Buying car, then moving interstate

Hi all,

Okay really briefly. My partner (American) and I are moving to the US and I don’t know jack about how America works. We are flying into CT for a week with my partner’s family and then we will need to get to IN as that’s where we will be living.

Other details: Subaru Forester 2016+, on finance. We will be in CT for less than a week, before moving to IN.

Question 1: Right off the bat. Should we buy a car in CT or rent a car, drive to IN then buy in IN, bare in mind my partner is technically a resident in CT (as that’s her official address).

To me, all things being equal buying in CT offers us larger selection of cars than rural IN (where we will be moving) and it also saves us the not so insignificant expense of renting a car just to drive to IN. So absolutely better to buy in CT, ignoring all the difficulties and procedures of buying a car interstate.

Question 2: What are car buying basics? Are all dealers absolutely untrustworthy? Can I go to a dealer, test drive, apply for financing (with dealer or other?), go online and buy insurance and registration and bingo bango drive home?

What steps are essential at the dealership.

What is needed to expediate financing.

What is required for registration and insurance in CT/IN.

How long will this take, as we only have several days before we have to leave CT and be in IN?

Thank you so much for your help.

In my opinion, while you may not have the selection in rural IN. It will probably be much less expensive there. My brother lives outside of Stamford CT. and to me everything is on the expensive there. Use the internet to shop both areas.

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Thank you for your reply!

Prices differences on the listed amounts are relatively negligible. That being said, car prices are not the primary concern of this post.

Ok, I would still wait until I got to my final residence area if nothing else to avoid dealing with 2 different state agencies, and double the paperwork. Just my thoughts.


You might give Carvana a try. They will deliver the car to you.

Their prices are a little higher than a local dealer, but you can’t beat the selection. We bought a car from them earlier this year, and overall it was a really good experience.

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Is it worth the added expense of renting a car between CT to IN and also dealing with the limited vehicle options in IN?

If I knew the actual process of buying a car interstate, it would help in determining the right course.

Any chance of flying from Connecticut to Indiana? Unless your partner is active duty military a car purchased and licensed in CT will have to be licensed in IN soon after arriving.
My understanding is you are planning on buying a used car, always a gamble, even with a thorough pre purchase inspection. Banks or other finance companies may be reluctant to finance a car that will be immediately driven out of state.
As to your question about dealerships, some are great, some are horrible. Some have great finance departments, some see it as additional profit source.
I have never purchased a car from Carvana but for your circumstances that might be a good place to look. Seems like all arrangements can be made on line before you come to America.
I would suggest you consider expanding your search beyond Subaru such as a Toyota SUV (I’m a Ford guy, so that was difficult for me to suggest), avoid any car with a continuously variable transmission.

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Where to start? …

  1. Buying a used car is always a craps shoot, buying from a local seller and immediately moving miles away is more of a risk.

  2. The essentials are simply cash/financing and insurance coverage. BTW If you’re paying with a personal check dealers will sometimes insist on the check clearing before they release the vehicle. If you’re planning a test drive the Seller will probably ask to see your drivers license.

  3. If you’re financing, before starting the Buy contact potential lenders and get “Pre-Approved”.
    If you don’t currently have US auto insurance contact them for quotes too.

  4. Registration in CT is simple and a Dealer can easily handle it and expect to pay CT
    Sales/Excise tax BUT if you’re planning to later register it in IN, you’ll probably have to pay it again. An alternative is IN Temporary Tags that you may have to arrange yourself.

  5. How long will it take? Who knows?

Bottom line for what you’re considering a National used car dealer like Carvana is probably your best bet.

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Thank you for your help.

I guess the big fear is trusting the car and the dealer and that it would be safer to be in the same state as the dealer. That’s annoying for us, as it means we won’t have the choice of cars in local dealers and will also pay close the a $1,000 for car rental to IN.

Carvana seems to have a noticeable mark-up in cost and in addition I am unable to access the website outside of the US as Carvana . com is not up to scratch for modern Asian/EU data laws.

Sounds financial too me.

I think I would avoid Cavana . Illinois has stopped them from selling there. Here in Oklahoma it is taking a long time to get the vehicle titles and other states report problems with Carvana.

Why not just use a bus to get to your final location ? Used vehicles are priced insanely everywhere now .

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Indiana has as large a selection of cars as CT. And likely a bit cheaper. Indianapolis is centrally located in the state and is quite large so selection will be good. Don’t be fooled by the East Coast mentality that anything west of Pennsylvania is desolate rural wasteland. If isn’t.

Insurance providers vary by state. Some companies may not do business in both states. They cover the car nationally so that is no concern.

I’d buy a car in Indiana and rent a car or van, if you have things to carry, to drive there. Buy and finance the car in IN.

So why, if your partner owns a Subaru, why not just drive that to IN and transfer registration and insurance to IN?

The majority of dealers are not crooks . The chance of dealing with a crook is private person to terson sales .

I think that line means they are only looking to buy a Subaru which is ridiculous. Most dealers can handle financing and title needs . You might have problems getting approved for a loan due to lack of residence.

Where in Indiana will you be relocating?
I live in Indiana and we aren’t all that rural.
I think you should wait until you arrive in Indiana and then buy the car.
At least in my community, I have found the personnel at the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles most helpful.


If you buy the car in Connecticut and register it there, you’ll be throwing away part or all of your registration fee. If the seller knows that you need to buy in a hurry, they probably won’t give you the lowest price. If you have any problems getting the car properly registered and insured, it could delay your trip to Indiana. If there are any issues with the car, you’ll be far from the dealer (although the car might be sold as-is anyway). It’s hard to say if these disadvantages are outweighed by the rental car expense or not. (Have you priced flying on Southwest or even taking an Amtrak train?)

Whatever you figure out, make sure you don’t drive anywhere without valid insurance in place. Getting into an accident without liability insurance could wipe you out financially.

I would imagine that Carvana can deliver a car to CT, with an Indiana temporary tag to drive it to IN. This would avoid the second registration.

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Another vote for buying in Indiana. Among other things, it seems like it would be a good idea to be somewhere near the dealer you bought the vehicle from in case of a problem. FWIW, when mom died I inherited her vehicle. My wife and I had to get Illinois plates, get it to St. Louis, and then get Missouri plates. There was no option for temp tags. I have no idea if Connecticut is the same but it strikes me as one more hassle.

My advice would be to go online and look for dealers in the area where you will be locatIng in Indiana.
I live in a university town in Indiana with a population of 65,000. There are no Subaru, Nissan, BMW, or Volkswagen dealerships in our city. The Toyota and Buick/GMC dealerships have plenty of cars. The Honda dealership just down the road from me doesn’t have many vehicles on the lot.
When I was in another Indiana community for graduate school, I had a Rambler. There was no AMC in town. That was an inconvenience when I needed parts that were exclusive to the Rambler. The gas tank was an example of a part that I had to replace.Buy a car that has a close dealership in your area.

One more vote for buying in Indiana. You’re doing several complicated steps, and I’d spend extra money to simplify them where possible. Eliminating the re-registration of the car would be one simplification.

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I would check dealer inventory within 50 to 100 miles of your new home. This information will be on line and they may have an asking price. This will give you an idea of the inventory within a couple hours of your new home. When you find something you like, test drive it after arrival and give it a thorough inspection yourself. Open all the doors, the hood, the trunk, even lift the floor mat in the trunk. Check the tires and body. If you still like it, ask to take it to a local independent shop for a prepurchase inspection. Your partner may know someone at your new home that can recommend a good shop. That way you will know what, if anything, the car needs now and what it might need in the near future. You probably need alternate transportation until you buy and renting a subcompact car at your new home should be less expensive than renting a more comfortable car for the long trip from CT to IN.

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