Buying A Car In Florida From Out Of State? Everything You Need To Know

If you’re looking to buy a car while living in or visiting Florida, but the vehicle itself is located out of state, you may be wondering how that process works. Can you really complete an out of state Florida car purchase and registration? The quick answer is yes, you can buy a car from another state and register it in Florida. But there are some steps you need to take to make it legal and hassle-free.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk through the entire process of buying an out of state car and bringing it back to Florida. You’ll learn the paperwork you need, the titling and registration process, as well as costs, insurance and other requirements for completing the purchase smoothly.

Title and Registration Paperwork

When buying a car in Florida from out of state, there are important title and registration paperwork that you need to be aware of. This is to ensure that the car is properly registered in your name and that you have all the necessary documentation.

Out of State Title Transfer

One of the first steps you need to take when buying a car from out of state is to transfer the title to your name. This process involves submitting the necessary paperwork to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV).

You will need to provide the out of state title, a completed application for title transfer, and pay the required fees.

Pro tip: Before submitting the paperwork, make sure to check the DHSMV website for any specific requirements or additional documentation needed for out of state title transfers. It’s always better to be prepared!

VIN Verification Form

Another important aspect of buying a car from out of state is obtaining a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) verification form. This form verifies that the VIN on the car matches the VIN on the title and is required for the title transfer process.

You can obtain this form by visiting a DHSMV office or by having a licensed Florida car dealer or a Florida notary public complete it for you.

Did you know? The VIN verification form is essential to ensure the car you are buying is not stolen or salvaged. It provides an added layer of security and peace of mind for buyers.

Registering the Car in Florida

Getting a Florida Title

One of the first steps in registering your out-of-state car in Florida is to obtain a Florida title. To do this, you will need to visit your local Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) office.

Make sure to bring the necessary documents, including your out-of-state title, proof of Florida insurance, and proof of identity.

The DHSMV will verify the information on your out-of-state title and issue you a Florida title for your car. This process may involve paying a fee and providing additional documentation, such as a bill of sale or an odometer reading.

Once you have obtained the Florida title, you can move forward with registering your car.

Completing FL Registration

After obtaining the Florida title, the next step is to complete the registration process. You will need to bring the following documents to the DHSMV office:

  • Proof of Florida insurance
  • Proof of identity
  • Florida title
  • Out-of-state registration
  • Vehicle identification number (VIN) verification
  • Payment for registration fees

During the registration process, the DHSMV will issue you a Florida license plate and registration sticker. It’s important to note that Florida requires all vehicles to have a license plate on the front and back of the vehicle.

Once you have completed the registration process, you will be provided with a registration certificate and a set of license plates. It’s important to keep these documents in your car at all times, as they serve as proof of your registration.

For more detailed information on registering a car in Florida, you can visit the official Florida DHSMV website:

Insurance Requirements

When buying a car in Florida from out of state, it is important to understand the insurance requirements. Florida law mandates that all drivers carry auto insurance coverage to protect themselves and others on the road. Here are the key things you need to know:

Proof of Insurance Needed

Before you can register your out-of-state car in Florida, you will need to provide proof of insurance. This proof typically comes in the form of an insurance card or a declaration page from your insurance company.

It is important to have this documentation readily available when you go to the DMV to register your vehicle.

💡 Pro Tip: If you are purchasing a car from a dealership, they will often help you with the necessary paperwork and guide you through the insurance requirements. Don’t hesitate to ask for their assistance.

Meeting Minimum Coverage

Florida has specific minimum coverage requirements that you must meet to legally drive your car in the state. These requirements include:

  • Bodily Injury Liability: $10,000 per person and $20,000 per accident
  • Property Damage Liability: $10,000 per accident
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP): $10,000

💡 Did You Know? Florida is a no-fault insurance state, which means that regardless of who is at fault in an accident, each driver’s insurance company is responsible for covering their own medical expenses and damages.

It is important to note that these are just the minimum coverage requirements. Depending on your personal circumstances and preferences, you may want to consider purchasing additional coverage for better protection.

🔍 Resource: For more information on Florida’s insurance requirements, you can visit the official website of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles:

Costs and Fees to Expect

Title and Registration Fees

When buying a car in Florida from out of state, it’s important to be aware of the costs and fees associated with title and registration. Florida charges a fee for both the transfer of title and the initial registration of the vehicle.

The exact amount varies depending on the weight of the vehicle and the type of license plate you choose. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles provides a fee calculator on their website, which can give you an estimate of the total costs involved.

In addition to the title and registration fees, you may also need to pay a fee for a new license plate if your out-of-state vehicle does not have a valid Florida license plate. This fee can vary depending on the type of vehicle and the county where you reside.

It’s always a good idea to check with your local county tax collector’s office for specific information on fees.

Sales Tax

Another cost to consider when buying a car in Florida from out of state is the sales tax. Florida has a state sales tax rate of 6%, which applies to the purchase price of the vehicle. However, some counties in Florida also impose an additional local sales tax, which can vary from 0.5% to 2.5%.

This means that the total sales tax you’ll pay can range from 6.5% to 8.5% depending on the county where you reside.

It’s important to note that if you’ve already paid sales tax on the vehicle in your home state, you may be eligible for a credit or exemption when registering the vehicle in Florida. This can help offset the cost of the sales tax.

Be sure to check with the Florida Department of Revenue for more information on how to claim this credit or exemption.

For more detailed information on costs and fees associated with buying a car in Florida from out of state, you can visit the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles website.

Tips for a Seamless Out of State Purchase

Review Florida Import Laws

When buying a car in Florida from out of state, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with the state’s import laws. Each state may have different regulations regarding vehicle registration, taxes, and inspections.

By reviewing Florida’s import laws beforehand, you can ensure that you meet all the necessary requirements and avoid any potential issues.

One authoritative website to consult for information on Florida import laws is the official website of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles ( Here, you can find detailed information on the necessary documentation, fees, and procedures for registering an out-of-state vehicle in Florida.

Consider Purchasing from a Dealer

When buying a car from out of state, it is generally recommended to consider purchasing from a reputable dealer. Buying from a dealer offers several advantages, such as a wider selection of vehicles, reliable vehicle history reports, and the opportunity to negotiate the price.

Furthermore, dealers are often well-versed in out-of-state transactions and can guide you through the process, ensuring that all necessary paperwork is completed correctly. They can also help arrange transportation or recommend trustworthy shipping companies if you are unable to pick up the vehicle yourself.

Before finalizing your purchase, it is always a good idea to read reviews and research the dealer’s reputation. Websites like (Better Business Bureau) and can provide valuable insights from other customers and help you make an informed decision.


While buying a car out of state introduces some extra steps, it opens up more options to find the perfect vehicle. By knowing the paperwork, processes and costs ahead of time, you can make your cross-state Florida car purchase smooth and headache-free. Follow our guide, meet all Florida legal requirements, and you’ll be cruising around in your new out of state car in no time.

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