Having a hard time finding your dream car locally? You are not alone. The vehicle shortages across the country have made buying a new vehicle challenging. Because of lower inventory, used vehicle prices are rising due to the heavy competition for supply; adding to the bottom line of both new and used vehicles. Many who are in need of a new vehicle are looking beyond borders for a deal. Purchasing an out-of-province vehicle might cause additional stress, require additional paperwork, or result in some added questions or concerns. If buying a car in your own province is not a possibility, read on for some tips on purchasing an out-of-province vehicle in Ontario.

Can I buy a car out-of-province?

Yes, you can! Whether through a dealership or a private sale, you can buy a car from any province in Canada. However, going this route can bring along a lot of extras – extra paperwork, extra research, extra time and extra cost. It’s also important to be aware of the regulations in each province, as they’re all different.

Register an out-of-province vehicle in Ontario

When you visit any ServiceOntario office, be sure to have the following paperwork on hand. Once you have presented these documents, you will be provided with a vehicle registration document, as well as an Ontario licence plate. In Ontario, privately-owned vehicles no longer need a licence plate sticker based on your date of birth.

  • You will need to transfer your driver’s licence to one issued in Ontario.
  • You must purchase an Ontario auto insurance policy for your vehicle. You need to also be able to provide proof of car insurance coverage when asked.
  • To register your vehicle in Ontario, you must have proof that you own the vehicle. This can include registration documents from your previous province or a bill of sale.
  • Any vehicle coming to Ontario from another country or province must obtain a Safety Standard Certificate which confirms that it meets all provincial safety and pollution requirements.

New vehicle requirements

When buying a new car, the plates, registration and sales taxes will need to be paid in the province that you live in, regardless of the province where you buy the car. Typically, you’ll need to have the car insured before any of the above can happen. All the paperwork is to be completed in the province listed on your driver’s licence.

Be clear with the seller

 If it’s a dealership, make sure they’re properly set up to carry out interprovincial transactions. The type of service you receive will vary among dealerships – some will track down and obtain a new vehicle for you, others will not. Trading amongst dealerships in different provinces also varies, based upon the make, model and provinces involved. If you’re considering buying from another province, be sure to ask about specifics pertaining to your specific situation and locale. With a little research, you may encounter dealerships that have a reputation for being specialists in serving out-of-province shoppers, like yourself. If you opt for a private sale, ensure that the seller is open to selling their car out-of-province.

Verifying the vehicle

Before you sign anything, get a full vehicle history report to check for things like accident history, money owed on the vehicle (if any) and unfixed safety recalls. This is especially important if you’re buying from a private seller. It’s also a good idea to thoroughly inspect the interior and exterior of the car, and get as many photos and videos as possible. It’s also a recommendation that you get a thorough mechanical inspection, including a safety certification from a licensed and trusted mechanic. Remember, there may be some out-of-province inspections required, so again, check with the VRA where you are and where you’re buying from. Why? Because inspection thresholds may vary from province to province.

Have your paperwork in order

Before you even think about signing on the dotted line, you will need to contact your Vehicle Registration Authority (VRA). They can help ensure you have all of the information and documents you need to complete the purchase. If you buy a new vehicle from a province you don’t live in, you’ll likely have to provide some additional information as part of the process of registering in your province. Each province is different; however, you will most likely need to show the following:

  • Proof of insurance
  • An out-of-province ownership or title
  • A complete bill of sale

Unfortunately, there is no standard rule or regulation for registering out-of-province vehicles. Make sure to check with ServiceOntario to ensure your bases are covered!

Important: If buying private, check the seller’s ownership and registration against a government-issued personal ID to make sure they match. Also, look into consumer protection laws to ensure you’re covered in both the province you’re buying it from and bringing it to.

For more information on how to register your out-of-province vehicle, click here.

Insurance & in-transit permit

If you are taking possession of a vehicle in one province and driving it home to another, you may receive an in-transit permit. This document will allow you to take the vehicle home and register it and pay the sales tax due on it. However, be sure to have your insurance in place before you can obtain this permit. You will have to complete the sale of the vehicle before you can get your insurance coverage, as you cannot insure something you do not own. So, follow the below steps to get started:

  • Buy the vehicle
  • Obtain the insurance for it, and finally
  • For yourself, obtain the in-transit permit

Sales tax

For any vehicle that you buy out-of-province, you will need to pay the sales tax relative to the province you live in. This is where choosing a dealer that specializes in out-of-province sales comes in handy, as they will handle this for you. If you buy a car from outside Ontario, you will be responsible for paying the sales tax of that province. Then, you will need to go through a process to get that refund once you return to Ontario, and pay the sales tax here instead.

Pros & cons of purchasing an out-of-province vehicle

Before committing to purchasing a vehicle out-of-province, be sure to carefully consider the pros and cons of the transaction. Buying out-of-province may not be worth the extra effort, time, energy, and costs to re-register the vehicle and refund or repay the sales taxes. Be sure that the savings of buying out-of-province doesn’t get eaten up by the cost of travel and lodging to get it home.

On the other hand, if you need to buy a vehicle in a province that you do not live in due to lack of inventory or long wait times in your province, be sure to choose the right dealership. It can make all the difference in terms of making the process a lot smoother. Do your research! 

FAQs about purchasing an out-of-province vehicle

Is there any paperwork when you buy a used car out-of-province?

If you buy a used car from another province, there may be further work required, including the need to have the vehicle inspected and certified as per the safety standards in your own province.

Will I have to pay shipping costs?

If a local dealer obtains a vehicle on your behalf from an out-of-province dealer, they’ll incur vehicle shipping costs. These will likely be given to you to pay.

Are there any other fees I should know about?

Once you buy an out-of-province vehicle, you’ll also have to transfer the title over to the province you live in. Usually, this has to happen within one to four weeks of your purchase. However, ensure you check the specifics for your province, as well as additional fees and costs.

If you’re looking to purchase an out-of-province vehicle, contact isure today to set up a new auto insurance policy!

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