The news is out: we just bought a Portuguese car!
After coming and going to Portugal for the past few years we decided it was finally time to purchase a little car to use for short journeys out and about. The estate is overkill when going to the shops and we really take our life into our hands when the Portuguese drivers eyeball us as foreigners and proceed to drive directly at our car, which is a daily occurrence.
In Portugal it is the car that is insured and not a specific driver. Therefore, anybody can drive it! This means that we *might* entrust friends and family to drive our little car around!
The rest of this post is a detailed description about how we went about it for people in the same shoes as us, so if you’re not interested then you can switch off now.
Firstly, we worked out what we wanted and then did some research on the Portuguese Auto Trader equivalent, called Stand Virtual. We wanted to buy a car from a garage rather than Joe Bloggs on the corner; we didn’t want to end up buying a car that had any financial debts or any crazy problems with it. We had read online many horror stories in Portugal about people who had bought cars that had outstanding financial debts and the best way to avoid this is to buy it from a reputable garage.
We narrowed things down to a select list of cars that fit the bill and off we went. The car that really stood out to us was from a family run garage in Porto called Automóveis Fonte da Senhora. The day after we called the garage, settled on a great price, and arranged to collect us from Porto Campanhã (Porto’s main railway station) to do the deal and drive the car back that day.
What did we need to buy a car in Portugal?
- A Portuguese address (so they can send the registration docs to you)
- A Fiscal number (this is essential to have if you want any assets in Portugal, so google how to get one if you don’t have one already)
- A valid form of ID, such as your passport or driving license
- A method of payment
We checked that the car had a valid IPO (Inspecção Périodica Obrigatória), which is the equivalent of an MOT test, and that the road tax ICU (Imposto Único de Circulação) had been paid for the year. We changed the registration of the vehicle over in the garage and they kindly paid the €10 fee for that. We also arranged for 1-year warranty, which I believe is a legal requirement for garages when selling their vehicles. Interestingly, we found out that a car can have an IPO done up to 3 months before the end date and the ICU can be paid up to 1 month in advance.
The garage found us the best deal online for third party car insurance and breakdown cover. They printed off some quotes and we picked the best one. I thought we would end up getting ripped off at this stage, but the garage didn’t even take a cut and spent some time finding the cheapest they could.
What we learnt was that a car older than 2008 cannot have comprehensive insurance due to its age. If the car was made after 2008 then fully comprehensive would be in excess of €800 a year. He pointed out a newish estate car on the forecourt and said that it would cost €2,000 to insure fully comp! Crazy!
Before we drove off the car legally had to have a hi-vis jacket and a breakdown triangle, which the garage provided, and also threw in an extra jacket. Then off we went with all our documentation and drove back to the house.
The last thing that we arranged when we got back was a Via Verde transponder and this can be entirely done online. It is a little device that you put on the windscreen of the car and it registers you through the tolls. It is linked to your credit/debit card and they will automatically take payments as you go through the tolls. It should be arriving in the post in the next few days.
So that’s it! It was a very straight forward process and I think this was mainly because we did our research beforehand. We knew exactly what to expect and what documents to bring, so there were no hidden surprises. We just need to build a car port now in the space below and buy some pretty cushions for the back seats!