Buying a car in Germany

Buying a car is complicated and is a long-term decision. What model is the best? What kind of equipment do I need? And so on. But buying a car in a foreign country is a whole other story.

In this article we have collected everything you need to know regarding how to buy a car in Germany: from choosing the car to insurance. We will also tell you how InstaMotion can help you to make your car buying experience even more relaxed and easy.

FAQs – Most asked questions

How to choose a car in Germany?

No matter what country you are in, the variety of cars you can choose from is wide. Depending on what you need in a car you can choose from different brands, car types, and equipment (link?). There is no rule of thumb which car is best suitable for German streets. But one thing you need to know about moving to Germany from the US is that the roads are narrower and parking spaces are a lot smaller and rarer than in the US. Germans would also rather prefer smaller cars than Americans. Furthermore, if you want to buy a car in winter you need to consider that winter tires are obligatory in Germany between the beginning of November and mid-April. This means if you are looking for a car you should either buy one with winter tires or with both winter and summer tires available.

At the beginning of your car buying process you should first decide what kind of car you want. Do you want to have a new car or a used car? This often depends on the money you want to spend on your car. Other options would be single-day registrations or one-year-old used cars, which are almost new but much cheaper than a brand new car.

You can find a car in various sources from newspapers and commercials to different web sites and car dealers. A common method nowadays is to search for a car online and then go to various car dealers to look at the vehicles and in the end close the deal with one dealer. This usually means various journeys back and forth to the car dealer for choosing the car, closing the contract and picking up the car in the end. The problem here is that salespeople at dealerships usually speak very little English, which makes the whole buying experience even more complicated.

Choosing a car with InstaMotion

Buying a car in Germany can be a lot easier. If you want to buy a car with us, you have a full support from choosing the car to registering and even delivering the car to your home. You can choose a suitable car from our website, but can you also call our salespeople to help you with choosing the right car. Of course, this service is also possible in English.

Here is how it works:

  1. Choose your car on

  2. Send a request (Anfrage) for your favourite car

  3. Our salespeople will call you and discuss the information and payment options with you (also possible in English and some other languages)

  4. We will send you an offer for your car

  5. When you decide to buy the car you just need to tell us via phone, and we will take care of everything else

  6. Your car will be delivered to your doorstep – already registered and ready to be driven.

 How warranty and TÜV help you to find a good car

If you decide you want to get a used car, German law makes it easier for you to find out if the car is in a good condition by looking at the TÜV badge. TÜV is the inspection that every car needs to go through every 24 months. The inspection includes checking the function and usability of several components of the car and if the car is usable according to the German road traffic registration ordinance. This means if the TÜV badge on the car of your choice is valid for longer than one year you can be sure that the car is roadworthy.

If you decide to go for a new car you will always get a manufacturer’s warranty which can be up to 5 years. This warranty is still valid if you buy a one-year-old car or a single-day registration. Additionally, dealers also have to offer warranty for used cars which is usually valid for one year. Depending on the warranty, wear and tear may not be included.

High quality cars at InstaMotion

We have high standards when it comes to selecting the cars for our website. The cars are not older than 5 years and have been driven less than 100.000 km. They have not been in an accident and they have at least one year of valid TÜV. Additionally, we are offering at least one year of guarantee from Allianz on all our cars. This guarantee covers most parts of the car as well as wear marks. On top of this, you will have a 14 days cooling-off period after you have received the car to check it and give it back if something doesn't suit you.

The best ways to pay for a car in Germany

When deciding to buy a car you can usually choose between paying the whole amount at once or paying in monthly instalments. When paying a low-priced car at the dealership a lot of people just pay cash, but transferring the money is also quite common nowadays.

When you want to finance a car, you need to be aware that the banks usually have strict rules about whom they allow to get a financing for a car and whom they don't. An unlimited residence permit is usually one rule. If you are only staying in Germany for a couple of years, you should consider leasing your car instead.

There are three common types of financing in Germany.

 Paying a car with InstaMotion

Our partner bank is offering balloon financing to all our customers. This makes it possible for us to offer good and flexible rates. Additionally, there will be no limit on kilometres. If you want to finance a car with us, you need to have an unlimited residence permit and a job with an open-end contract. Additionally, you should have no negative entries in SCHUFA (which you won't have if you just arrived to Germany). If you want to buy the car by paying the whole amount, you can easily do that via bank transfer or with our partner

What kind of car insurance do you need?

Before registering a car in Germany, you need to prove that you have third party liability coverage. This includes all damages or injury of other people or objects. Car insurance is not cheap in Germany. There are various factors that influence the insurance price: experience of the driver, size and power of the car, location of your home and your accident background. Depending on your country of origin you can get a letter from your insurance back home which you can hand over to the German insurance to lower the amount of your insurance. Additionally, to the third-party liability coverage you can get a so-called comprehensive insurance.

There are two common types of comprehensive car insurance in Germany:

To decide which of the two insurances is best for your car you need to consider how old the car is, what type it is and how much it is worth. In General it is better to get a full comprehensive insurance if you have a new or rather young car. The price of your insurance depends on your car type. If you want to lower the amount you are paying for insurance you can add a deductible.

Car insurance with InstaMotion

If you want to get a car insurance with us, we are happy to help you out! Our partner Allianz will give you a suitable offer for your car. If you are interested, just let our salespeople know and they will help you out.

How to register a car in Germany?

For registering a car in Germany, you need to go to the motor vehicle registry in your city. Usually, a lot of people wait in the line there to get their car registered. For registering your car, you need to proof that the car is yours and that you have a valid third party liability insurance. Additionally, you need the so-called Zulassungsbescheinigung Teil II. Every German car should have this document as it is handed over from owner to owner throughout the lifetime of the car. When you buy a car, the dealer will hand this document to you. The person at the registration office will then add your name to the list of owners on the Zulassungsbescheinigung. This service and the printing of the licence plates usually costs you around 30 €.

Registering a car with InstaMotion

If you order a car with us, we can take care of the car registration for you. The registration and delivery costs 299 €. If you finance the car the amount is already included in the financing rate. You only must send in an authenticated copy of your passport and your residents permit. Our partner, DAD, will register the car on your behalf and then bring it to your doorstep.

Buying a car during the Covid-19 pandemic

The requirements for buying a car during Covid-19 are the same. At the moment the situation in Germany is calm and the motor vehicle registries work normal. But there can be certain delays which could cause longer waiting times to register a car and therefore the delivery may need more time than the usual 14 days. In that case, we are going to inform you via E-Mail or a call so you always know what the current status is.


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