How to buy a used car in Germany

How to buy a used car in Germany

This is how you buy a used car or motorcycle in Germany. The process is the same if you buy from a person, or from a dealership.

Step 1: Look at vehicles

In Germany, and eBay Kleinanzeigen are the best places to find a used vehicle. If you see a vehicle you like, schedule an appointment with the owner. Inspecting a used vehicle in Germany is the same as in other countries, with a few small differences.

Here are important things to know:

Step 2: Buy a vehicle

After you have seen and inspected the car, it's time to buy it. Some sellers want to be paid in cash, but others will accept bank transfers (SEPA-Überweisung).

After you have paid, you should get these documents:

You should also get these things:

After you bought the car, the rest is your problem. You will not need to talk to the seller anymore. You are not allowed to drive the vehicle yet; you must register and insure it first. If the vehicle is still registered and insured, some sellers will let you drive it to your home.

Step 3: Book an appointment at the registration office

The next step is to change the vehicle's owner. You do this at the registration office (Kfz-Zulassungsstelle). You should book an appointment as soon as possible. It can take weeks to get an appointment. You can see the current waiting times on this page.

If the vehicle already has Berlin plates, book your appointment here.

If you buy your vehicle from a dealership or a garage, they can usually register it for you. It costs a little more, but it saves a lot of time. I really recommend it.

If you are buying a scooter or a moped under 50cc, you don't need to go to the registration office. You must request scooter plates from your insurance company instead1.

Step 4: Get an eVB number

When you register a vehicle, you must prove that it can be insured. You must find an insurance company before you register the vehicle, and ask them for an eVB number. You must give the eVB number during your Kfz-Zulassungsstelle appointment.

You get this number from your car insurance company. Some insurance companies let you apply for an eVB number online. Use Verivox or Tarifcheck to compare car insurance prices. If you don't speak German, use Joonko instead.

Your eVB number is only valid for the type of insurance you asked for. If you requested insurance from March to October, your eVB number is only valid for Saisonkennzeichen. You can't ask for full-year plates at the Kfz-Zulassungsstelle with that eVB number.

Related guide: Car insurance in Germany

Step 5: Fill the paperwork

You must bring a few things to your Kfz-Zulassungsstelle appointment:

Print both of these documents and bring them to your appointment.

Step 6: Register the vehicle

Go to your Kfz-Zulassungsstelle appointment. Bring these documents with you:

Step 7: Pay the fees, get your new plates

When it's time to pay, the clerk will give you a plastic card. There are payment machines in another room. Put your card in those machines, pay the required amount, and bring the receipt back to the clerk.

If you need new plates, you must go to one of the kiosks in front of the Kfz-Zulassungsstelle to get it printed. A new plate costs around 15€. Once you have your new plates, you must go back inside. The employee will put stickers on the plate, and give them back to you.

You are now ready to drive your vehicle! Don't forget that you must still pay the vehicle tax (Kraftfahrzeugsteuer). This tax will be taken directly from your bank account. You will receive a confirmation (Kraftfahrzeugsteuerbescheid) by mail.

Step 8: Look for cheaper car insurance

Your car insurance expires every year on December 31. If you do nothing, it's renewed automatically. If you want to cancel your insurance, you must do it before November 301.

Every year in November, look for cheaper car insurance. Use Verivox or Tarifcheck to compare vehicle insurance options. If you find something cheaper, cancel your current contract, and switch to the cheaper insurance. You can save a lot of money by doing this.

If you sell your car, you can end your insurance contract immediately. You do not need to wait until December 31.

Related guide: Car insurance in Germany, Tips to save money in Germany