Whether or not you can buy a car when you don't have a driver’s license depends on a number of factors. For the most part, you shouldn’t run into any issues – unless you plan on financing it or registering the car. Even though you shouldn't run into any issues, every situation is unique, and it generally helps to have a valid driver's license if you plan on buying a vehicle.
Can You Finance a Car Without a Driver's License?
Buying a vehicle and financing one are two different things. As we mentioned before, you can buy a car without a driver’s license, some lenders even accept a valid state ID. If you plan on paying in cash, you don’t need a driver’s license to purchase a vehicle as long as you're over the age of 18. In fact, you can even buy a car with a learner’s permit. But you’re going to run into issues with registration and insurance.
To complete the auto financing process, you need to title the vehicle and then get it registered. And this is where you might run into trouble if you don't have a valid driver's license. When it’s time to insure and register it, you’re going to get stuck. You need a valid driver’s license to get full coverage insurance for the car, and, in most states, you can’t register a vehicle or buy license plates without insurance.
If you decide to pay in cash, you could title the car in someone else’s name who does have a driver’s license and they can register it. Keep in mind, though, that the vehicle doesn’t legally belong to you at this point because your name isn’t on the title, and, until you get a driver’s license, you can’t legally drive it on public roads.
What if My License is Suspended?
A common question borrowers often ask is how having a suspended license affects buying a vehicle. It’s possible to finance a car with a suspended license, but it depends on the state you live in. If you do end up getting approved for financing with a suspended license, be aware that you can’t legally drive until your license is reinstated.
Waiting out the suspension isn’t easy, but it’s worthwhile in the end. Plus, this gives you ample time to check your credit reports and scores, do some vehicle research, plan a budget, and save up for a down payment. You can read up on budgeting tips for an auto loan here.