relocating car

Relocating? 5 Things To Know Before Getting a Car in SF Bay Area

The San Francisco Bay Area is definitely not for commuting as public transport is not as frequent and ends early in the evening. But more than 2,000 employees in the Bay Area don’t mind taking their corporate commuter buses daily. Not only is it convenient for them, the buses are also luxurious rides to their posh offices, whether that’s in the fabled city, San Francisco, or in suburban San Jose in Silicon Valley.

In such a large sprawl like the Bay Area, it’s good to know tech workers have the shuttle buses as option if they don’t have a vehicle, but ask anyone, and they will tell you that they prefer to have a car in the Bay Area. It’s more convenient for those with spouses and kids for the duration of an assignment in the United States. It also provides one with a sense of security and privacy.

Besides, driving in the Bay Area is less stressful than the traffic that snarls other urban cities like Los Angeles or New York. It doesn’t hurt that San Francisco offers a scenic view and an agreeable weather all year round; it hardly rains, midday weather hovers in the 60s to 70s, so it’s not unusual to find some driving their convertibles with the top down.  

Until such time the Bay Area can figure out how mass transit can work more efficiently (trains would be ideal, the way it works in New York), it’s wiser to have a relocated talent secure a vehicle for his or her untrammeled movement. Here are some tips for those considering a ride of their own:

  1. Get the proper license


Not doing so is like buying an airplane ticket for a foreign trip without having the necessary visa. As Cartelligent points out, there are basically three kinds of licenses available for assignees. If he has an international driving permit (IDP), check with the Department of Motor Vehicles. The same goes if an assignee has a driver’s license certified by his home country’s government. Sometimes the local laws will require a foreign national to have both an IDP and his home country’s driver’s license before giving him permission to drive in the U.S. If he has neither, again, consider applying for a U.S. driver’s license. The rules for foreign nationals on this matter differ from state to state. Here’s how to go about it in northern California.

  1. Figure out whether to buy or rent

If an assignee decides to buy his own vehicle, has he given any thought on what to do with it after his U.S. assignment is over? While reselling it is the likeliest option, he might want to calculate first if the overall cost of purchase, just for using that car in one to two years’ time, is worth it. Would he not be able to get a better and more cost-effective deal by leasing a rental vehicle instead?

  1. Question everything, especially the fees

The website that discusses the prospect of foreign nationals using a rental car advises to always consider the following: Will the rental company require a deposit? What are the accountabilities of the assignee should he accidentally damage the vehicle? What are the fees that the assignees have to pay, e.g. extra fees for underage use, equipment rental, insurance, taxes, mileage, and fuel? Make sure every item of cost is listed down in the fine print.

  1. Get insurance policy

Regardless of whether he buys or leases a car, the assignee should always have a car insurance policy that will protect him from damages incurred while driving, such as accidents concerning passers-by, car breakdown, collision with another vehicle, etc.

  1. Relocate a car

Prepare for all aspects of car relocation arrangements in case the assignee bought his vehicle from a friend, colleague, family member, or organization that lives in another state. Moving points out the many ways how a new (or slightly used) vehicle can be moved from its point of origin to the accommodations of  an assignee. A professional driver may cost more than a non-professional one to drive it to its new location but the risks are smaller. Should relocation happen during harsh weather conditions, which would be rare in the Bay Area, then shipping the vehicle on a truck is highly recommended. It will cost more but it should guarantee the delivery and condition of the vehicle.