Buying and Selling FAQs in Kentucky

Do you need to know how to bring a car into America? What about taking out auto loans? We've compiled a list of some of the most frequently asked questions about buying and selling vehicles in Kentucky.

I'm thinking of going overseas soon. If I purchase a vehicle in another country, how do I bring it into America?

This can be a tricky process at best. We've highlighted some of the basic steps of the procedure, but you'll need to get in touch with an expert from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) once you're ready to import the vehicle.

If you're importing a vehicle into America from another country (aside from Canada), you need to obtain and complete a (Form HS-7) at whatever port you're using to re-enter the country.

In order for the vehicle to be considered "conforming," it must comply with the federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSS). If a vehicle conforms, it will have a certification label on the driver's door.

If the vehicle doesn't conform, a Registered Importer (RI) must first find out from NHTSA whether the vehicle can indeed be modified to comply with the FMVSS. If it can, you'll be allowed to bring the vehicle into the country in order to modify it.

Once it's modified, you'll need to post a Department of Transportation Conformance bond.

For more information, visit NHTSA's Vehicle Importation Regulations or contact the NHTSA at (202) 366-5291.

What kinds of fees and taxes do I need to handle once I've purchased a vehicle?

If you purchase your new vehicle from a dealership, they'll most likely handle your fees and taxes for you.

However, if you purchase from an individual seller, you'll need to head to your local County Clerk's office to pay your required fees and taxes including:

  • A $9 title fee, if you're handling it at the same time.
  • 6% usage tax.
  • Annual property taxes.

I'm considering purchasing a used car. Are there any steps I should take to protect myself?

Yes, there are plenty of steps! You should get a Vehicle History Report as well as ask the seller about any salvage titles. You may even want to make sure the vehicle hasn't been recalled.

You can also contact the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) to find out whether the vehicle you're considering has ever had any serious damage.

Aside from Kentucky's state regulations on buying and selling, check out our Guide to Buying a Used Car.

Should I make sure the vehicle I purchase has an auto warranty?

Whether or not you want an auto warranty is entirely up to you. There are various kinds of warranties out there, most of which are offered by dealers. These include limited, unlimited, and extended as well as vehicles sold as "certified." Talk with the dealer about the specifics of each warranty and, in the end, make the decision with which you feel most comfortable.

You may come across a vehicle being sold "as is." This is most common with individual sellers. "As is" means once the sale is final, the seller is free from all responsibility. In other words, if the vehicle has any problems, they're no longer the seller's problems. They're your problems.

Seriously consider having an "as is" vehicle inspected by a professional before forking over the dough.

For more information about warranties, check out our Auto Warranty section.

Is it best to save up or take out a loan when I'm ready to buy?

This is another situation that's entirely up to you.

If you save up and pay for your car in full, you own it outright. However, if you take out a loan, your lender technically owns it until you pay it back.

This information is important because most lenders require some sort of full-coverage car insurance until you've paid off your loan. When you own your vehicle outright, you can purchase any amount of auto insurance you want―as long as it meets Kentucky's minimum liability requirements.

We provide more information about loans in our Auto Loans section.


U.S. DOT Declaration
This NHTSA form is used to verify any vehicles or vehicle parts imported to the U.S. meet federal safety standards.
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