Buying a Car in France


First of a word, a word to the wise on buying cars advertised over French-focused internet sites: If you see a car that looks like an amazingly good deal – it may be too good to be true, according to a French friend who keeps track of these things. the scam scenario goes soething like this: Need to sell my French car because I can’t use the car now that I’m living in London. The deal is that the car is supposed to be shipped to you – you send a deposit and pay the balance upon receipt of the car – sounds fair, right? Don’t be so sure.

Normally, we lease cars (which is the hassle-free) way to do things if you’re staying in France for a few months at a time. Now the few months each year have added up so we decided to buy our leased car outright – which you can do at a fairly good price. Because you’re basically buying a brand new car as a second-hand car. The car’s only had one owner – so if you’ve treated the car nicely for the first few months – then you should be happy with your purchase.

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To receive insurance, you need to go to the prefecture de police, show proof of purchase and address where you hang you’re hat. In order to get a good insurance rate, you’ll need to show past insurance records from your home country for the past 13 years to get a rate called the ‘bonus’ (50% discounted) rate. You can expect to spend between E300 to E360 Euros annually on car insurance. The prefecture will issue you a ‘carte grise’ (like the one you’ve already been using if you ‘re doing a ‘buy/lease’ program. Then you go to any local garage to have your license plates made up on the spot. You will also have to pay a VAT tax which is paid directly to the customs (sometimes the leasing company will handle the payment for you, but it is an additional expense after paying the purchase price that you need to factor into your budget.