Can You Buy a Car Without a License?


WRITTEN BY: Julia Matseikovich

UPDATED: OCTOBER 20, 2022 | 1 MIN READ

While buying a car can be complicated, especially securing a title and registering the vehicle, it gets even trickier if you try to buy a car without a license. Can you buy a car without a license? Yes, it’s legally possible to buy a car without a driver’s license, but before you go into the process, there are a few things to know. Read on to learn what to expect.

Why Buy a Car Without a License?

There are several scenarios where someone may want to or need to buy a car without a driver’s license. The following are typical examples of purchasing a vehicle without a license:

  • New Driver: An underaged driver with a learner’s permit or a new adult driver who hasn’t earned a license may want a new vehicle when they’re a licensed driver.
  • Temporary Lack of License: A licensed driver may have an expired or suspended license but need a car when the DMV reinstates it.
  • Company Car: A business owner without a license may buy a new car for employees to drive.
  • Giving a Gift: Someone without a driver’s license wants a car as a gift, such as a grandparent who wants to give a grandchild a vehicle.
  • Caregiver or Chauffeur: A disabled individual or anyone who uses a driver may want to buy a car for the caregiver or helper to drive.
  • Collectible: A collector of collectible cars may want a vehicle as a collectible for display, not to drive on public roads.
  • Co-Owner: If your spouse or child is the primary driver, and you’re a titleholder, you may want to purchase a car for their use as a co-owner.

These are all valid reasons to buy a vehicle without a driver’s license. However, as you begin the car-buying process, know that you may encounter some obstacles. Taking a test drive and learning how the car handles on the road is impossible without a license. It’s possible to ask a family member, but the unlicensed driver can’t get a feel for how the car drives.

The Law On Buying a Car Without a Driver’s License

The good news is there aren’t any government laws forbidding vehicle purchases without a driver’s license. However, each state and the District of Columbia have car registration laws. Registration typically requires photo identification, such as a valid driver’s license and proof of insurance.

Insurance and Registration

Buying car insurance without a valid driver’s license is complicated, and some insurers may not cover you. This varies by company. Insurance companies base premiums on your insurance credit score, credit report, and driving history, among other factors such as age and gender. Lack of a driver’s license makes your insurance rates more expensive, especially as a brand-new driver. Other insurers may allow you to purchase car insurance if you can list a primary driver, such as a family member or child, who will drive the car and list yourself as an excluded driver.

Registering a car with your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requires proof of insurance and a car title to show vehicle ownership. Not every state requires a driver’s license for vehicle registration, the DMV may only require a photo ID, and the DMV website often provides a list of acceptable forms of identification. If you buy your car from a dealer, they will submit the car title information to the DMV and offer you a temporary registration. When you visit the DMV to register your car and pay for license plates, you can put the registration in the person’s name who will drive the vehicle and list yourself as a co-owner.

Where Can You Buy a Car Without a License?

There isn’t a limit to where you can buy a car without a driver’s license. It comes with drawbacks, however, and is a more complicated process. You can unlikely purchase a vehicle online from a dealership or online marketplace like Carvana without a driver’s license. However, it’s possible to buy a car without a license from a private seller. You may want the seller to bring the vehicle to you or have a friend drive it since you legally can’t drive without a license. When you buy your car from a private seller, you’re responsible for submitting the title and registration information to the DMV.

Financing a Vehicle

Financing a vehicle can be tricky without a driver’s license, especially if you buy a car at a dealership. When it comes to getting a new car, paying in cash is a good solution if you don’t have a driver’s license and don’t know if you can finance a vehicle. Not many people can pay for a car entirely in cash, so a car loan is often the best choice. Some online auto lenders only use your credit score for a car loan and don’t require a driver’s license. You will need good credit for a car loan.

If you want a new or used car from a dealership, it’s best to get preapproved for an auto loan, then make your purchase in person. It would help to let the dealer know you’re buying a car without a license. Once you buy your car at the dealership, you’ll need to get the car home or your business, which requires insurance since the dealer can’t legally let the vehicle leave without insurance coverage. If you don’t have insurance, you’ll have to arrange for a friend or family member to drive it or for transportation to your home or business.

FAQs

Can I buy a car without a license in Texas?

Yes. You may buy a vehicle without a license in the state of Texas. However, you would need a valid government-issued ID to prove your identity for the title. Acceptable forms of ID include a United States or foreign-issued passport, a state ID, or a US Department of State of Identification.

Can I buy a car without a license in Colorado?

Yes. Colorado allows a vehicle purchase without a license. For registration, the Colorado DMV asks for applicable forms of photo ID such as an unexpired passport, unexpired permanent resident card, or a certificate of naturalization dated within the last 20 years.

Can you buy a car in New York without a license?

Yes. New York makes it possible to buy a car without a license. Once you purchase the vehicle, you won’t be able to drive it unless you have valid car insurance and registration. These items may require a driver’s license or another form of photo ID.

Can I buy a car without a license in California?

Yes. If you want to buy a car without a license in California, you’re allowed. However, your vehicle requires car insurance and registration, so be prepared with at least two forms of identification.

Adding Affordable Car Insurance

Can you buy a car without a license? Absolutely. Just know that it may be a little more complicated than the traditional car purchase, and you may pay insurance higher rates, especially if you don’t have a driving history. Make sure you save on insurance by comparing rates from various insurance companies with our online quote tool.