renting or buying a car in the UK

How To Rent Or Buy A Car In UK

Wondering how to rent or buy a car in UK? If you’re planning to move to the UK, wanting to see the diverse landscapes and explore different cities must be on your bucket list. Being made up of four countries, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, there’s plenty to see in the UK. Whether you decide to have a road trip and drive around the whole coast of the UK, or would rather drive from city to city, having a car to travel is pretty essential.

While everyone would love to own their own car, if you’re worried about high prices or long term maintenance costs, then leasing a car is a better idea. If you’re concerned about how to rent or buy a car in UK, we’ve got you covered!

How to buy a car in UK

1. Driving licenses

If you’re moving to the UK and planning on driving around, ensuring you have the correct license should be your first concern. For foreigners from designated countries, you can also exchange your home country license for a British licence if you are considered a resident – someone who has lived in the UK for at least 185 days. Find out more about exchanging your non-UK license for a UK license here.

If your country is not one of the designated countries, you’ll have to take a UK practical and theory test to get your new license. It’s also important to note that most cars in the UK are manual instead of automatic, so if you only know how to drive automatic, you might have to learn how to drive manual cars instead. Find out more about applying for a UK license here.

2. Road rules and regulations

  • Remember to drive on the left side of the road
  • Observe posted speed limits that are measured in miles
  • Wear seat belts at all times
  • Give way to emergency vehicles when sirens are on or flashing

3. Cost of owning a car

A typical UK car owner spends around £3,000 annually to run their cars. This includes gas, car insurance, repair and replacements. While the biggest price tag is purchasing the car, which varies by thousands depending on the car you purchase, the next big price tag when owning a car is petrol. Some other spending factors to keep in mind include motor insurance, repairs and services and even road taxes.

4. Where can you buy a car in UK

If you have decided on what car to buy, then heading to purchase a car would be your next step! You can buy a car in UK online, or in person. If you’d rather look at cars in person, then keep an eye out for advertisements in local newspapers or even visit your local second-hand car dealers. You can even visit a car showroom and meet car dealers for the sweetest ride.

For looking at the car market online, there are numerous websites you can use. Some examples are Autotrader, Motors, or buyacar.

7. Registering the car

The next step after purchasing your car is to register it! To register your car you have to fill in some forms and submit them to Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). You will also have to register a logbook, also known as the V5C, which contains information about the vehicle as well as the owner and the owner’s address.

If you’re purchasing a car from the previous owner, remember to collect the V5C from them, and make sure they update the logbook declaring that they have sold the car to you and that you are the new owner. You will then have to update the logbook with your own personal information. Once completed, send your V5C to the DVLA so that the registration of the car is completed and you will receive a new V5C. This whole process can take up to a few weeks.

5. The MOT test

Once you’ve registered your car, it’s important to get your MOT test check done. The MOT test is the Ministry of Transport’s test car inspection, to ensure that your vehicle meets the road safety and environmental standards. It checks the status of your car by checking its tires, steering wheels, brakes and other necessary equipment.

Every vehicle being driven on the road in the UK requires a valid MOT test check to be done every year. You need to get an MOT for your vehicle by the third anniversary of its registration, and every year after that if your vehicle is over 3 years old. The maximum fee for getting your car’s MOT test done is £55. Find out more about potential MOT fees here.

If you’re wondering if your car already has a valid MOT, you can check its status online here.

6. Car insurance

Car insurance in the UK differs from that of other countries. While some countries have insurance taken out on the vehicle, car insurance in UK is taken on the person who will be driving that vehicle. Car insurance is important in case your vehicle is damaged or stolen. It also protects you from damage you may cause to other road users and third parties. In the UK, third party insurance and motor insurance are legal requirements when driving on the roads.

Once you’ve completed these steps, you’re ready to show off your new ride around town!

How to rent a car in UK

Photo credit: 123RF

If purchasing a car is too much of a hassle, or maybe you’re concerned about long term maintenance and car complications, then car leasing is another great option. If you’re curious about renting a car in UK, we’ve got the information you need.

1. Where to rent a car in UK

Contact a car rental agency or look online for different car renting websites available, such as Enterprise, Avis, Sixt, Hertz, and Budget. There are numerous other websites online where you can rent your dream car at an affordable price. Car pickups are usually done at any city point or can be met at a destination of your choice. If you’re coming from the airport, they also have a car rental service usually available at the arrival section.

Rental car companies usually include insurance along with the car rental, so fret not about extra documentation or work necessary. Documents you might need include your driving license, identification card and address location.

2. How long you need the car

One of the most important pieces of information you need to give your car rental company is how long you’ll need the car. If you’re renting a car in UK for more than three months, getting a car leased would be a good choice. Although the UK has a popular form of public transportation, which is the train, the railway network can only cover so many parts of the four countries.

The most popular mode of transport in the UK is by road, so motorised passenger travel will be your main form of getting around. This allows everyone to travel conveniently and to more remote areas that are difficult to access without a car or motorcycle.

3. Cost of leasing a car

Car leasing in the UK varies, depending on the company, type of car and duration. It usually costs between £500 to £1,000 per month. The price can also increase if you’re purchasing it with insurance, or perhaps getting a more expensive car model.

4. Deposit

In order to qualify for car leasing, you should also have enough funds in your credit card according to the company’s policies. A deposit of up to £300 may be asked and is usually unavoidable.

All in all, it’s important to have your own car, whether you buy or rent one, when in the UK. Although you may be used to travelling by bus or other forms of transport if you’re trying to access more remote areas of the UK or merely wish to enjoy a more convenient ride to work.

Feeling ready to make the big move?

Head over here to begin your journey
Or start ticking off your relocation checklist here

Still unsure?

Learn more about the UK here
Explore more destinations here 

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