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Buying a car, insurance etc etc

Buying a car, insurance etc etc

Old Mar 21st 2008, 5:15 pm
  #1  
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Question Buying a car, insurance etc etc

So, my company has finally started the process of applying for my L1, so hopefully I'll be flying back to the UK in a couple of weeks, getting the visa, and coming back here. The downside is, they stop paying for me to have a rental car, so I need to get my own, and don't fancy paying the $1000pm for the rental car & insurance (though I'm sure I could get the latter cheaper). So, some questions:

- Do I need to get a Driver Licence to get insurance over here? I assume my UK one won't work. I've seen other posts that indicate I can get one if I have a Tax ID#

- Do I need to take a drivers test?

- Is there any way to carry over my no claims from the UK or do I have to start again? I plan to get a fairly decent car, which is UK terms would be a Group 16+, but I've no idea whether that means anything in the US.

- I do not have an SSN yet, and even if I did my credit rating would be non-existent, so, are there any retailers that would work off my UK credit rating? My apartment company did, but the risk of me driving the apartment into Mexico is fairly low!

Any other tips?

Thanks all!
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Old Mar 21st 2008, 6:11 pm
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Default Re: Buying a car, insurance etc etc

Originally Posted by pwhite8314 View Post
- Is there any way to carry over my no claims from the UK or do I have to start again?
The US doesn't have no claims in the way the UK does.

I found Farmers Insurance accepted my UK insurance as proof of previous insurance, they needed dated UK certificate of insurance, and then gave me the discount they give to a US driver with previous insurance history.

However like a lot of things in the US the same companies do different things in different States so what they do in Oregon doesn't necessarily mean it will be so where you are.
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Old Mar 21st 2008, 6:25 pm
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Default Re: Buying a car, insurance etc etc

- Do I need to get a Driver Licence to get insurance over here? I assume my UK one won't work. I've seen other posts that indicate I can get one if I have a Tax ID#
No, but you do need a D/L to get an even vaguely reasonable rate. If you get an L1 you will need to get a SSN rather than just a TIN as you will be resident for tax purposes. Also check AIG Insurance, I dropped $500 per year moving to them

- Do I need to take a drivers test?
Yes, but it is a P.of.P. Go take a multiple choice computer test and then take a drive 'round the block with either DMV employee or a Police Officer.

- Is there any way to carry over my no claims from the UK or do I have to start again? I plan to get a fairly decent car, which is UK terms would be a Group 16+, but I've no idea whether that means anything in the US.
Never found a way to do it. Our rates after 5 years are pretty much the same as everyone else, but the early years were painful. We were treated as new drivers after 20 years of driving in the UK.

- I do not have an SSN yet, and even if I did my credit rating would be non-existent, so, are there any retailers that would work off my UK credit rating? My apartment company did, but the risk of me driving the apartment into Mexico is fairly low!
No, search for secured credit cards on BE to start building credit history.

Good luck

- Tim
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Old Mar 21st 2008, 6:41 pm
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Default Re: Buying a car, insurance etc etc

If you already have an Amex, that history MIGHT carry over.

I think anyone in the UK who is considering a move to the US should get the Amex before applying for a visa!
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Old Mar 21st 2008, 8:54 pm
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Default Re: Buying a car, insurance etc etc

Originally Posted by snowbunny View Post
If you already have an Amex, that history MIGHT carry over.

I think anyone in the UK who is considering a move to the US should get the Amex before applying for a visa!
Amex as in American Express card? I've been a member in the UK since 2002, and the credit limit on that would be my fallback plan for buying a car, if there's no other way of getting credit with a fairly low rate.

Thanks to everyone for the advice!
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Old Mar 22nd 2008, 4:10 am
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Default Re: Buying a car, insurance etc etc

Yes Amex as in American Express. I opened one in Australia for 6 months before moving to the US, and was able to call up the US center before leaving Aus, and open a US account ("Global transfer") on the phone, they sent a card with a $5K limit on it to my new US address which was waiting for me when I arrived.

I bought a car with cash.

Insurance companies vary - most were willing to cover me without a local license, as long as I got it within 30 days and provided the details to them. Insurance was heinously expensive, I ended up going with Geico at just under $1000 for 6 months' coverage. I tried about 6 different companies and the rates varied from $980 to $1500 for 6 months' coverage. Supposedly it will drop when I have a local driving history after the first 6 months. I also paid upfront to get a further discount.

I do need to get a learner's permit and take a road test to get a license.. heading off in the morning actually!

My stuff was all in Pennsylvania.
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Old Mar 22nd 2008, 1:25 pm
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Default Re: Buying a car, insurance etc etc

thanks, I read up on the global transfer after reading your post. I've got a £25k limit back in the UK, so if that transfers over, or even a decent % of that, then I'll be very happy.
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Old Mar 22nd 2008, 3:37 pm
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Default Re: Buying a car, insurance etc etc

Hi Pete:

Just to say that the law on drivers licenses etc varies from state to state (so only worry about Texas if that's where you're going), and then implementation of no-claims/driving experience depends between agent/company/state. Some people on here have been able to convince their agent to credit them with their previous UK insurance/driving record, some (like me) to had start from zero.

I never would have bothered going into an insurance agent in the UK (just did it online or over the phone) but I think in your case it might actually be worth in going and talking it through with someone, especially if they're used to dealing with immigrants/expats. (I don't know whether your town is one of the "oily" ones).

I tried to look up and see if there were insurance groups in the US, but couldn't find anything relevant.

If your insurance is high (it will be), you can cut some of the cost by taking a Mickey Mouse driver safety class: http://www.tea.state.tx.us/drive/dsinfo.html and some insurance cos will give you a discount if you fit Daylight Running Lights (like Volvos have), which can be a fairly cheap plug-in fix.

One thing that I always drone on about is that IMO you should not get just the legal minimum coverage for car insurance: in Texas, the legal minimum for personal injury and property damage is $25,000, but it's pretty easy to cause $10,000 of damage in a relatively minor single-car crunch. What happens if you take out a doctor in his Merc and he can't work for a month? Ouch!
http://www.tdi.state.tx.us/auto/frvp.html
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Old Mar 22nd 2008, 3:53 pm
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Default Re: Buying a car, insurance etc etc

Thanks. I'm not a fan of minumum insurance, so no worries there. No point having insurance unless you feel some comfort as a result?

In terms of the agents, same here, I'd always go shopping online in the UK, somewhere like confused.com, but it's just not the same over here, it's very dependant on the state and local reps, so I'll do some asking around when I get back over here, I'm figuring on renting a car for another month just to give me enough time to find my own wheels, and get them insured.

Thanks for the tips!
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Old Mar 22nd 2008, 4:44 pm
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Default Re: Buying a car, insurance etc etc

Pete, State Farm Insurance is a good company (long time co, not likely to blow away etc), is competative with rates (I still can't fine a better deal) and did not give us too much hassle aboiut adding a UK driver (rates for me went down as a matter of fact).

Read the articles here about credit; I think the main advantage to xfering your AmEx account is that you *have* a credit card when you hit the ground here. Not that it instantly creates a credit score, but it helps you get rolling.
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Old Mar 22nd 2008, 9:01 pm
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Default Re: Buying a car, insurance etc etc

Just a thought, but browse through the wiki, quite a lot of info you'll be looking for in them already
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