Buy a car in Vancouver, BC or Calgary and sell in Toronto
Replies: 15 - Last Post: Feb 22, 2013 8:47 AM Last Post By: nikotka
Feb 9, 2013 11:23 AM
What are the insurance/registration costs? What I have to do to to sell the car bought anywhere else than in Ontario legally? Do I need to provide the address for registration?
I am from Europe and I will go to Canada and USA for a road trip (the idea is Vancouver-Alaska-Vancouver-California-Florida-New York-Toronto). I know that somebody might say that it is not recommended to buy a car for three months trip, but I could not find a long-term car rental for reasonable price with unlimited miles and without geographical restrictions. If it is not a good idea to buy in BC and sell in Ontario (my returning flight ticket is from New York and I am in Vancouver right now) or I can not simply do it (like in USA, I would need to be American to buy a car there), do you please know about any rent a car agency suitable for this trip in USA or Canada, which is reliable and recommended? But I think that it is still cheaper to buy a car, insurance, change a tires and oil etc. than rent a car. And the freedom you gain...Please tell me if I am wrong.
Thank you for your advices, everything is appreciated.
Feb 9, 2013 4:26 PM
1I don't know how difficult it is to register/insure a car for a foreigner. However, there are no restrictions on selling a BC car in Ontario. That being said, I wouldn't recommend buying a car. If you are looking for something cheap then you have to factor in the expenses that would be incurred if your car breaks down somewhere on your trip. Some people get lucky and they buy a cheap car and it gets them all over the country without any problem. But if something goes on it like a transmission or brakes...you might have to pay $$ and stay in some random town for more time than you would want to.
Rather than look for one car for your whole trip, why not consider your trip as consisting as several loops. You could have a car in Vancouver and use it to see BC. You could take the ferries up to Alaska and then rent another car there. You could then fly to California and rent a car for a loop trip. (If you skip Alaska, you could take the train from Vancouver to San Francisco via Seattle and Portland.) Then fly to Florida (if you must! It's not one of the US' highlights...but Europeans all seem to want to go there!) and rent a car for a tour of that state. Then fly to New York and from there you can see most places by public transit. You could rent a car for short trips to places like the Smokey Mountains or other eastern destinations. (NYC, Boston, Washington, Philadelphia, Montreal, Toronto, Niagara Falls are all well served by buses and trains.)
Feb 9, 2013 5:49 PM
2The suggestion in #1 is the best bet. Break it up into a few rentals.
I think on the very optimistic side you'd eat up three weeks buying, registering, insuring, inspecting, repairing, and selling a car. I'd realistically expect it take closer to a month and a half of working through those hassles, further complicated by the fact you're a foreigner and you'd be crossing the international border multiple times. You can do it and may get lucky, but more likely it would become a huge headache and very costly.
Renting a few vehicles mitigates the risks considerably and will let you make the most of your 3 months.
Feb 10, 2013 12:31 PM
3I love your optimism, and I do not understand why you cant buy a car in the USA, most of your trip sounds USA based. (I buy a few there ever year & import them).
I suggest that you buy a car you can afford to walk away from. Use it for your trip & if & when it breaks down gift it to a local charity that works with offenders in mechanical training programs (Teen Challenge is our local option) & give them the car for training & resale purposes. If the car proves worthy - enjoy for your entire trip - try to sell - but its unusual for that process to happen quickly, what happens if you cant sell before you leave? Again I suggest being willing to give it away. Now having suggested that you buy something you can walk away from doesn't mean that you can buy an inexpensive car & hope for the best. In order to register the car it must meet provincial safety standards. You can purchase a car that is not licensable for much less than one can be licensed. When purchasing a car make sure it has a current safety.
Will you be doing a driving test to get a Cdn drivers License - I think you need for insurance purposes, you certainly need a location address (If you are involved in any type of accident you need to be contactable at a location!) Also an issue for liability in the USA (land of litigation). What will you do about cancelling insurance after your 3 months of use? Insurance is normally purchased for a year (with some installment payment options)?
Curious what you think an appropriate budget for a car, insurance, maintenance would be - cause I'm thinking $5-8000. & that doesn't seem more than what I see for rental rates (I checked Budget from Seattle to JFK for 1 month & the costs started at $20/day. Continuing with that type of math the rental of a couple different car should cost under $2000, much less than what your car purchase will cost), but I might do really different math than you do.
Hope you enjoy your trip, anyway it happens.
Feb 10, 2013 9:31 PM
4Thank you for all the replies!
Our original plan was to go to a bigger city, rent a car there, drive around, fly to another city and again. But I am not so interested in commercial cities and tourist attractions, I would like to go to countryside, see the life there, stop on the way to make pictures, etc. Plus short term rental is more expensive.
We are already in Vancouver at working holiday, so we have a plenty of time for purchase, selling will be more time consuming.
The trip is more USA based, but I am not able to purchase a car in USA without permanent address, which I do not have and I will never have. I have EU driving licence and inrternational driving licence and we drive on the same side of the road as you, so I will not have to complete a driving test. I also do not need canadian address, our friends from Europe didn´t need it too. I know nothing about insurance, we will have to visit some insurance agency and we will go to budget.com branch to get some informations, too. It is very complicated here though! We keep both options in mind, fortunately we have time to decide what is better.
We wanted to buy a combi car (for example dodge caravan), around year 2001 for approx. 2000 dollars plus insurance and maintenance and be ready to sell it for approx. 500 dollars. I expect that the insurance and maintainancewill not be over 1000 dollars if nothing will go wrong. I found the same size car at budget.com for three months for 4000 dollars. We do not mind the process of buying and selling, we were there once. The most importatnt thing is what will be cheaper and feasible than easier. If to rent a car (no geographical restrictions whithin Canada and USA, unlimited miles etc), why not :)
Feb 11, 2013 4:54 PM
5You're dreaming if you think a $2000 Dodge will cover over 15,000km and only need $1000 in maintenance. I'd be very hesitant to buy anything under $5000 for a trip of this magnitude, and certainly not one of the most problematic brands out there.
If you break down in Northern BC/Yukon/Alaska where you're far away from a mechanic, you don't even want to think of what the towing/repair bill could be.
Regarding insurance, BC is a bit different with its insurance, but in Alberta you generally pay for the year, but when you cancel they'll refund the unused portion. Not sure what you'd have to pay as a foreigner with no driving history in Canada, but somewhere in the $100 - $300/month range I'd guess.
If you keep an eye out for deals and/or use Priceline, I expect renting would work out cheaper. Only with a lot of luck would you come out ahead going the buy/sell route.
Feb 11, 2013 4:56 PM
6Vehicle registration falls under provincial jurisdiction, so what you need to do is google up the relevant pages for both provinces and find out what the requirements are. In BC, car insurance is also government-run, called ICBC, so the process may be simpler there. In Alberta, insurance is sold by private insurance brokers, so you will have to shop around for your insurance and then register the vehicle.
Feb 12, 2013 1:11 PM
to tch7: What would you say that is reliable brand out there, please? We do not have Dodge in Europe so I have no experience with this brand. I thought I can purchase an insurance in case of towing. I was also thinking to skip Yukon and Alaska because of this and visit the eastern part of Canada instead.
Anmybody knows what to do if you want to sell BC car in Ontario?
Thank you all for the valuable comments.
Feb 12, 2013 4:47 PM
8Check autotrader.ca for ideas on the value of vehicles you are interested in - you can check value in different parts of the country. many people do not want to buy vehicles from Ontario due to high rust issues.
Feb 12, 2013 5:42 PM
9Toyota & Honda (and other Japanese brands) always lead the reliability rankings for cars from that era. It was not a good period for the domestic brands (GM, Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep, etc). You'll notice this as domestic brands generally have lower resale values. There are of course exceptions, and even within a poor brand they may have one model that is reliable, so you should research specific models.
You can get some insurance coverage for towing and/or join CAA, but there are limitations on what they'll cover.
When selling a vehicle in another province, most of the onus is on the buyer to get the necessary inspections and such completed. That's why it'll be difficult to sell, because there will be dozens of other vehicles those people can choose that don't give them that added hassle.
Feb 13, 2013 2:19 PM
10By the way, "eastern Canada" is in no way a substitute for Alaska and the Yukon. Completely different experiences. Of course, the term "eastern Canada" is exceedingly broad but the terrain I am thinking of is Canadian Sheild type landscapes in Ontario and Quebec - gentle, forested, rolling, leafy, lakes. Very pretty. If you keep going to the Maritime provinces you can add in lots of gentle waterfront type terrain. Newfoundland is more rugged but it is mostly flat and still pretty gentle in terms of rounded, weathered rockfaces.
Alaska and the Yukon are all about raw wilderness - jagged peaks and magnficent glaciers, massive valleys stretching into forever with braided rivers and grizzly bears scooping salmon on the Kenai. It is just soooooo different.
I love them both but please don't think you can substitute one for the other.
Feb 14, 2013 5:11 AM
11We bought a car in BC and sold it in Newfoundland. Bought it from a friend for $1800, sold it for $1600 so low risk and we also were very aware that we might just have to abandon it somewhere in the prairies!
To sell a car from out of province, many Canadian provinces require you have it inspected by a registered mechanic. We had this done in a small town in Nfld, and didn't have any problems but that is another risk you should be aware of.
ICBC will refund an unused portion of your annual insurance, provided you return 1 number plate to them when you try to claim it back - i.e. I think you have to go to an ICBC office in person, in BC, with a number plate.
Feb 14, 2013 7:08 PM
12Thank you all!
to Andrewintown: So it means that I will have to return to BC anyway to return the plate? There is no reason to sell it in Ontario if I will have to go to BC to claim the unused insurance. Can you purchase an insurance for certain time or you have to purchase year insurance? You have to pay it montly or yearly?
Feb 15, 2013 8:23 AM
13Just FYI, i would do it the other way around if you're keen on saving cash!!! Trying to sell a car in Ontario is tough...you'll surely get a lot less for the car than out east. My sister lives in Calgary and that is a great place to sell a car...she sold her used car for about $4000 there, and it would've only gotten around $1500 (or less) in Ontario!!!!
Feb 16, 2013 4:09 PM
14What a load of crap. Why do people post about a subject they really don't know much about?
nikotka, forget the idea of buying in BC and selling in Ontario. Forget the idea of buying at all. For starters, you are highly unlikely to find ICBC in BC or any insurance company in Canada will insure you without you having a Canadian driving license. You don't have one. Nor can you get one since you are not a legal Resident of Canada.
If you somehow got a Canadian driving license and went to buy insurance read here:
Pay particular attention to this line: "Note: When you buy insurance, you must provide accurate information (e.g., principal operator, vehicle use) or else your coverage could be invalid if you have a claim."
One of those questions is going to be are you a BC resident and while you are temporarily living in BC that is not the same thing as being a legal BC resident which you are not. So you would have to lie and say you are resident and then when you made a claim (in the event of an accident) they would find out (believe me they will check) and your claim would be denied, leaving you personally responsible to pay whatever amount was involved.
Canadians in general know little if anything of how things work re buying and selling cars outside of their home province, as this thread amply shows.
It is very easy for you to find out about this 'from the horse's mouth' nikotka. Walk in to any ICBC office near where you are living and ask them. They will explain it to you. Just tell them where you are from, what driving license you have, what you want to do and see what they say to you. All you are getting here is a bunch of nonsense.
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