Do I need a driver’s license to buy a car?

people shaking hands at a car dealership

Last updated on March 19th, 2024 at 02:47 pm

There is nothing stopping you from legally buying a car without a driver’s license, though not having one may complicate the process of getting insurance, registering the car,  and obtaining financing. Additionally, certain tasks, which can now be completed online, will have to be taken care of in person. 

While unusual, there are several scenarios in which a person without a driver’s license may want to buy a car. These include:

  • Buying a vehicle as a gift
  • Buying a fleet vehicle for a business
  • Buying a vehicle for caregiver use
  • Buying a vehicle for a minor with a driver’s license
  • Buying a car for a collection
  • Bing a car for a driver to operate

Insurance challenges

One of the biggest hurdles to owning a car without a license is getting insurance. Typically, insurance companies require a driver’s license number in order for them to check driving history, and most states require that cars are insured. However, insurance companies will accept the driver’s license information of whoever will be the primary driver of the vehicle, and you will be listed on the policy as an excluded driver. Even though you’re paying the premium, its cost will be calculated based on the primary driver. 

Registering the car

In order to register your car, you must present a driver’s license and proof of insurance to the DMV. Because you will not be able to do either, you’ll need to share ownership of the car with another person. The driver of the vehicle will be named the titleholder. 

Financing woes

Obtaining financing without a driver’s license is difficult, with many dealerships refusing to finance a car without a license. They know that because of registration requirements, you’ll only have partial ownership of the vehicle. While you can apply for a loan from a third party source, they will normally require that you have insurance coverage first. Of course, you’ll need to provide a government ID and income statement. They may also request proof that your driver’s license was not suspended or revoked. 

So to answer the question: Do I need a driver’s license to buy a car? No, but the entire car-buying process favors those with licenses, so while it is possible and legal to buy a car without a license, there will be obstacles to overcome, such as getting insurance, financing, and registering the car.  

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