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skydivingisfun Mar 31st 2009 10:46 pm

How do i buy a car
 
OK moving over next week:thumbsup: will need a car for work, seen loads on craigslist but how would i insure one? i am going to book a rental tonight but there is nothing like your own motor

can i buy one and insure it or do i have to wait for my CA drivers licence

Steve

sambapink Mar 31st 2009 11:28 pm

Re: How do i buy a car
 

Originally Posted by skydivingisfun (Post 7439955)
OK moving over next week:thumbsup: will need a car for work, seen loads on craigslist but how would i insure one? i am going to book a rental tonight but there is nothing like your own motor

can i buy one and insure it or do i have to wait for my CA drivers licence

Steve

Hi Steve - we insured our cars with our UK licenses and then called the Insurance company once we had our CA licenses - It will be expensive unfortunately. The only company we could go with when we arrived was Progressive - I think they were one of the only ones here in CA that would accept International licenses.

Good luck with the move next week - Weather's beautiful here in MV at the moment :thumbsup:

N1cky Mar 31st 2009 11:34 pm

Re: How do i buy a car
 

Originally Posted by sambapink (Post 7440049)
Hi Steve - we insured our cars with our UK licenses and then called the Insurance company once we had our CA licenses - It will be expensive unfortunately. The only company we could go with when we arrived was Progressive - I think they were one of the only ones here in CA that would accept International licenses.

Good luck with the move next week - Weather's beautiful here in MV at the moment :thumbsup:

We insured through AIG (now 21st Century) on our European licenses. Insurance is really expensive even when you get your American license because you haven't held it since you were 15.

midwestowl Apr 1st 2009 1:25 am

Re: How do i buy a car
 
ditto the first two replies in that we were able to insure with just our UK licenses, state farm took us on no problem.
Re the cost have to say that the premiums were no more than what we were paying in the UK, okay the cars are worth alot less here but i guess thats more than compensated by the cya other costs associated with driving.

md95065 Apr 1st 2009 1:45 am

Re: How do i buy a car
 
As a purely practical matter you will want to get your CA driver's license as soon as possible - quite apart from the fact that CA requires you to get a CA license within 10 days of becoming resident it is the de-facto universal identity card and without it you don't really exist ...

So, get yourself down to the DMV with your "lawful presence" documentation as soon as you get your social security number.

Swisstony Apr 1st 2009 12:46 pm

Re: How do i buy a car
 
re car insurance:

We managed to get a reasonable rate, i think from state farm, because we had had car insurance from another providor in our previous country within the last month (we had actaully forgeooten to cancel it!) - this got us a quite comprehensive policy on 2 cars <2 years old for i think about USD1800...

which from stories I had been told before coming here is quite good/

Best of luck

Tony

sangiano Apr 1st 2009 1:13 pm

Re: How do i buy a car
 

Originally Posted by N1cky (Post 7440061)
We insured through AIG (now 21st Century) on our European licenses. Insurance is really expensive even when you get your American license because you haven't held it since you were 15.

We joined the AIG International Incoming programme for $400 before departing.

We then got insurance through them for c. $900 / 6 months for 2 new cars rather than the $2000 other insurers quoted. They said they took our UK no-claims into account, but we didn't have to prove it.

Even today, more than a year on, the insurance savings are still quite substantial.

Initially, we also took out Renter's Insurance with them, as it was difficult, without a credit history, to get quotes from other providers.

It was the best $400 we spent. YMMV

N1cky Apr 1st 2009 4:19 pm

Re: How do i buy a car
 

Originally Posted by sangiano (Post 7441744)
We joined the AIG International Incoming programme for $400 before departing.

We then got insurance through them for c. $900 / 6 months for 2 new cars rather than the $2000 other insurers quoted. They said they took our UK no-claims into account, but we didn't have to prove it.

Even today, more than a year on, the insurance savings are still quite substantial.

Initially, we also took out Renter's Insurance with them, as it was difficult, without a credit history, to get quotes from other providers.

It was the best $400 we spent. YMMV

We didn't take out the AIG programme before we left and we are also paying around $900 for 2 cars for 6 months.

I think my problem with the insurance cost is in the UK we had 2 really great cars, as we lived on roads you could actually 'drive'. Here we have the typical Jeep and 4 door saloon which are really boring as all we do is go up and down the freeway. I guess car crime isn't as much of an issue in the 'burbs in CA as in the UK.

lj2 Apr 1st 2009 6:50 pm

Re: How do i buy a car
 

Originally Posted by sangiano (Post 7441744)
We joined the AIG International Incoming programme for $400 before departing.

We then got insurance through them for c. $900 / 6 months for 2 new cars rather than the $2000 other insurers quoted. They said they took our UK no-claims into account, but we didn't have to prove it.

Even today, more than a year on, the insurance savings are still quite substantial.

Initially, we also took out Renter's Insurance with them, as it was difficult, without a credit history, to get quotes from other providers.

It was the best $400 we spent. YMMV

Ditto.

skydivingisfun Apr 1st 2009 7:51 pm

Re: How do i buy a car
 

Originally Posted by md95065 (Post 7440335)
As a purely practical matter you will want to get your CA driver's license as soon as possible - quite apart from the fact that CA requires you to get a CA license within 10 days of becoming resident it is the de-facto universal identity card and without it you don't really exist ...

So, get yourself down to the DMV with your "lawful presence" documentation as soon as you get your social security number.

Thanks for that, i would love a CA drivers licence

Sir Denis Eaton-Hogg Apr 1st 2009 10:58 pm

Re: How do i buy a car
 
A tip. Buy a small portable file case and get multiple copies of everything realting to you and your life in the UK made and filed in the case before you get on the plane... get used to needing to present 'papers' like something out of a WWII movie almost daily for the first few months.

More important than sorting the car, go to the SS (not the gestapo but close) office as soon as you arrive and apply for an SSN number, its pretty easy. Makes everything MUCH easier once you have that. they will advise you to wait 4 to 6 weeks from the date you arrive (this is supposed to allow the UCIS to have processed your point of entry into the system and allows the SS office to prove you actually exist). Ignore that, go with your wife and take all your paperwork and do it as soon as possible. As she is an L2 they will issue her one at the same time. The actual cards come in the mail and take a few weeks, so in total you are looking at a 4 to 6 week wait. In the meantime they issue you with a letter that states you have applied for an SSN and are going to get one shortly.

You can then go to the CA DMV armed with that letter and sit the written test to save time, I did mine on the same day i went to the SS office. Go with your, UK license, your passport and visa paperwork. You fill out a bunch of forms and can sit the theory/written test immediately, explain that you just arrived and are waiting for an SSN#, show them the letter from the SS office. If you are an experienced driver the written test is mostly common sense and requires a little bit of online revision on the CA DMV website. If its a slow day you should be able to take it straight away.

If you pass the theory they will enter you in the system and issue you with a driving number and record your theory pass. But you will be 'in process' until you provide the actual SSN. Don't worry at least you exist on the system and can use the driver number to get accurate insurance quotes.

Then as soon as you get your SSN# you come back and book in for the the actual practical test. A tip, choose a quieter regional DMV office than one in a major urban location, less queuing usually. You need to be in an insured car to take the test, it can be rental.

You will find it almost impossible to buy and insure a car as soon as you arrive, it can be done but its a headache and will cost you $$$

Consider renting a car, most of the big companies have reasonable monthly rates that work out much cheaper than weekly renewals. I actually booked a 3 month rental in advance and got a great reduction in the rate, but managed to buy a car in month 2 and returned the rental early at the end of the 2nd month with no penalties through Hertz.

On insurance you should note that in CA any 'legit' dealer is required by law to see evidence of valid insurance before they are allowed to let you drive off their property with a vehicle. I would advise talking to some local agents on the phone before you arrive to get an idea and at least introduce yourself, they can set you up in their system and give you some pricing based on sample vehicles. Prepare to be shocked at the prices, you will be considered a 'New' driver and pay accordingly. I found that actually showing them copies of my past UK renewals and no claims paperwork helped a little bit in establishing history. It helps to talk to actual people because most of the online quotes are generated using 'date of 1st US license' info which will automatically consider you as a teenager and give rates accordingly. Likewise it also saves to do bundle insurance, for example if you are renting a house and get your auto and renters insurance from the same place they can give pretty hefty discounts, likewise for multi-car policies.

good luck, welcome to CA!

Sir D

chartreuse Apr 2nd 2009 1:24 am

Re: How do i buy a car
 

Originally Posted by Sir Denis Eaton-Hogg (Post 7443413)
On insurance you should note that in CA any 'legit' dealer is required by law to see evidence of valid insurance before they are allowed to let you drive off their property with a vehicle.

Interesting. In TX, the dealers insure the truck* for up to 30 days, to give you time to shop around for your own insurance.

*Of course it's a truck. This is Texas! :lol:

Kaffy Mintcake Apr 2nd 2009 2:49 am

Re: How do i buy a car
 

Originally Posted by chartreuse (Post 7443715)
Interesting. In TX, the dealers insure the truck* for up to 30 days, to give you time to shop around for your own insurance.

*Of course it's a truck. This is Texas! :lol:

That is interesting. In Ohio they call to confirm your insurance and to notify the company of your purchase while you sit on the other side of the desk.

Havnfun Apr 2nd 2009 4:12 am

Re: How do i buy a car
 

Originally Posted by skydivingisfun (Post 7439955)
OK moving over next week:thumbsup: will need a car for work, seen loads on craigslist but how would i insure one? i am going to book a rental tonight but there is nothing like your own motor

can i buy one and insure it or do i have to wait for my CA drivers licence

Steve

Hi Steve,

We moved to Mission Viejo from Canada last year. We were able to get insurance without having CA drivers licences. We did bring our Drivers' Abstract from Canada which showed our driving history for the past 10 years and this gave us a good discount with Allstate.

We use the DMV in San Clemente. The drive test is all on side streets with only two stop lights, no parallel parking and only lasts about 15 minutes.:thumbup:

Good luck with your move.


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