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Buying a car out of state - registration issues

My daughter who goes to college in California needs a car for her last semester. We live in the Chicago area. To avoid having her (and by extension me) drive across the country - we would like to buy the car in California. If we buy in CA will we have problems registering in Il (insurance is way better here)?

Does your home state require any kind of vehicle inspection? If yes, how long after buying the car will you be allowed before getting it inspected? You can often handle registration if you have the documents properly notorized send via FedEx and take them to your local DMV office. Then you send the plates and they can be mounted on the car in CA. Most insurers want to know where the car is located so you might not get much of a deal on insurance if they request the location of the car.

There may be sales tax implications you should check on. If you’ve owned the car less than one year, they may impose a sales tax on you when you transfer it. This si done to prevent people from buying out of state to evade local taxes.

Some states will make you pay the difference between what you paid in CA versus IL, others want the full amount their state would impose if you bought it there. If it will only be one semester, then you better check into this with the taxing authority in IL (probably the DMV).

She can’t live without a car for 4 months?? But most states require a VIN check before they register an out of state car…See what your state requires…Insurance companies call it fraud when you lie about where the car is located and they won’t pay any claims if they can prove your daughter and the car were both living in California…

Registering it should not be a problem but Illinois states if you buy a car out of state and bring it into IL. within 6 months you will pay IL. sales tax even though you already paid sales tax elsewhere.

“Insurance companies call it fraud when you lie about where the car is located and they won’t pay any claims if they can prove your daughter and the car were both living in California.”

I’m not sure that applies here. If the daughter lives in CA after graduation, she will have to change registration. Until then, she is part of the family in the Chicago area and should be able to register the car in their home state. But it could be a false economy if she does not return to Chicago. Paying registration, taxes, and inspection fees twice in 4 to 6 months can get expensive.

I don’t believe you will have to pay sales tax twice as long as you can prove you paid it once already, even if the tax was paid in another state.

Even if there’s not a VIN check (I’ve changed states a few times and never had to do that), I’ll bet that Illinois will make you get an emissions test very soon after an out-of-state car is registered in the state. Unless they would honor a California smog check (I doubt it!), you’ll have to see if you can get enough temporary permits to tide it over until she gets back. Of course if then the thing doesn’t pass smog, you might have exhausted all your waivers.

The best situation would likely be to have her register the car in California and then just have her drive it around until the CA tags expire. Where the car is registered shouldn’t affect where it’s insured-- I’ve been insured and registered in different states on a fair number of occasions. I do tend to think that Caddyman has a valid concern, though. Just be honest with your insurance agent and if it cost you a little more to insure the car in CA for the next few months so be it.

Sorry to hijack this thread. But, did you go through with this? and what did you ending up having to do? I’m in the exact similar situation, I live in Chicago but work in Los Angeles on weekdays (for the next 6 - 12 months) and am thinking about buying a car here in California. Any help/pointers are much appreciated.

Have you looked into Zip cars??

My last illinois experience a few years back but doubt it has changed, A car from out of state grandmother when she quit driving. I had to pay sales tax on their calculated value of the car as I had no receipt, but got it titled to me and plates no problem, then 1 year before emission inspection due. Signed over title and a valid IL drivers license was all I needed.