We’ve decided to stay in the UK for a few months for a few reasons – to spend some ‘quality time’ growing our digital business, theres some awesome places to see, we have a few friends/family we want to catchup with and apart from about 30 days we’re booked up with housesitting jobs until August!
With all that said we decide to buy a cheap car to get around in – transport isn’t that cheap here and when you multiply every ticket by 5, its even more expensive, we can be available for more house sits (in the country) and we now have the freedom to explore 🙂
There seemed no reason to not get a car. So we did, in fact we found a car almost exactly like the one we left in Australia – a Toyota Tarago (here its called a Previa), only difference is its one year old, has a sunroof and its red! As we’re very familiar with this model we felt comfortable that we could handle any mishaps etc.
We got the car very cheap – turns out that was a good thing!
I quickly found out my image of backpackers coming to the UK and buying an old combi/camper to drive around in before selling on their return home, was almost impossible. We could buy a car just fine (which we did from ebay), but being able to legally drive it on the roads was another thing completely – I have no idea how backpackers ever manage it!
These are the steps you’ll need to go through once you have purchased a car in the UK as a non-resident.
1 – Make sure you have an address in the UK that will collect mail for you (a relative maybe?)
2 – Once you buy, you must register the car in your name – this can be done here https://www.gov.uk/vehicle-registration/overview or in the postoffice – you will need the piece of paper (V5C/2) the previous owner gives you. The difference in the UK from Australia is that the registration stays with the person and not the car. So the person who owned our car can get a refund of what ever registration tax is left. Oh and its called vehicle tax. You can pay monthly if you have a British account (direct debit) or 6/12 monthly with a credit card. We paid $250 for 6 months vehicle tax.
3 – Unlike Australia the vehicle tax doesn’t include third party and by law you must have your car insured to be on the road! Ok, so I spent a whole day trying to find 6 months worth of insurance that wasn’t going to cost $2000.. Not easy. Most insurance companies in UK won’t insure you if you’re not a resident and don’t have a British drivers licence. Eventually we found a few and decided upon one – https://www.hertsinsurance.com/ – they gave us 3rd party (wouldn’t give us comprehensive) for $796 for 6 months.
The vehicle registration tax & insurance have cost us more than the car …
We did discuss selling the car, but after we did the sums and factored in being able to sell it, we should still be ahead of ‘not having our own transport’, plus we have more freedom!
Hope thats helped – if you’re looking to buy a car in the UK and you’re not a resident, look into ‘all the costs’ before you jump, it might just be better for you to hire a car or use public transport!
Love to hear any experiences you’ve had buying cars in foreign places?
P.S. Hint – buy a car with a long MOT so you don’t have to get it put over the pits before you leave.
P.P.S. Simon is trying to convince us to drive it pack to Australia, telling us what an amazing adventure that would be (with the added advantage of him not needing to fly!).. Do you think we should drive the red people mover back to Australia???
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