Guide to purchasing a car: Ownership & insurance

Found a car you like? Here's a few things to keep in mind to make sure your purchase goes smoothly.

Changing ownership

Once you've agreed to purchase a car, both you and the seller must complete the 'Change of ownership notification process' within 7 days. 

If this process is not completed you could be fined.

You can complete the change of ownership process online at the NZ Transport Agency website.

As the buyer of the car:

You'll need to select 'Let us know you've bought a vehicle' and enter your details.

You'll also need:

Remember to print out the confirmation page as proof you've completed the process and take it to the seller. 

Your new Certificate of Registration should arrive in the post within 10 days. Keep it in a safe place until you decide to sell the vehicle. 

As the seller of the car:

You'll need to select 'Let us know you've sold a vehicle' and enter your details.

You'll also need:

If you don't want to complete the change of ownership online, you can do it in person at a number of locations

For more information on your legal responsibilities, check out the NZ Transport Agency factsheet on Buying and Selling vehicles (PDF | 180KB).

Purchasing a car from a motor vehicle trader

If you buy or sell a vehicle from a motor vehicle trader, they may complete some or all of the change of ownership process for you. However, you should always confirm with the trader that they've done this. 

Getting car insurance

Car insurance in New Zealand isn't a legal requirement but it's a good idea to have some type of insurance cover. This will protect you from financial loss if you're in a crash or event that causes damage to either your or someone else's car. 

When you take out an insurance policy you have to pay a premium (fee) to the insurance company and they agree to pay you for any losses agreed to in your policy.

Insurance companies in New Zealand usually offer three types of policies. These provide different levels of coverage:

Each insurance company will have different policy requirements, limits and premiums. So it's important to shop around and find a company that has a policy and premium that suits your needs. 

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