Moving cross-country, will need car--but when and where?
March 24, 2014 4:52 PM Subscribe
In a few months I will be moving across the country from Delaware to California for a year to maybe indefinitely. In which state should I buy a car and how should it be paid for?
(Snowflake details below the cut.)
posted by serelliya to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total)
I'm finishing up undergrad on the East Coast and have a job lined up--yay!--in California. I am currently a Delaware resident, although I attend college out-of-state, with a DE driver's license listing my parents' home address, and I only drive one of their cars when I'm home on breaks. But soon I will be starting a full-time job on the other side of the country and will need a car... the question is: when, where, and how do I acquire it?
Some possible scenarios I've considered:
1) Fly to CA and buy a car when I get there. Pros: don't need to deal with import regulations or retroactively paying sales tax(?). Cons: it's probably more expensive to buy a car in CA (9.5% sales tax) than in DE (no sales tax, 3.75% title document fee).
2) Buy a car in DE and have it driven eventually to CA by a friend (who needs to make this drive anyway and would appreciate the loan of a one-way vehicle). I would fly to his final destination 3/4 across the country--which I will be visiting regardless--and drive my car the rest of the way to CA. In this case, I'm not sure whether I should be registering the car in DE or CA... it would take about 2 weeks to get the car from one state to the other, and I may not have time to go to the DMV immediately.
3) My parents (living in DE) have offered to buy me a car as a graduation present, and they are willing to keep me on their insurance. There's a non-zero possibility that I will be moving back East after a year in CA and becoming a full-time student in a city where I'd no longer need a car, at which point I'd return the car to them. If the car is in their name, would it be kosher to keep me on their insurance as the primary driver of a car garaged in CA? If so, do/can/should I register this car in CA?
In short: Can I save money on tax/registration/insurance, legally, if I acquire a car in DE before moving to CA?