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Old November 29 2012, 09:27 AM   #1
Kestra
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Car Borrowing and Registration Questions

So for reasons that I'm not going into, I'm looking at borrowing a car from a family member for long-term use. As in a year or more. I'm not sure what all I need to do and I've been searching online but I'm a bit overwhelmed and was wondering if anyone could help.

As far as insurance goes, I'm covered to drive the car for a month on his policy and I'll be getting my own. I'm not sure about registration and all though. The car's owner is in IL and I'm in CA. Does the car need to be registered here?

I don't know the first thing about this so would really appreciate help!
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Old November 29 2012, 03:35 PM   #2
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Re: Car Borrowing and Registration Questions

I think for the most part you'll be fine. For all intents and purposes you're "borrowing" the car -even if its for a long-term period- the car's "owner" is in another state, sure, but it's not YOURS. And since it's not yours you can't register it in another state and the car's owner can't register it in a non-residence state.

The "most" trouble I think you'd get in is if the police or someone notice a non-state car parked in the same place for a long period of time. (Be it your driveway or apartment parking lot, whatever type of residence you live in.) Then you might get a ticket in which case you go to the traffic court, explain that it's not your car and you're borrowing it from out-of-state owners. Either the ticket will be dismissed or you'll pay an annoying fine, more likely the former.

To cover all of your bases in this regard, I might suggest getting a notarized letter from the car's owner explaining the situation that you can show the police should you have any trouble.

But, largely, you'll be fine. I know a guy who kept his car registered in a neighboring state under his parents' address because the personal-property taxes were lower over there. He lived on this side of the state for several years on these out-of-state plates for years without any problems.

I know another guy who drove on expired tags for almost six months before getting them re-newed, no problems. (Aside from fines, late fees, when he finally went to the DMV to renew.)

You should have no trouble at all, Kestra. Good luck with what is going on with your life and hope it gets better for you.
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Old November 29 2012, 03:41 PM   #3
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Re: Car Borrowing and Registration Questions

Kestra wrote: View Post
So for reasons that I'm not going into, I'm looking at borrowing a car from a family member for long-term use. As in a year or more. I'm not sure what all I need to do and I've been searching online but I'm a bit overwhelmed and was wondering if anyone could help.

As far as insurance goes, I'm covered to drive the car for a month on his policy and I'll be getting my own. I'm not sure about registration and all though. The car's owner is in IL and I'm in CA. Does the car need to be registered here?

I don't know the first thing about this so would really appreciate help!
It should be registered to the owner in the state where they live.

As for insurance, I don't think having a policy on a car you don't have an insurable interest in is valid. If you were leasing the car, financing it, or owned it outright, that would be an insurable interest. But you are only borrowing it, which means you have no insurable interest--only the owner does. The owner would have to obtain a policy that covers additional drivers. I'm not sure which state you would need to do it in, though. Most likely the state in which it will primarily be driven. A national insurer like Geico or esurance or AllState would probably be fine for that. Note that I'm only talking about insuring the car. If all you want is liability coverage, then that can be in your name and it doesn't matter who the owner is, since you aren't wanting a payout for the car itself.

I know about this because I had an insurance agent explain it to me once, because I had a similar situation with a borrowed vehicle.
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Old November 29 2012, 03:52 PM   #4
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Re: Car Borrowing and Registration Questions

Trekker4747 wrote: View Post

The "most" trouble I think you'd get in is if the police or someone notice a non-state car parked in the same place for a long period of time. (Be it your driveway or apartment parking lot, whatever type of residence you live in.) Then you might get a ticket in which case you go to the traffic court, explain that it's not your car and you're borrowing it from out-of-state owners. Either the ticket will be dismissed or you'll pay an annoying fine, more likely the former.
Not if she's close to a college. I got the impression the Bay Area has a good number of universities and colleges when I was looking into a teaching job over there, last spring.
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Old November 29 2012, 10:55 PM   #5
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Re: Car Borrowing and Registration Questions

Thanks guys. I talked to someone at the DMV today and they told me that the car needs to be registered out here in the owner's name. Which seems slightly problematic, but I can figure that out. I'm going to talk to a few insurance agents too who may have had to deal with this situation. Most of the things I have found online don't really address my situation. They assume that the non-resident owner will eventually become a resident, which isn't going to happen here.
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Old November 29 2012, 11:35 PM   #6
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Re: Car Borrowing and Registration Questions

Could you set up some sort of a lease with the owner? Some kind of situation where you pay them a small lease fee that is basically nothing, but makes it official so that you can register and insure it in your name? I really know nothing about laws regarding that, so maybe that's a really stupid idea, but then again maybe not.
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Old November 30 2012, 12:00 AM   #7
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Re: Car Borrowing and Registration Questions

That's not feasible under my current circumstances, but I do appreciate the thought!
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Old November 30 2012, 12:08 AM   #8
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Re: Car Borrowing and Registration Questions

Well, someone above DID play the "college student" card, which makes sense. Out-of-state (or even out of county) college students don't re-register their cars in the college town and then back again in the summer. I think on the whole you'll be fine, Kestra, without re-registering the car. Again, you're not the owner just the person who happens to be driving it.

It's also "only illegal if you caught" and handed an annoying fine.
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