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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Our county DMV says Alabama requires a physical inspection/verification of the VIN before we can get license plates. And that there is a fine if you show up with a car without plates. So what kind of tags did you have when driving from PDC to Alabama? Does the PDC provide some kind of temporary tag?
 

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I would think that your dealer would send a temporary tag to the Performance Center. I am a SC resident, and my dealer in GA sent a temporary tag to the PC for me to get the car home and tagged in SC.
There are different ways to handle this but the bottom line is that the Performance Center can put South Carolina temporary registration on the car no matter where you live and that will give you ample time to drive home and arrange to have the car registered there. It's perfectly legal for you to drive in your home state with the SC temp registration while waiting to arrange our local registration. Of course, your client adviser should have explained all of this to you in advance. In some states, the client adviser may be able to process the registration for you before you actually pick up the car at the Performance Center. In other states, they may wait for you to get back home first. In some states you have to do this yourself with your local DMV office. YMMV.

Unfortunately, car registration rules can vary quite a lot from one state to another. Just as sales/use tax rules vary from one state to another. You really have nothing to worry about on this point when picking up a new car at the Performance Center because even if your client adviser is totally clueless and has never done a Performance Center delivery before, they will cover you with temp tags.
 

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Obviously it goes without saying that it is your responsibility to notify your insurance company/insurance agent once you know your expected re-delivery date at the PC because that is the effective date of your insurance coverage on your own policy. Not before and definitely not after that date. That is the official date that you "acquired" the car in the US. Be aware that many banks, credit unions, dealer employees and possibly even insurance agency employees may not understand this concept because they don't understand what it means legally to "acquire" a car as opposed to simply signing a lease agreement, which is nothing more than proof of a financial obligation, not proof of your "acquisition" of that car in the US. Your signature on the application for registration, which includes odometer certification, is proof of your acceptance and legal acquisition of the car here in the US.

You cannot insure the car before you legally acquire it in the US. You cannot legally acquire it before it clears US Customs because the car is not legal in this country until it clears US Customs. Unfortunately, that distinction isn't apparent to the legislatures in a few states where their laws do not recognize this distinction. My sympathy if you live in one of those states that forces you to obtain coverage on a car while it is still in Germany even though that policy will not pay a single penny for any claims resulting from anything that happens over there. You're paying for ZERO coverage, thanks to your state's idiotic laws. :rolleyes:

If you read your policy, it should cover you for brief trips to Canada (e.g., 30-days max) but not Mexico because Mexican law requires you to purchase Mexican coverage. Lots of luck with that if you have a serious accident and need to file a claim for extensive damage to your brand new BMW. Typically you're screwed. Germany? No way. Nada. Zero. Zilch coverage of your car in Germany by your insurance policy because your insurance company isn't even licensed to write coverage there and, even if they are, it would be a different policy altogether.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ninong, thanks for the great response.
"even if your client adviser is totally clueless" - this is our situation.
It is our first BMW, first ED, first PDC delivery, but it also the first ED and PDC delivery that our CA has done. We have been receiving conflicting information from the dealer, insurance company, and local DMV as we've looked into what is needed as our car comes into the US. The CA has been absolutely no help, actually causing more uncertainty and doubt, yet the dealership has explained how important it is that they get all 10s when we fill out a customer satisfaction survey later.
 

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Ninong, thanks for the great response.
"even if your client adviser is totally clueless" - this is our situation.
It is our first BMW, first ED, first PDC delivery, but it also the first ED and PDC delivery that our CA has done. We have been receiving conflicting information from the dealer, insurance company, and local DMV as we've looked into what is needed as our car comes into the US. The CA has been absolutely no help, actually causing more uncertainty and doubt, yet the dealership has explained how important it is that they get all 10s when we fill out a customer satisfaction survey later.
We had the same sort of discussion on this forum with another Bimmerfester who lives in Alabama. He told us that in Alabama he was required to purchase insurance on his car within 20 days of taking ownership. This was for a European Delivery. The dealer in Alabama insisted that this meant he needed car insurance effective with the date shown on his lease agreement, not the date he actually "acquired" the car upon re-delivery at the dealership. Another member from Georgia posted that he had a similar experience in his state.

I read through the DMV instructions for both Alabama and Georgia at that time. If I'm not mistaken, I even googled for the actual statute in one of those states and the confusing language was in the original statute. The problem with purchasing insurance effective the date you sign the lease is that you do not yet have an insurable interest in the car here in the US. Your policy is actually null and void because the car is not yet legal to operate in the US and won't be until after it clears US Customs. The Alabama DMV even tells you to be sure to bring proof of purchase with you, such as the Certificate of Origin. The Certificate of Origin is issued by BMW of North America only after the car clears US Customs and has legally entered the US.

Your policy does not cover the car in the European Union, only in the US and for temporary visits to Canada. Yet we were told by both of those guys that they purchased car insurance prior to leaving for Munich even though their new BMW wouldn't arrive back at their dealership (or the PC) for another 2-3 months.

Talking to employees at the local DMV can be frustrating. Most of them are more or less clueless when it comes to anything out of the ordinary and European Delivery of new BMWs is definitely out of the ordinary in Alabama. The only person at your dealership who might have a clue would be the person responsible for dealing with new car registrations, assuming s/he has been doing it for a few years or more.

When you talk to your insurance agent, be sure you are speaking to the actual agent and not just someone in the office who is unlicensed. Better still, talk to the insurance company directly, just make sure you can get past the first person who answers the phone unless that person seems to know what s/he is talking about. Make sure they understand that the car will be in Germany, not the US, and won't enter the US for another two or three months.

Here is a link to the applicable Alabama DMV section: http://www.dmv.org/al-alabama/car-registration.php

What is unusual about Alabama's DMV instructions is that the owner is required to accomplish part of that process himself rather than having the dealership take car of absolutely everything for you like in most other states. Note that it says you must register the car "within 20 days after taking ownership." In California the statute says "after acquiring" the new car and absolutely everything is done by the dealership for you. You don't have to do anything there.

According to that other 'fester, he was required by the selling dealer to put the car on his insurance policy with an effective date the same as the date shown on his lease agreement. The dealer insisted that that was what the DMV there required. So that's the situation. If you dig into it further yourself you may be able to find someone who can give you a different answer because starting your insurance coverage before you take delivery here in the US is absurd. In that guy's case, he registered a car in Alabama that was not actually here in the US. That makes no sense whatsoever. He paid for insurance coverage that did not exist. :rolleyes:
 

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So many states, so many laws. My insurance would not let me insure the car until it was in the USA. Not that I wanted to. N4S
That's because your insurance company realizes that it is illegal to charge someone a premium for coverage that does not exist. Apparently that minor technicality is overlooked in some states, according to what others have reported previously on this forum. Maybe they were just unfortunate enough to be dealing with inexperienced people and maybe that's not the policy everywhere in their states? If it is, it's pathetic. :tsk:
 
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