Registering legalities

Hi, I am a first time car buyer and the situation is complex. I have a 1 yr. US driving history and am buying a used car from NC which I want to register and insure in DC since the insurance there is 25% of what I pay in NC. I am not sure of how to proceed with the paperwork. Any tips will help. I will probably be buying from a dealer in NC.

Well-meaning and sincere forum members may provide incorrect information–and that could result in some bad consequences for you.

Go to the website for DC DMV (or whatever it is that they call themselves), and peruse that for information. If that doesn’t provide all of the info that you need, then it will at least have a phone number that you can call in order to ask questions of a DMV employee.

I agree with VDCdriver completely. The only thing I’m curious about is if your full time residence, job, drivers license, etc. is in NC.
Do you have, or are you going to claim a DC residence for insurance purposes?

Vehicles are registered and insured in the state in which you live. If you live in NC, then it must be registered there. If you live in DC, then it must be registered there. If you live in DC and buy it in NC, they will give you a temporary permit to take it to DC to register it. You just can’t choose where you want to register it.

I agree with VDCdriver. Check with the Department of Motor Vehicles in DC and also in NC for information about legally registering a car.

You should also talk to some insurance agents about this. How can insurance be 25% less in DC? Are you sure about that?

Thanks, I am reading up the DC DMV page.

I am an international student so I dont have to take residency, I live in NC but my wife (she will be the coowner) lives in DC. My license is also DC issued since I stay with my wife half the time. I am guessing, I can register in DC.

I am also skeptical that insurance would be cheaper in DC, as compared to NC.

DC’s crime rate, which includes car theft, is not exactly something that the city fathers brag about. Also, the density of traffic in DC would probably lead to more collisions. How could insurance be cheaper in DC?

Unless you are going to lie about your residency I don’t see how you could register and insure a vehicle anywhere other than where you live. You would then need to lie about where you are driving and parking the car at night. You would also need to lie to the dealer from whom you buy the car since they will need to know your residence address.

Insurance fraud will cost you much more in the long run. Also, if the laws over there are like they are here in California, you pay sales tax based on your county of residency, so you could even have a tax fraud problem.

The best thing to do is to shop around more and find a good deal on insurance.

This is the “repair and maintiance” section, I don’t believe we have a “legal issue” sub-forum. Some members are losing their tolerence for questions that are not sub-forum specific, myself I am flexible.

Thanks all, will check with the DMV and perhaps I am moving this question to a more tolerant forum that will have a sub forum on legalities. Apologies for the discomfort.

You should have no problems registering the car in DC as long as your wife has an address there. But double-check those insurance rates. Usually, insurance rates are based more on your driving record than where you live…

If you are buying the car from a DEALER, tell them you will be registering the car in another state so they don’t charge you NC sales tax. They can provide the temporary permit so you can drive the car to DC. If you are buying from a private party, make sure you get a properly filled out title and send it to your wife who can then register the car in DC and obtain DC license plates and send them back to you. Or you can go to the NC DMV and MAYBE they will sell you a temporary permit so you can drive the car up to DC…

My suspicions have been confirmed!

[i][b]"Washington, D.C., ranks highest in the nation for combined average annual auto insurance rates. The latest figures show an average annual combined premium of $1,342.80.

In the No. 2 spot is New Jersey, followed by New York, Louisiana, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.[/i][/b]"

It would appear that whoever has been giving advice to the OP is really off-the-wall on the topic of insurance rates.


I guess my being an international student explains the insurance rates. In NC, my insurance quote from Liberty mutual is $4000 per year while the same firm in DC is offering me a policy for $1500. Both rates are for the same VIN number.

Also get your insurance binder set up in advance, effective the day you take possession of the car. You need insurance for the trip to DC, to get your car properly registered. Make sure you investigate emissions inspections, etc, which may make the registration in DC more difficult.

Depending on how long you will stay in NC, it may actually be easier to register the car in NC, and deal with the DC registration issue when you actually live there, full time. All states have some provision for non-resident students to register cars locally, for the time you are a student.

I would also check around for NC insurance (State Farm, Allstate, Progressive, GEICO) because your NC estimate for insurance is very high.

Students and soldiers can usually choose whether to register a vehicle in their home state (Or “district”) or the state where they attend school or are stationed. There may be some advantages to declaring an NC residency, like being able to pay in-state tuition and fees if you are attending a state supported school. Laws vary greatly from state to state. Check with your local DMV.

I too am surprised that DC will have cheaper insurance rates than NC. Must be all the moonshiners you have to watch out for…