Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Registration/insurance logistics for Buying a car out of state and importing it to Canada

I’m moving to Canada and have the ability to take one car with me without paying import tax as a permanent immigrant. I live in MA, interested in an used mazda5 in NY from a private party, but do not want to buy a long term policy in MA or if possible not register it also as i’m not going to drive it in MA. I want to buy it from NY in a couple weeks to secure the deal, though i will be moving only in the first week of August. I would be very thankful for any recommendations.

You can get a temporary tag…however they usually are only good for 10-20 days…

Ohio’s temp tags last 30 days

No temporary tags in Massachusetts…But N.Y. probably will sell you one. They are usually good for 30 days…As for insurance, buy a policy from an agent in N.Y. with a Canadian rider. Take the monthly payment plan. When you get settled in Canada, cancel the policy…

A smart move might be to complete the sales transaction at a N.Y. motor vehicle office. Have your insurance in place. That way, they can give you a clear title and temporary tag right on the spot…

“No temporary tags in Massachusetts”…

Sure there is…It’ll cost you 10 bucks.

Thanks everyone. MikeInNH, I see that there are no temporary tags in MA.
Caddyman: I understand that you are recommending me to register the vehicle in NY. Me being a MA resident, would i still be able to register in N.Y? Can you elaborate what you mean be sales transaction - registering? With the N.Y tag can I bring the car to MA? Thanks

I guess my information is way out of date…We bought my wifes 96 Accord in MA…and was issued a temp tag so we could drive it to NH and register it there.

You’re going to have to register the car one way or the other to get it into Canada.

When you purchase the car in NY…get a temp tag THERE…Then drive the car to MA and register it…and then drive to Canada. You won’t be able to drive to Canada without the car being registered.

Find out how long a N.Y. Temp tag is good for. Some states are good for 60 days. That might give you enough time to flee the country…The N.Y. Temp is valid in Mass. Canada too…

Thanks Caddyman.
I bought some time to get closer to the move date. So I see that I can get a interstate intransit permit - DMV states that I can get an insurance from an out of state insurance broker. I want to take MA out of picture as it is complicated and I will not be driving the car in to MA. I called up mass RMV and they will not support requests for cars that will not be ever driven in MA. Seems like I need an out of state letter in lieu of NYS Insurance ID Card. Can some one help here on where to buy an insurance for me so i can ship to to Canada. thanks

Hi Caddyman
I have been talking to N.Y agents to buy insurance, but no one will sell insurance if I tell them that my home state is MA. Unfortunately I don’t want to drive it back to MA and instead want to drive it to Canada, kind of stuck now. Please help.

You have to buy insurance from the state the car is registered in.

An agent in NY won’t even have access to MA data to give you a quote.

Hi Mike, This is a new used car I’m looking to buy from NY being a MA resident who wants this car shipped to Canada straight from NY. It is not registered on my name yet. I’m trying to avoid the registration fees I will incur in NY.

I attempted calling NY DMV but cant go thro the line. Can some one help please? I need to get a primary NY insurance for the car

  1. ensure that I can get an intrasit permit from NY DMV being a MA resident with no intention to register the car in MA
  2. to load the car in to a moving truck to Canada.

Thank you, will really really appreciate your help.

I don’t think you can do what you want to do. Being a MA resident NY insurances won’t sell you a MA insurance policy. You have to have the vehicle registered in NY or be a NY residence to get a NY insurance policy. Each state has their own insurance regulations…when I moved from NY to NH I had to cancel my NY insurance policy and buy a NH insurance policy (which I dreaded because it was about 3 times higher then NY).

In order to drive your car in Canada for more than 3 months, it needs local plates and it has to be a Canada Transport approved model. Most models are, but there is a list models that do not meet Canadian standards. All cars registered in Canada need daytime running lights, unless they are so old that they predate this (1994). Cars over 20 years old are considered Classics and need no further modification.

The AAA and their Candian branch, the CAA have a complete list of do’s and don’ts on importing a US car into Canada. Converting to daytime running lights can be done by such firms as Canadian Tire, who are authorised by Transport Canada to inspect and modify foreign vehicles.

Thanks Mike - Seems like my approach is going to be difficult.
thanks Docnick - I have gone the list and my model is allowed for import. Im a permanent resident moving permanently to Canada, so I will register it in SK. The challenge is in getting a intransit permit and insurance for my to be purchased car.