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Old 07.07.2015, 00:11
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US car insurance

Realizing this is a) not a question about Switzerland but because b) it's a convoluted story with an expat twist, I ought to ask here in the event anyone else has experienced the same issue and solved it somehow.

We relocated to Switzerland in January. Because one of our two cars was significantly underwater (a long story. No lectures re: personal responsibility, please. I give/gave enough of those to my wife who "just had to have" this particular car), we elected to keep paying on the loan. We will have a car that isn't driven much, is basically new for if/when we return, and is there for us when we do go back for the occasional US vacation.

When we moved, we sold our house in NJ. My company is headquartered in the state, however, and upon completion of time here, we are likely to return. Thus, per NJ law we are non-domiciled NJ residents and maintain state residency.

Because we don't have a home in NJ, however, we can't leave the car there. So, it sits at my mother in law's house in Virginia.

We are not, nor can we become, Virginia residents under that state's laws. But, because the car is "garaged" there, the insurance company wants us to insure the car there. But to insure the car there, we have to register the car there. But to register the car there, we have to become residents. Chicken or egg, anyone?

Not surprisingly, VA insurance is cheaper (because NJ drivers are...shall we say...in always in a hurry). So I'd love to get coverage there. But given a lack of residence, not sure that's allowed.

As I said, convoluted and not Swiss focused. But if anybody has a solution, welcome thoughts?
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Old 07.07.2015, 00:16
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Re: US car insurance

can you register the car to your mother-in-law, as she is a resident there?
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Old 07.07.2015, 10:08
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Re: US car insurance

If the car is stored and not driven, why does it need to be insured??
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Old 07.07.2015, 10:16
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Re: US car insurance

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If the car is stored and not driven, why does it need to be insured??

The car is still being paid off, if i read this correctly, so it needs insurance. But even if that's not the case, then the car has to be insured - it can still be driven, could be driven. If the car is disabled, that might be a solution.

Can you transfer registration to your relative, but still continue to pay the loan? I think that is the complicating factor.
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Old 07.07.2015, 10:46
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Re: US car insurance

Do you really want to pay taxes in CH, US federal, state of NJ, and state of Virginia?

Seems like a lot of hassle for a car, and will definitely cost you much more in taxes.

I used to live in Virginia, it is one of those states that it is hard to give up residency. There was a long list of things that make you resident, like drivers license, register to vote, etc.. (list somewhere on web) Why not do some of these, use MILs address and surely Virginia will consider you resident, especially if they get your tax money as mentioned above. File 2014 state taxes for Virginia and I'm sure you're in, if you really want to be.


If the car is garaged, I think you can just insure it for risks, not for driving, this should be easy and much cheaper, and I believe you would not have to have it plated. Maybe it could also be added to a rider to your mother-in-laws home insurance as it is basically part of the property.
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Old 07.07.2015, 15:07
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Re: US car insurance

Lots of good comments above. Thanks to all.

Good idea re: adding MIL onto title. I will investigate as it just _might_ solve the registration issue.

Several points of clarification, in case any other similarly good options spring to mind:

1) Yes. It is a ridiculous amount of trouble over a car. But I'm missing the ~$10k it would cost me to sell. As I said, we're significantly underwater...

2) Yes. Because I still have a loan, I still have to maintain insurance. The bank - not the states - dictates full coverage on the vehicle; so, unfortunately, I don't think I can insure just "for risks".

3) It's precisely because of the Virginia residence/state tax issue that I'd prefer to avoid becoming a "resident." However, by VA law, I'm not really eligible to be a resident of the Commonwealth, though no doubt they'd welcome a pound or two of tax flesh.
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Old 07.07.2015, 16:08
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Re: US car insurance

Bite the bullet and sell it. Cars do not appreciate in value !
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Old 07.07.2015, 16:11
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Re: US car insurance

Have you talked to other insurance companies? I was not aware that registration is a pre requisite for coverage so maybe this is specific to your current insurance company. I could be wrong.


I feel for you. I too am homeless and my stuff is distributed around the US with relatives, friends, storage locations, etc.


On a separate note - may just want to check if the terms of your loan/note holder allows you to move the car out of state. I recall this being an issue with one of my loans.
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