.

Hope this helps give you another possibility. We signed up for ZipCar just after it had come to San Francisco. Our Civic had been totaled and my partner couldn’t decide what he wanted to buy, si we signed up with ZipCar temporarily. It was eight years before we bought another car, and then only because I was having serious medical problems that had already needed an ambulance trip. Much easier and cheaper to get me to the ER in our own car. ZipCar wasn’t practice l for that, but for everything else it was fine and much cheaper than having a car in San Francisco (though we do have a garage, so are better off than some.) Many of my friends who commute by public transit also rely on ZipCar, as does my brother in Boston. Most of them were parking on the street (painful) or paying a fortune for a garage space.

Moving to Maine - How and When do I Register my Vehicle?

In your case, I’d seriously consider living in NH if that’s an option rather than Maine. There are recurring problems with Maine taxing income earned in NH by Maine residents. The state tax becomes a federal tax deduction at tax time, but you’ll still end up paying more living in Maine. Since you’ll be working in NH anyway, it would seem to make sense to live here.

I have no vested interest on your case, but I just hate to see someone caught up in that Maine income tax that’s not earning income there. NH has no state income tax. We’re taxed in other ways, but not that one.

Do the math, given the extra expenses of registering/licensing a car several times, changing insurance several times into new states, the cost of parking a car in most places in NYC, etc. you may find that waiting to buy a car in ME or NH at what you expect to be a higher price than the same car goes for in NY, it still might be less $$$ in the long run to wait after you leave NY. Or, wait to buy in NY until a few days prior to actually moving to ME to work in NH so that you only need register/license in ME/NH and drive in NY for no more than a few days on the temporary tag you’d get when you buy.

As others have said, you need to consult with your insurance carrier and with the DMV’s of the various states involved. They are the ones who can give you the exact info you need.

Hey everyone,

Thanks a bunch for the tips! I’ve been talking with the dmv’s and a few different insurance companies and think I have it figured out. It looks like it will probably still be cheaper and easier to just have the car registered in NY for a few months and then re-register it up in Maine. I’m hoping to get an early 2000’s subaru and they seem like a real hot commodity up there but are consistently selling for around/below blue book here in the city.

“the same mountain bike” I actually got told the exact same thing from one of the insurance agents. My living situation up in Maine will save me way more than the income tax will set me back, like hundreds of dollars more per month but I definitely appreciate the advice and do plan to take advantage of the NH income tax once I’m on my feet and can afford NH rent!

Thanks again for all the help everyone!

I don’t think you will have much trouble in what you are trying to do. You’ll have to register your car in Maine once you live there a certain amount of time (varies state to state, I think in Calif it is 6 months). And like mentioned above you should consult your auto insurance company so they know what you are intending. But I don’t think your auto insurance company will complain.

If you were moving from Maine to NY you’d likely have more problems. NY would probably want to tax you on the transition, thinking you may be trying to buy a car out of state (to lower the sales tax) then move it in NY. Calif imposes a large tax on cars registered in another state, then moved into Calif for this very reason. Otherwise most everyone in Calif would buy their cars in Nevada. Good idea to consult with the Maine DMV to see if you are looking at any big fees or taxes to register your out-of-state car in Maine. \

I think you have a good plan and best of wishes to you.

Bing You forgot active military who are stationed in a State other than their home State. They are exempt from having to change their license or registration.

In 1974 I had moved from Oregon to Southern California. In 1975 I retrieved my 1963 Ford Galaxie from Oregon to California. I had a California drivers license and was pulled over by LAPD, They were very nice and said my exhaust was a bit to loud. Also my Oregon registration would expire in 3 Months. I tried to register the car in California. Oregon $10 per year. California $54 per year. The 1963 car had to be smogged! To be registered it needed a PCV valve, EGR valve, Smog pump, and timing retarded distributer. $550! I renewed my Oregon $20 for 2 years by mail. and was never pulled over or had a parking ticket. I am a law abiding citizen but California is not a law abiding State!

You are correct Sarge. I missed that. And I found California suffocating with all their rules and restrictions.