Can I buy a car without a license in California?

Are you thinking of buying a car? There are a lot of conditions you’ll normally have to meet, and you would need to have a license for you to drive it. But, do you need a license to buy a car in California?

You can buy a car without having a license. You’ll have to deal with obstacles with financing, insurance, registration, test-driving, and delivery. But there are solutions to these challenges. Instances, where you can buy a car without a license, include a gift, collectible, business purposes, etc.

Without a driver’s license, you can still present a valid form of identification such as a passport or state-issued ID card to complete the purchase. A driver’s license only gives you the legal authority to operate the car and doesn’t affect your ability to own the car. Here, we discuss buying a car in California without a license.

Challenges to Buying a Car Without License

No law requires you to have a driver’s license before buying or owning a car. But not having one could complicate the whole buying process. Here are the challenges you’ll face:

1.  Getting Financing

It’s challenging to get financing for a car when you don’t have a license. You have nothing to worry about if you’re funding the purchase. With financing, the dealership may require that you provide a license, as this is the easiest way to prove you own the car. Most lenders believe you can’t take full ownership of the car without it. So, they’ll refuse to give you financing from the onset. But some would still accept as long as there’s a valid reason, such as when you’re buying the car for your business. You’ll need to prove that the DMV didn’t suspend your license. If the dealership doesn’t give you financing, you can get a third-party lender to provide the loan.

2.  Auto insurance

Car insurance is necessary before you can get financing for the car. Even if you’re buying with your funds, you still need insurance to register the car. Most insurance providers will require you to present a valid driver’s license before getting an insurance policy. Since you don’t have one, you won’t be able to insure the car by yourself. In this case, the best thing to do is get a family member or friend who’s licensed to serve as the primary driver. You can then ensure the car is in their name while still paying the bill. If you choose to do this, it’s best to use someone you trust who has a good driving record.

3.  Car Registration

This is the most complicated process you’ll have to deal with when buying a car without a license. The DMV requires proof of insurance and a driver’s license before getting the car registered. If the car isn’t a gift, for business, or a collector’s item, this becomes an issue. If you want to have ownership without a license, you’ll have to register the car in someone else’s name, which means you’ll share ownership. Ideally, the person you’re sharing ownership with should be someone you have a close relationship with, such as your spouse, close friend, family member, etc. The person will have equal rights to the car, so you have to pick someone who won’t deprive you of the car’s possession legally later in the future.

When filling the contract, the choice is between using the word ‘and’ or ‘or .’Using ‘and’ means that the agreement of both parties would be necessary before you can sell or transfer the car later. But if you use ‘or,’ either of the parties could transfer the vehicle without getting the other person’s consent. Therefore, any agreement has its risks, and you should pick the one that works for you based on your peculiar situation.

4.  Test Driving and Delivery

When you don’t have a driver’s license, you won’t be able to take the car for a test drive or even drive it home yourself. So, in that case, you may need to go along with someone who’s licensed.

Buying Car with Learner’s Permit

If you don’t currently have a driver’s license but are learning to drive, you can use your learner’s permit to simplify the car buying process. Of course, it won’t be as simple as if you had a license, but it would be much better than not having anything at all. Some companies will even issue insurance to drivers with learner’s permits. But it’ll usually be more expensive than getting insurance while you have your license, and there’ll be restrictions. A learner’s permit allows you to when there’s a licensed driver in the passenger seat. So, you’ll be able to take the car for a test drive before buying and might even be able to drive it home all by yourself.

When Can You Buy a Car Without a Driver’s License

Instances, where you can buy a car without a license, are:

1.  Gift

If you want the car to be a surprise gift for someone, you can buy it without a license. In that case, the receiver will be the licensed titleholder who’ll also have to register the vehicle. In this case, the dealer could help you deliver the car to the receiver.

2.  Learning to Drive

Suppose you’re still learning to drive and will get a license once you’re perfect. You can buy a car without having a license yet to use it for practice with a licensed driver.

3.  Personal Driver or Caregiver

You could buy a car without a license when you have a personal driver or someone who’ll take care of you who has a license. This usually applies to the elderly and people with disabilities.

4.  Collectibles

Car collectors don’t necessarily have to be car drivers. You can purchase a car for your collection without having any plans to drive it, and in that case, you don’t need to have a license. Likewise, you may not need insurance or registration if you don’t drive it.

5.  Business Purposes

If you’re buying a company car for your business, you may not need a driver’s license as long as you’re not planning to drive it. Then, you can easily buy it in the company name and register it under that name.

In Conclusion

It’s possible to buy a car without having a license. But it’s a complicated process that would involve the help of at least one person that’s close to you. If you don’t plan to drive the car yourself, you can just do it. But if you intend to drive the car, it’s better to wait until you have a license before buying it.