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Buying car/getting license in California

Buying car/getting license in California

Old Jan 9th 2022, 6:59 pm
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Default Buying car/getting license in California

Hi everyone

This is my first post here so I'll just briefly explain my situation. I am moving to Los Angeles in February. I was born in the USA so I am a full citizen but I have lived in the UK all my adult life.

I am struggling to understand the process surrounding buying a car, getting it insured and taking my CA test. And what order to do these in?

I know I need to take my tests in California within 10 days of becoming resident. But obviously I will need a car to take the test. I know what car I want and I have the cash to buy it outright. But I will also need an insurer to provide me with cover on my UK license so I can drive it away from the dealership and go about my business until my California test

If I'm missing bits here please help me clear this up? Thanks so much if you're able to help!
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Old Jan 9th 2022, 10:05 pm
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Default Re: Buying car/getting license in California

I got my us license before buying a car here. if you have done the uk test which it seems you have then it will be a breeze, the California driving test is a joke. Will you be buying from a private seller or dealership? I have done both, private seller you reach an agreement on the price, hand over a cheque and buy insurance for the car before you can pick it up. From a dealership i rang an insurance company as i signed all the paperwork and drove the car home the same day.

I will add some insurance companies will try to discredit your uk/foreign driving history. one of them asked for my driving test papers from the uk! luckily i still had it back from 2004.
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Old Jan 9th 2022, 10:11 pm
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Default Re: Buying car/getting license in California

Hi I bought a car and had it insured using my Uk license I just had to prove my address which I did with utility bill and rental agreement.

I am insured with progressive which offered 6 month policy on my uk license wasn’t cheapest but could do it all online. At renewal time I spoke to geico who said they would also do it on UK license.

didn’t get any credit for my UK no claims but didn’t expect any.
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Old Jan 10th 2022, 4:43 pm
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Default Re: Buying car/getting license in California

Originally Posted by Burg3r View Post
Hi I bought a car and had it insured using my Uk license I just had to prove my address which I did with utility bill and rental agreement.

I am insured with progressive which offered 6 month policy on my uk license wasn’t cheapest but could do it all online. At renewal time I spoke to geico who said they would also do it on UK license.

didn’t get any credit for my UK no claims but didn’t expect any.
Ok that sounds good! i will definitely speak to Progressive and Geico. I have only been driving for 1 year in the UK anyway so I suppose the 'fresh slate' of no claims won't make much difference anyway!
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Old Jan 10th 2022, 4:45 pm
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Default Re: Buying car/getting license in California

So did you do your test in California using a rental car or something?


I am looking to buy from a dealership with my quote at the ready
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Old Jan 10th 2022, 5:20 pm
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Default Re: Buying car/getting license in California

Originally Posted by jameslawley View Post
So did you do your test in California using a rental car or something?


I am looking to buy from a dealership with my quote at the ready
I don’t know about CA, in NY you could drive on a UK lisence until certain criteria were met, for CA it looks like these are:

being there for 6 months, registering to vote, getting a job…

https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/driver...to-california/

I had a full UK lisence, in NYC I had to apply for learners permit, take the written test, watch 6 hours of videos from the 90’s about not drink driving and then take the practical test. I used the car from the driving school where I watched the video for my test, I think the whole thing was maybe $2-300 but that was 10+ years ago.

I assume you already have your SSN ? This would be needed for US tax returns and FBAR’s etc.
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Old Jan 10th 2022, 6:13 pm
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Default Re: Buying car/getting license in California

Originally Posted by Burg3r View Post
Hi I bought a car and had it insured using my Uk license I just had to prove my address which I did with utility bill and rental agreement.

I am insured with progressive which offered 6 month policy on my uk license wasn’t cheapest but could do it all online. At renewal time I spoke to geico who said they would also do it on UK license.

didn’t get any credit for my UK no claims but didn’t expect any.

Aren't you resident in the US? If so, you shouldn't be driving on a UK license. If you have a claim, it could come back to bite you, whatever the salesperson said . . .
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Old Jan 10th 2022, 6:18 pm
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Default Re: Buying car/getting license in California

I had family members arrive in 2020 to Colorado. They were able to buy and insure a car with their UK license only. They insured with Geico, and took the CO test in their new car. If you do that I would contact the insurance company after you get a CA license, it may help with your insurance rates which will be very high for the first couple of years. Otherwise hire a car for the day and do your test in that.
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Old Jan 11th 2022, 1:05 am
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Default Re: Buying car/getting license in California

In San Diego they literally get you to drive around the block, you don’t even have to turn left. No maneuvers either. The written test is a multiple choice 30 minute test.
This chill attitude doesn’t extend to all driving-related rules though. They are strict on texting when driving, drinking and driving (unlike other places I lived in the US) and the annual smog test (unless you have a newish car).
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Old Jan 11th 2022, 3:56 am
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Default Re: Buying car/getting license in California

Originally Posted by Ukoneday View Post
In San Diego they literally get you to drive around the block, you don’t even have to turn left. No maneuvers either. The written test is a multiple choice 30 minute test.
This chill attitude doesn’t extend to all driving-related rules though. They are strict on texting when driving, drinking and driving (unlike other places I lived in the US) and the annual smog test (unless you have a newish car).
I’ve often seen the comment in this forum on how easy the California road test is. Inasmuch as the last, and only, time I took a road test was in January 1966, I can’t talk from first hand experience. But from my now grown children (and the experience of friend’s children), I’ve observed that first time drivers find the road test difficult. Experienced drivers find it rather easy. Think about that one time around the block - there are actions you will automatically take without thinking. Like checking mirrors, looking around, stopping for pedestrians, etc. That one circuit has many opportunities to blow the test.

BTW, my dual national brother-in-law (US born, UK naturalized) found his first DL in California to be quite difficult, but his tests as an adult in Florida, Washington (commercial) and the UK to be easy. The one thing that was lectured on for the UK was the different arm motions with “we’re not in America.” But he passed with flying colors despite his steering method hand over hand.

I would recommend advance practice with left hand drive on the right side of the road.
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Old Jan 11th 2022, 4:49 am
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Default Re: Buying car/getting license in California

Originally Posted by Ukoneday View Post
In San Diego they literally get you to drive around the block, you don’t even have to turn left. No maneuvers either. The written test is a multiple choice 30 minute test.
This chill attitude doesn’t extend to all driving-related rules though. They are strict on texting when driving, drinking and driving (unlike other places I lived in the US) and the annual smog test (unless you have a newish car).
Very annoying that I can't trade my Ontario license even though Californians can trade their licenses here.

The test being easy makes me feel better. My UK test in 2012 was not easy.
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Old Jan 11th 2022, 4:58 pm
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Default Re: Buying car/getting license in California

Originally Posted by jameslawley View Post
So did you do your test in California using a rental car or something?


I am looking to buy from a dealership with my quote at the ready
Does the quote include any discount for paying cash? I've found that buying in cash usually prompts a discount.

Our/my auto insurance has only been a 6 month policy for the last 20 odd years. Use to be annual but they changed back then and made it 6 month policies only. Note that your age will also determine the cost of your insurance, as well your credit rating.
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Old Jan 11th 2022, 5:01 pm
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Default Re: Buying car/getting license in California

Originally Posted by Ling_Noi View Post
Very annoying that I can't trade my Ontario license even though Californians can trade their licenses here.

The test being easy makes me feel better. My UK test in 2012 was not easy.
If you were moving to New York State, you could swap your Canadian driver's license for a New York State license. Only testing was the eye chart.
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Old Jan 14th 2022, 10:52 pm
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Default Re: Buying car/getting license in California

Just an update/for anyone who is reading this thread for advice. I was able to agree on a policy with the State Farm for my UK license, which will then transfer over to my California license
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