In Texas, you don’t need a license to buy or register a car, but you will need to have insurance. However, though getting insurance without a license (regardless of what state you live in) can be difficult, it is absolutely possible. We put together answers for common questions about buying and insuring a vehicle without a license in Texas.
Can I buy a car without a license in Texas?
Absolutely, although you will not be able to test drive it or drive it off the lot once you have made the purchase. According to the Texas DMV, there is no law that says you must have a valid driver’s license to buy a car. In almost all cases, you will need some form of government issued ID to purchase a vehicle, and to title or register the car.
There are a number of reasons a person may want to buy a vehicle without a valid driver’s license. Here are just a few:
- You are disabled and need a car for your caregiver to drive
- You own a business and need a vehicle for licensed employees to drive
- You have an underage child or who has a license but can’t legally finance a vehicle
- You have a driver that will be driving you around in your car
Can you register a car without a license in Texas?
The quick answer is yes. You can register and plate a car in Texas without a driver’s license, according to the Texas DMV. However, in order to register a vehicle, you have to show proof of insurance and that is where it gets a bit sticky.
It is often possible to get an insurance policy without a driver’s license, but in most cases, you will have to exclude yourself as a driver and provide personal information on the person (or persons) who will be driving the vehicle.
Do you have to have a valid driver’s license in order to get car insurance in Texas?
You aren’t required to have a license to register a car, but getting insurance can be a bit more difficult.
Without a driving record it is difficult to establish a premium for a policy as that is a major consideration when calculating your rates.
In most cases you will need to exclude yourself as a driver and provide the personal information for the person who will actually be driving the car.
Here are just a couple of the more common reasons you may need car insurance coverage even if you don’t have a license:
- Underage driver in the house: Most insurance companies will not let a driver under age 18 purchase insurance coverage on their own. This is due to the fact that most states do not let minors legally enter into a contract. If you have a teen driver in the house, you still need insurance coverage regardless of whether you drive or not.
- Personal driver or caregiver: If you have lost your license or can no longer drive due to health reasons, you may need a personal driver. If you have a driver and he or she is using your car, you will need that car to have insurance coverage.
When purchasing an insurance policy without a license, you will need to provide the name and driver’s license number of any person who will be driving your vehicle on a regular basis. This will ensure that you are listed on the policy for a vehicle that you own, but you will not be a driver on the policy.
The primary driver on your insurance policy can be anyone that is licensed and will be driving your vehicle on a regular basis. This includes teen drivers, your spouse, even a roommate or caretaker. Your premium will be based on the driving record of your primary driver (and any other listed drivers) so make sure the drivers listed have a good driving record to help keep your premium affordable.
You may need to list yourself as an excluded driver on the policy. When you are an excluded driver this means that if you end up behind the wheel of your car, or any car, you will have zero coverage. You will be solely responsible for the cost of any damage you do to your car as well as other people and their vehicles if you drive a car as an excluded driver.
Not all insurers are willing to exclude the owner from their own policy so you may need to shop around for the right coverage. It’s best to call a number of insurance companies, explain your situation and see what they are able to do for you in regard to putting an insurance policy in place without a driver’s license.
Can I register a car in Texas with an out of state license?
If you just moved to Texas and still have a valid out-of-state license, you should be able to register and insure your car in Texas. An insurance company needs a valid U.S. driver’s license to check your driving history and generate an insurance rate.
While the answer to the question “do you need a Texas driver’s license to register a car,” is no, you will need to get a Lone State license if you are moving into the state. New residents are required to get a Texas driver’s license within 90 days of moving to Texas.
If you have just moved to Texas, you need to be aware that new residents are required to do the following within 30 days of moving to Texas:
- Get a vehicle inspection
- Register and title their vehicle
- New residents must have their vehicles pass inspection before having it registered and titled
After having it inspected, owners should take the following to their county tax office:
- Inspection certification
- Proof of liability insurance
- The vehicle’s odometer reading if it is less than 10 years old
- An original out-of-state title, proof of registration, proof of sales tax payment or current foreign/military ownership document
You also need to bring a completed Form VTR 130-U, and the following fees:
- Registration fee
- Title application fee of $28 or $33, depending on the county
- New resident tax of $90
- Additional fees may also be due at the time of registration.
For more information, contact your Texas county tax office. For information about the new resident tax, contact the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. Active duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces and non-resident, full-time students attending a Texas college or university aren’t required to title or register their vehicles in Texas.