Finding the vehicle you want can be difficult when your search is limited to sellers in your immediate area. There may not be as many models or features available in your state or the vehicles may be too expensive due to popularity. Widening your search can provide amazing results and bring your dream car right to your door.

What to keep in mind

Purchasing a vehicle from out of state can give you amazing benefits. However, adhering to the legal protocols both for the state you purchased the car in and your home state is essential to easing the process. If you’re planning on driving the vehicle home, you may need a temporary registration to legally drive the vehicle until it can be fully put in your name.

Your vehicle will have to pass an emissions test in your home state, which can vary from the state where it was previously tested. Your insurance may also present unique challenges depending on your coverage and insurer. You have the option to ship the vehicle to your home or pay another person to bring it across the country. Purchasing a vehicle from out of state comes with a host of unique advantages and potential disadvantages depending on your situation.


Widening your search to other states can give you access to amazing new models and features not available locally. You’ll have an easier time finding unusual cars with rare configurations. Limited edition vehicles or high-performance models manufactured in minimal numbers will also be more accessible. Better prices and model options are available nationally than what can be found in your state alone.

Expanding your search will help you find cars you wouldn’t have access to otherwise. For example, if you live in a colder, midwest state, you may struggle to find a sporty convertible unless you check sunnier states like Florida or California. You may want a vehicle that doesn’t have many miles or that hasn’t accrued any damage from salt and inclement weather. Searching across state lines gives you access to a host of vehicles that you wouldn’t often see on your local roads.

You’ll also have access to potentially cheaper vehicles based on where they’re located. The value of a vehicle fluctuates based on state and local economies, making some cars more expensive in some states and cheaper in others. Take advantage of this price difference to find vehicles available locally but for much better prices across state lines. There are many great deals available that can save you hundreds even when factoring in necessary additional costs.


While there are many benefits to purchasing a vehicle out of state, don’t forget to consider the potential disadvantages. The buying process can become much more complicated when accounting for sales tax, emissions test, and registration requirements. Thoroughly research the state of interest and ensure you can meet all of their legal requirements. Your insurance will also need to be contacted before purchasing the vehicle to confirm you’re completely insured.

One of the more costly factors to consider is how you’ll get the vehicle home. You have the option to ship the vehicle to your state, drive it back or pay someone else to drive it to you. The car shipping cost may offset what you saved by shopping out of state. Factor in how much money it would take to drive it back home yourself, from taking the time off work to staying at a hotel to the potential registration needed to drive it across state lines.

Shipping the vehicle may be a more budget-friendly option than traveling out of state yourself. There are also professionals available who volunteer their time and are typically paid by the hour along with gas costs. Find the least expensive and convenient option for you to maximize benefits and minimize extraneous costs.


Purchasing a vehicle from out of state gives you the advantage of a wider selection and cheaper models than what’s available locally. You can find your dream classic car or a vehicle that’s efficient and low on miles. Don’t forget to factor in the registration and emissions testing process in other states. You can save hundreds if not thousands with proper research and preparation.