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Buying a vehicle out of province

Learn about the 7 steps to buying a car out of province and the types of costs involved.

After a long search, you’ve finally found the perfect car! There’s just one problem – it’s in a different province. Follow our step-by-step guide to figure out what you’ll need to do when buying a vehicle out of province and getting it back to where you live.

Can I buy a vehicle out of province?

You can buy a vehicle out of province, but it won’t be as simple as buying one in your province of residence. You’ll need to travel to inspect the vehicle or arrange to have it inspected by a third party. You’ll also need to factor in the process of transporting your vehicle back home as well as the costs of transferring the title and registration.

It’s also important to be aware of what it takes to register an out-of-province vehicle where you live (since regulations are different for each province). Different provinces will require you to pay different taxes and they may also require you to undergo emissions testing or a vehicle inspection prior to registration.

The 7 steps for buying a vehicle out of province

Click to expand the sections below to find out more about the process for buying a car out of province:

Representative example: Buying a car out of province as an Ontario resident

Corey lives in Ottawa, Ontario, but wants to purchase a vehicle in Gatineau, Quebec (just across the river). After doing some research, he finds a 2013 Kia Forte that he’s interested in through a private sale. He heads to Gatineau to inspect the vehicle and checks the VIN and the accident history to make sure the car is in good shape. He also schedules a third-party inspection of the car, which comes back clean.

When he’s satisfied, he applies for financing from an online lender and is approved for $6,500 (the price of the vehicle). He pays for the vehicle in cash and goes with the current owner to an insurance agency in Gatineau. The agency provides temporary one-day insurance and transfers the registration into Corey’s name. Corey then drives the vehicle back to Ottawa and begins the process of registering and insuring it in Ontario.

Overall costs for Corey to purchase the vehicle

The costs below are a representative sample of what Corey might have to pay for buying a car out of province in Ontario. This sample includes the unique cost of buying a car in another province (temporary registration and insurance) as well as the standard costs of buying a car as an Ontario resident.

  1. Purchasing the vehicle: $6,500 (loan + 6.5% interest)
  2. Getting temporary registration and insurance: $75
  3. Acquiring a safety standards certificate: Costs vary by motor vehicle inspection station, but you may find rates between $80 and $200
  4. Updating or fixing issues with the vehicle: Costs vary and can include anything from needing new tires to getting a windshield crack repaired
  5. Vehicle registration and licence plate in Ottawa: $59
  6. Paying HST on vehicle price: $845
  7. Insurance in Ottawa: $1,200 to $1,800 for one year

Sales tax when buying a car out of province as an Ontario resident

Whether you buy a new or used car that’s outside Ontario, 13% HST will apply to your purchase. If you buy a used car from a private seller in another province, you don’t pay HST to the seller, but you do pay it when you register as the new owner of the vehicle. When you buy a new or used car at a dealership that’s in another province, talk to the sales rep to clarify whether Ontario’s HST has been incorporated into the purchase price. Some dealers will arrange this, while others may expect you to cover the difference yourself.

What to consider when buying a car in another province

Consider this list of expenses if you’re thinking of buying a car in another province. This list includes costs you would incur even if you buy a car within your province.

  • Purchasing the vehicle. You may be able to pay for your vehicle outright to save money on interest. If you can’t do this, you should expect to factor in between 6% and 30% interest on the money you borrow to buy your out-of-province car. The rates you get will depend on factors like your credit score and the car you’re interested in.
  • Getting temporary insurance and registration. If you intend to drive your vehicle home, you’ll need to get it temporarily insured and registered for it to be legal to drive. This can cost anywhere from $50 to $300, depending on where you buy the car and how long it takes you to get it home.
  • Transporting your new car home. Depending on where you intend to buy your vehicle, you’ll need to pick it up or have it shipped to your province of residence. These costs can be minor or major, based on the distance you need to travel. You’ll usually pay a very high price to ship your vehicle home.
  • Getting a safety inspection. You could end up paying a few hundred dollars to get a safety inspection on your vehicle as a requirement for bringing it in from out of province. You may also have to pay for any repairs that are required before the inspector is willing to pass your vehicle so you can get it registered.
  • Registering and insuring your vehicle. Registering and insuring your vehicle in your province of residence can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. You’ll often pay between $60 and $150 to register your vehicle. You’ll then have to pay for a year of insurance upfront (which usually costs over $1,000).
  • Paying for GST/HST. You’ll have to pay a sales tax of between 5% and 13% on any vehicle you register from another province. This can add hundreds or thousands of dollars to your overall bill, so you should be sure you have the money set aside to cover your taxes.

How much tax do I have to pay on a vehicle purchased out of province?

You may have to pay HST or GST taxes in your home province after buying a car in another province. You should check with the registration office in your home province to find out more about how much this will cost and whether you may be eligible for an exemption. Car sales tax rates may differ depending on whether you’re buying from a dealership or private seller.

You can use the table below as a guide when budgeting for the car sales tax you’ll have to pay to register a vehicle bought in a different province.

Province or territoryCar sales tax rate
Alberta0 – 5%
British Columbia7 – 20%
Manitoba7 – 12%
New Brunswick15%
Newfoundland and Labrador15%
Northwest Territories0 – 5%
Nova Scotia15%
Nunavut0 – 5%
Ontario13%
Prince Edward Island15%
Quebec9.975 – 14.975%
Saskatchewan6 – 11%
Yukon0 – 5%

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Bottom line

You should try to crunch the numbers to see if buying a car out of province makes good financial sense for you. If you’re saving a significant amount of money on the vehicle or it has special features (such as low mileage or it’s a rare vehicle), then it could make sense to buy it in another province. You’ll just need to be prepared to spend a little bit more to get it home.

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