Can You Buy A Car Without A License?

If you don’t have a driver’s license, you might wonder if you can buy a car. Fortunately, you can—however, you could have trouble registering and insuring the vehicle afterward.

Here’s what you should know about buying a car without a license.

Do You Need a License To Buy a Car?

Yes—as long as you have the money to cover the purchase along with a valid, government-issued ID, you can legally buy a car without a driver’s license.

Keep in mind that you won’t be able to legally drive it without both a license and insurance, though. There are several situations where buying a car could still be worth it, even if you don’t have a license such as if you:

  • Are giving the car to someone else
  • Are learning to drive and will be getting a license in the future
  • Have hired a driver for transportation
  • Own a business and need a car for employees

What To Consider Before Buying a Car Without a License

While you might be able to get a car without a license, there are a few things to consider first.


Each state as well as the District of Columbia has car registration requirements. If you’re buying a vehicle from a dealer, they will submit title and registration documents to your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and provide a temporary registration in the meantime.

In order to register your car, most states require you to show proof of insurance and a photo ID—but not necessarily a driver’s license. You’ll only need a license or a learner’s permit if you plan to drive your new car. Keep in mind that requirements vary by state, so be sure to check with your local DMV.


All states require registered vehicles to be insured, regardless of if you register the car yourself or a dealer does so on your behalf. If you don’t have a license, getting an auto insurance policy could be difficult—and expensive, as not having a license can make you look riskier to insurers.

In this situation, it could be a good idea to team up with an independent agent who can help you compare quotes from various car insurance companies that work with owners who don’t have licenses.

The type of policy you’ll want is typically known as a non-owner policy, which is offered by most major insurance companies. Note that you’ll typically have to provide the driver’s license information of who will actually be operating the vehicle you want to insure.


If you want to take out a car loan to purchase a vehicle, you’ll need to provide government-issued photo identification. However, this doesn’t need to be a driver’s license.

How to Buy a Car Without a License

If you’re ready to buy a car without a license, follow these steps:

  1. Know who will operate the vehicle. If you don’t have a driver’s license, you can’t operate or test drive a motor vehicle, and you won’t be able to legally drive it out of the parking lot. So decide beforehand who will be driving the car.
  2. Apply for a car loan. If you’ll be taking out a loan to finance the vehicle, be sure to shop around and compare your options from as many lenders as possible to find a good deal. Many lenders allow you to get preapproved and see your personalized interest rates with only a soft credit check that won’t hurt your credit. Keep in mind that you’ll typically need good credit (or a creditworthy co-signer), verifiable income and a low debt-to-income (DTI) ratio to get approved for an auto loan.
  3. Take out an insurance policy. If you’re purchasing from a dealer, you’ll need to provide proof of car insurance before you can complete your purchase. This will also be required to register the car. Remember that you’ll need to give the driver’s license information of the person who will be operating the vehicle to the insurance agent—be sure to choose someone with a good driving record to keep your costs as low as possible.
  4. Complete your purchase. Once you have your financing and insurance in order, you’re ready to buy your car. If you’re working with a dealer, it’s a good idea to let them know that you’re purchasing the vehicle without a license so they can be prepared. Also remember to bring a licensed friend or relative with you to drive it off the lot.
  5. Register the vehicle. If you buy the car from a dealer, they will submit registration and title forms to the DMV. But if you purchase from a private party, you’ll need to visit your local DMV to complete the required paperwork. Remember to bring a photo ID along with proof of insurance.

Alternatives to Buying a Car Without a License

If you don’t have a driver’s license, you might still be able to buy a car—but this might not be the best choice for your situation. Here are some alternatives to consider:

  • Use a rideshare service or public transportation. If you need to get around town but can’t drive a car, using a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft could be a good option. Paying for these rides can add up, though, so it could be a good idea to rely on cheaper public transportation if it’s available in your area.
  • Ride a bike. This can be one of the least expensive ways to get where you want.
  • Get your license. The best option if you want to legally drive a car could be simply getting your license by going through the training and passing the driving test. If you previously held a license that was revoked or suspended, you might be able to have it reinstated by taking any required classes (such as a defensive driving program), paying the fees and getting insurance.

More From Advisor

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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