Marissa Hayes is a technical editor and contributing writer. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history, and she was the editor of the literary magazine, The Bluestone Review.

Full Bio →

Written by

Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com.

Full Bio →

Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Car Insurance Agent Daniel Walker

UPDATED: Mar 17, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We partner with top insurance providers. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

The Short of It

  • Buying a car without a driver’s license is possible, but you’ll have to jump through some hoops to make it happen
  • There are several reasons you might need to purchase a vehicle without a license
  • You’ll also need to register the car in someone else’s name if you’re unlicensed

In the normal order of things in the world of driving, you get a permit first, then you get a driver’s license, and then you buy a car. But there are some situations when you might want to purchase a car and skip those first two steps. So, is it possible to buy a car without having a driver’s license? In short, yes, you can; but there’s not much you’re going to be able to do with the car besides sit in it. Legally, you cannot drive if you don’t have a license and you don’t have insurance coverage.

What are reasons to buy a car without a license?

While these situations are uncommon, there are some reasons where someone might purchase a car and not have their driver’s license. It’s important to know what to do in these scenarios, as there may or may not be requirements to do so.

  • Buying the vehicle as a gift: You can purchase a car even if you don’t have a license if you are giving it as a gift to someone else who has their driver’s license. You’ll just need to make sure to get the car titled in that person’s name.
  • Buying a work car for employees to drive: Some businesses provide employees with a company car, and a license is not necessary to purchase one since the employee will be the one that drives it.
  • Buying a car for a personal driver: If you are wealthy enough, you might have a car that you own that is driven by a personal driver or chauffeur. As long as they have a license, you don’t have to.
  • Providing a car for a caregiver: You might have a relative that needs someone to look after them and do things like pick up groceries or drive them to appointments. Sometimes they don’t have a car of their own and you’ll have to provide one. You don’t need to be licensed, but they do in order to operate the vehicle.
  • Car collection: Another popular reason to own a car without being licensed to drive is that you collect cars. Some collectors don’t drive the cars in their collections, so you wouldn’t need a license unless you plan on cruising around town.

Just be sure to remember that many people aren’t able to outright buy a car without financial assistance. Most dealerships won’t offer financing to someone without a license for a variety of reasons.

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can you get car insurance without a driver’s license?

Here’s the tricky part when it comes to insuring a car that you own when you don’t have a license. Plus, if you can’t legally drive a car, why would you pay for insurance for the car to just sit around and collect dust all day? Well, there may be someone else that will be driving the vehicle. Maybe the driver is a minor who can’t afford their own insurance yet, so you foot the bill.

Insurance companies don’t really like the thought of having an unlicensed driver purchase insurance, and they usually request a driver’s license number when applying for a policy. But you can get around this by using a family member’s license number and listing them as the primary driver. That way you’re on the policy, but you still don’t have any driving coverage.

Car insurance giants like State Farm and GEICO won’t create a policy for an unlicensed driver, so this is your best bet if you want to proceed and attempt to get the insurance policy in your name.

Can you register a car with no license?

Another snag you may hit when buying a car without a license is registering the vehicle with DMV. To register a car, the DMV requires you to show valid proof of driver’s license and insurance policy. Without these, you’ll have to have the car registered in another person’s name who has both of the required documentation. This means the two of you will technically share ownership of the car.

Can you purchase a vehicle with a learner’s permit?

Even if you don’t have a driver’s license, a learner’s permit is definitely a step in the right direction. Insurance companies are more likely to insure drivers with a permit than a driver without anything at all, but these policies can be strict and expensive. You’ll also need to have a legal driver in the passenger seat at all times as it’s required by law in the United States. And you can still test drive a car with a learner’s permit, which is important when picking the perfect car for you.