Can I Pick Up My Auction Car and Drive it Home?
The answer is yes in some cases. Auto auctions like Copart, IAA, or Manheim will not offer you a temp tag or have registration services for auction vehicles. However with insurance an a permit, this is possible. Your vehicle cannot be a salvage vehicle. It cannot be for export only.
It's important to fully understand that each state will have different laws regarding unregistered vehicle permits or you may learn they do not offer them. Before deciding, call the DMV and ask them the legal way do drive the vehicle home.
If you cannot get temporary tags, insurance, and a permit you could face penalties for driving an unregistered vehicle.
Getting Ready to Drive Home from the Auction Lot
Verifying Vehicle Condition
It goes without saying, the vehicle must run and drive. The auction will state if it does or does not. But keep in mind that can change. Batteries die out where they can't be jump started. The vehicle could have an issue that surfaced after the vehicle was started and photographed. In other words, the auction checks this only upon arrival and doesn't guarantee it will stay that way. Run and drive is also a designation intended to describe a vehicle that at the very least moves back and fourth under its own power. This does not mean the vehicle can drive normally on the roadway.
Be sure to get the vehicle inspected or go to the auction to see it to take a look. If you are not mechanically inclined, bring a friend that is. If you cannot get an inspection or see the car with a trained eye, you may get more than you bargained for.
Regardless of how the vehicle runs and drives as you leave the auction lot, keep in mind there could be a lot happening under the hood you don't know about. Even with a clean inspection, there is no warranty or money-back guarantee. Most importantly, an unadressed safety issue could cost you more than just money.
This is the easiest part of the process but easily as important. All states require insurance. Once you are 100% sure you are going to drive it home, call your insurance to have it added to the policy. In many cases you can easily do it online. It is much smaller issue to have made a mistake elsewhere than driving without insurance.
Getting Driving Permit / Temp Tag
This is critical for example in Florida, you can face a second-degree misdemeanor charge and 60 days in jail with a $500 fine for driving an unregistered vehicle. Each state is different, and there may not be a totally legal-beagle way for you to drive your car home. For example, their permit may be limited to use in the in their state. Your best option is to call ahead and get clear, concise, and verifiable information especially if traveling from afar.
If you cannot successfully complete these steps, in no way should you drive the car across the state and especially across the country.
DIsclaimer: The safest way to get your vehicle to you is by having it shipped. Driving an auction vehicle with an unknown history can be risky. National Express does not recommend or suggest driving a vehicle from an auction and provides this information for reference only.