A car for my freedom 31.07.2012

During the preparation of this adventure I spent a lot of time to find out how to buy a car and what you have to take care around that topic. Actually this Blog is also meant to answer all the questions I had myself in the first place. While my recherché, unfortunately I just found people reporting about their long ago adventure and so I red phrases like “that must have been like...”, “I think back in the days it was somehow...” or “if I do remember right...” These are not that kind of answers I wanted to use for the preparation of my most important part of this journey. So now here are my experiences from today and with full consciousness.

And it starts with searching. To find a car in Canada is very much comparable to finding a car in Germany. Websites, dealer lists or by walking through the city. In well known IT manor I started my search with several web pages and with this I quickly found a lot of cars in my price range. One special thing here in Montreal is that, to get to the places with the best car offers you need a car. After a one hour trip right through Montreal I finally could have a look at a Volvo 870 and I also made a test drive. Unfortunately this little jewel had almost 470.000 km on its back and this I could hear and see by a closer look. Finally I decided to have a look at a car from a dealer. And there he was! The most stereotype car dealer Hollywood could ever imagine. That reminds me by the way of "A hell of a Movie". Together with Frank, another German I met at work, I inspected the car of my choice and we decided: good stuff. Of cause I did not buy it in the first place. The next day I went back with my French roommate and made a test drive. After a little bargaining round I was the proud owner of the ‘97 Ford Escort LX Wagon. And everybody can tell that this car must have been really convincing in constitution and price to make buy a GREEN Ford.

Now we come to the interesting part of the story. To buy a car is easy to drive it legally is the challenge. Important papers you will need for that are the recipe for the car, your passport with the visa, you’re driving license and here in Montreal nearly $135. Now there are two options to buy a car, from a private person or from a dealer. Both have their own difficulties. If you buy from a private person you have to go to the registration office (SAAQ) together with the owner. Then you will do the transfer and you will receive the little green papers (the admission) and the license plate. If you buy a car from a dealer you will receive a piece of paper that is like a temporary license plate and will be sticked by the dealer at your back window. Furthermore you get the recipe and a big green piece of paper with a barcode which you have to show at the SAAQ. This with the barcode will work because the dealer has to enter the important data like the previous owner, himself and you as the new owner into a central database. After 2 till 4 days you can go to the SAAQ and the clerks there are just going to scan this code and the transfer is almost done. This was of cause not working for me. I had to go to the dealer again to receive the papers from the previous owner. So I nearly made a private person transfer. But then also you will receive your admission and the license plate. Now your car is registered and can be moved and parked in the streets.

But much more important than the registration is the insurance. I found a lot of companies and as high as the diversity of the companies is the diversity of the rates. The rate will be between $35 and $90. This depends on the province, your age, accident history, how many kilometres you plan to drive in a year and the purpose of use. Furthermore you have to choose between two sides and one side insurance. In case of an accident the two sides insurance will pay the damage of your opponent and your own damage. The one side insurance will only pay the damage of your opponent. This will of cause have a great effect to the rate. Generally you can say that insurance contracts will be made on the phone and at its best directly after buying the car before moving it one more meter. You can tell how realistic this is and I first went home with my car. Making the contract will last around 20 minutes and you will need a Canadian address, the numbers from your car admission, any kind of payment data and your driving license number. After that you will be ask a lot of question about you self and what you are planning to do and if you made them understand that you have a working holiday visa they will tell you the price. Now you have to confirm some legal and contract conditions and you will receive the temporary insurance via email. The real one will be sent to you by mail. You can check the prices at the websites of the most companies and even if those calculators do not regard a non Canadian driver the prices are realistic. But comparing some offers is advised because the $35 is possible even for foreigners. I do now posses one side insurance where I pay $36 a month. And if I send them an Accident-free certificate from my German insurance the rate will be reduced to $30 a month. But now you have insurance and you can drive your car without any doubts.

Maybe there is one thing you missed during the whole process. The technical inspection we call TÜV in Germany. This is an easy one. Something like that does not exist. The main advantage of this is that you can easily put a car on the street and you are allowed to drive it without big troubles. But on the other hand a mandatory technical inspection ensures a minimum car security on the streets. Of cause this is not protecting you in case your car decides to break down after 3 weeks. In about 9 months I can tell you if this was an advantage or a disadvantage for me. Hopefully not earlier.

For the fast reader :

- U can buy from a dealer or a private person
- If private you go together to the SAAQ and transfer the car to you
- If dealer you receive a “green transfer paper” and a temporary plate and with that you have to go to the SAAQ
- At the SAAQ you will need your passport with your visa, your driving license, your bill for the car, the “green transfer paper” or the registration of the previous owner and $135

- Check and compare the insurance offers by calling them to get realistic offers
- After you bought the car call the insurance of your choice as soon as possible to make the contract
- You receive all the papers per mail and a temporary validation per email
- You need your personal data, a Canadian address, the number of your driving license, the data of your registration paper and a bank account
- There are two kinds of insurance
- One side take the damage of your opponent
- Two sides takes your damage too
- Your insurance rate depends on the province, your age, your accident history and the rest is also comparable with germany
- Rates are between $35 and $90

- Mandatory technical inspection does not exist

And so i close as always: Cheers, ND