How do I get a car home after buying it from a private seller?

So, you’ve done a ton of research, you’ve searched the web and found your car. Heck you even went and met with the private seller, check out a car, asked questions and you might have even had a pre-purchase inspection done on the vehicle. Then you negotiated and even paid for this vehicle, surely all the hard work is done right? Except, how do you get this thing home now?

Well, I’ve got good news for you, as daunting as it could be to bring home a vehicle you’ve purchased from a private seller, you’ve actually done all the hard work. With that said, please do not just slap some plates you have laying around onto this vehicle and attempt to drive it home. While depending on state laws, this might be acceptable, you need to make sure before you do so. If it’s not legal, you could not only face fines but your new to you vehicle could also be impounded.

So, what do you do? Well first, contact your insurance company and inform them you are going to be purchasing a used vehicle from a private seller. You should have already contacted them to get a quote on an insurance rate for this vehicle so they should have the details but if they don’t fill them in. Next, they will provide you with a temporary insurance document that will insure this vehicle usually for a few days.

Next if your state law allows it, make sure the existing plates you have are valid and the tags are up to date. If everything is good, you can bring those plates and your insurance documents when you go to pick up the vehicle and simply drive away. If your state laws don’t allow it or you don’t have existing plates then head down to your local licensing office and advise them you need a temporary plate. They will issue you one that will allow you to drive the vehicle for a certain amount of days which should be enough for you to get the vehicle home and sorted out to pass safety and emission (if applicable) laws.

About Nick

Nick resides on the West Coast and lives for cars. He has a unique passion for old American FWD V-8 vehicles and his current daily is a 2004 Buick Century. He does also have a 2003 Porsche 996 Turbo, and a 2018 Kawasaki ZX-10R.