'Tis The Season for Giving! Are you thinking of giving a new car as a gift to someone you love this Christmas?
Not many gifts under the tree can trump one sitting out in the driveway. You might be surprising your child with a new car this month, showing your spouse how much you care, or helping a person in need of transportation. Whatever the reason, the process is relatively simple. In most cases, you can just purchase the vehicle and register it in whoever’s name. Then you can present the car to the lucky loved one and you’re a Christmas saint!
If you are buying a car for someone whom you will not share ownership with, such as a parent, significant other, employee, et al., the process is not so straightforward but still very doable. Here are a few ideas and tips you need to know as you consider buying someone the ultimate Christmas gift:
- Understand the details. Car ownership is a lot of responsibility. Can the gifted handle the responsibility of car ownership? Make sure a car is something they really want?
- Choose the right car. You wouldn’t want to go through the entire process of purchasing a new vehicle and then find out you surprised someone with the wrong car. Find out what type, size and color of the vehicle the person wants or needs. A 2-seater sports car will not work for a family of 6 people.
- Know the actual cost. Costs can add up quickly so make sure you have factored in ownership costs and the person receiving your gift can afford to maintain it. Costs to consider are registration & title fees, maintenance costs, such as repairs, replacements costs, and routine services, insurance, sales tax, and gift taxes.
- Let the car dealer in on the "Know”. The dealer can help ensure you complete the proper paperwork before the surprise, including financing, titling, and registration. Try to find a dealer who has done a surprise car present before who can help you carry out the surprise. Most will be thrilled to be in on the surprise and may even hold the car for you until the big day.
- Determine who will own the car. Your dealer can help determine which names need to be listed on the registration and title. In order to accept legal liability for the new car, the new owner must sign DMV papers after they catch their breath. The dealer can draft all the paperwork for the new owner to sign once they receive the car.
- How will you pay for the car? A cash transaction is simple and straightforward. You just need to register the car in whoever’s name you want. When it comes to financing a vehicle, you must register the car in either your name solely or as a co-owner with the recipient. You can’t take out a car loan in one name if the vehicle title is in someone else’s name, nor can you take out a loan for another person, unless you are a co-signer. It costs a lot less to give a lease rather than give an entire car as a gift. You may qualify for a lease deal with a low monthly payment after you pay a lease drive-off fee. Ask your dealer for details on lease deals and requirements.
- Make sure the car is insured. Make sure the car is adequately insured and that future premiums are paid by the responsible party. You may want to put your name on the policy either as the sole insured party or as an additional insured party who shares liability. Consult an agent or your state’s Department of Insurance before purchasing the vehicle as car insurance laws vary by state.
- Do you need to order in advance? The dealer may not have your specific car on his lot, so make sure you allow yourself enough time in case you need to order it. The more customized a car is, the longer it could take to arrive so make sure you factor that as well as other delays in delivery so your surprise goes just as you plan it.