Buying a Car In Florida From Out Of State

Buying a car in Florida from out of state can be complicated, but the process for registering an out-of-state vehicle is fairly straightforward.
Written by Kara Vanderbeek
Reviewed by Shannon Fitzgerald
If you bought a vehicle from a dealership or private seller out of state and want to drive it in
, you must register your vehicle and transfer your license plates to Florida within 10 days. 
From hunting for deals to inspecting used cars and visiting new dealerships, purchasing a vehicle can be a complex process to navigate. Mix in buying a car from out of state and you’ll have a whole new layer of hoops to jump through.
Luckily, trusted
car insurance
broker app
is here to help you buy a car from out of state with ease. Whether you’re transferring a title to Florida or purchasing a Florida vehicle as a resident of a different state, we’ve got you covered.
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How to buy a car out of state as a Florida resident

Picture this: You reside in Florida, but you’ve just found a great deal on your dream car. The only problem? The car is registered in California, and in order to purchase the car, you need to travel out of state to pick it up. 
Once you’ve driven the car back to Florida, how do you register the vehicle? What is the procedure for transferring the certificate of title to Florida? Where do you pay taxes?
These are great questions, as registering out-of-state vehicles is common among Florida residents. 
Whether you’ve just moved to Florida and have a car registered in another state or you’ve just purchased a new vehicle from out-of-state, it is mandatory to register your vehicle in the state of Florida within 10 days. In addition, the old license plates need to be disposed of properly (some states require the license plates to be returned to the DMV while others can be kept or destroyed) and a new Florida plate affixed to your car.  
Keep in mind that you must register and insure your vehicle before you start driving it. If you’re unable to provide proof of registration or car insurance, you may lose your driver’s license for up to three years. 
So how do you register your vehicle in Florida? You can use the state of Florida’s mobile app (MyFlorida), the online MyDMV Portal, or attend the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle office. You will need to provide the following: 
Once your vehicle is properly registered, it will have a license plate with a valid tag number, a sticker showing the expiration date, and a registration card. 
If you’re a new Florida resident (i.e., just moved to the state or have lived there for 1-2 years), you will need to take the following steps to register your vehicle:
  • Obtain a
    vehicle identification number
    (VIN) check and official odometer reading done
  • Obtain new license plates
  • Complete all payments for any possible sales tax on the car out-of-state
  • Obtain and provide proof of Florida car insurance 
  • Provide proof of out-of-state title
What about taxes?
When you first register your vehicle in Florida, you may need to pay sales tax, local discretionary tax, and use tax, depending on how long you’ve had the car and your choice of license plate. 
If you’ve owned the vehicle for 6 months or less, you have all rights reserved and must pay 6% sales or use tax and local discretionary taxes. If you’ve owned the vehicle for longer than the 6-month timeframe, you won’t need to pay such taxes for an owned car bought in another state.

How to buy a car in Florida if you live out of state

What if you’re
purchasing a Florida vehicle
but live out of state? While the process is similar in most states, it will vary depending on where you plan to register the car. 
In most cases, you’ll need to take a valid bill of sale for the vehicle purchase to your local DMV, where you can complete your vehicle registration. 
In Florida, the owner of the car keeps the plates and returns them to the DMV as proof they no longer own the vehicle and to get a refund on the registration. Unfortunately, this means you will not have a license plate for the ride home. Instead, you will need a temporary license plate and temporary registration tag from the local county tax collector’s office to drive your vehicle back to your home state legally. If you’re unable to provide proof of insurance and proper vehicle registration, your vehicle will be impounded by law enforcement.
To obtain your temporary plates and tags, you’ll need to pay Florida sales tax and provide proof of insurance. 
Make auto loan refinancing easy with PriceProtect™
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icon4.7/5 rating on the App Store | Trusted by 5+ million customers and 7 million cars
icon4.7/5 app rating | Trusted by 5M+ drivers

Tips for buying a vehicle out of state

In most cases, buying a car from a different state shouldn’t present problems. It’s an extremely common occurrence and can give buyers access to a divers, and sometimes more affordable market of vehicles. Nevertheless, the process can prove complicated every so often. If you’re planning to purchase a vehicle out-of-state, keep these tips in mind:
  • Never skip the vehicle history report, particularly if you’re purchasing a used vehicle from a private seller. Services like
    can provide vehicle history reports that will notify you of any incidents or other issues in the car’s history. 
  • Schedule your vehicle inspection at home. While it may seem simpler to inspect your new vehicle before you drive it across state lines, the car you purchase will need to meet the inspection requirements of the state you’ll live, drive, and register the vehicle in—not the state where you purchased it. 
  • Research your home state’s vehicle sales tax laws. Buying a car out of state doesn’t mean you get to skip out on taxes, and you’ll need to pay taxes based on your home state, not the state of purchase. 
  • Buy car insurance before you leave the dealership. If you plan to drive the car back to your home state, don’t hit the road without insurance! Even if your other paperwork is still in the works, you’ll need to carry insurance that meets your state’s
    liability coverage

How to save on car insurance in Florida

Purchasing car insurance is as essential to the vehicle buying process as getting the keys to your new car. However, if you’re stuck filling out paperwork from your out-of-state car purchase, insurance might be the last thing on your mind.
, you’ll never have to worry about time. Jerry can compare real-time quotes from 55+ top-rated providers in just 45 seconds. As a licensed insurance broker, Jerry won’t just show you generic estimates—instead, you’ll get real, personalized price estimates from actual companies. 
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