Chase Vehicle for Overseas Chasers

Jun 3, 2009
49
6
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Stuttgart, Germany
Hi guys,

me and my buddy Nils are chasing storms in Tornado Alley since 2008 now. We always went with and a rental car, which has its limitations of course.

For the coming years we like to start thinking about alternatives. One could be to buy a car in the US and have it properly and savely stored away for the rest of the year.

Of course there is a couple of things that we are asking ourselves and maybe you guys have some ideas and tipps:

Where could such a vehicle be stored and what might that cost? It should be close to Dallas or Denver.
How do we get a vehicle license/registration? Does it have to run all year?
What insurance would we need to get? Is this is even possible as a non-US citizen?
Is there any regular check-ups a car has to go through in order to maintain a permit?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts, we highly appreciate it.
 

Todd Lemery

Supporter
Jun 2, 2014
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Menominee, MI
Hi Joerg, the first thought I have is that you don’t want to leave a vehicle sitting for 11 months. When you get back after storing it for a year you could come back to a battery that is toast, brakes locked up, a family of mice eating your car and a bunch of other things wrong. Cars don’t do well just sitting for long periods.
I’m sure you could store it for only $20.00 a month, but it might be more prudent to apply that $220.00 plus license, registration and insurance fees to a rental like you have been doing. At least when you get here you have a car that’s ready to go.
 
Jul 5, 2009
870
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Newtown, Pennsylvania
It’s hard to imagine a reason for doing this. Sort of like the discussion in other threads about buying a house as a base for chasing and being an absentee owner, rather than just staying in hotels. In the context of a limited period chase vacation, I can’t imagine that buying, storing, insuring and maintaining a car, permanently throughout every year, could possibly be more economical than renting. Just the hassle of dealing with registration and insurance when you are not a US resident should be enough to make you avoid this. Actually I’m not sure if it’s even possible to register and insure a vehicle without a US address. Also consider that you’ll have to use up a couple extra days of your trip just to make sure the car is ready to go after sitting around for 11 months, even if it has been in a warm/dry climate such as Las Vegas. And you’ll burn a day on either end getting it between the Plains and Las Vegas.

I think our love of chasing makes us fantasize about ways to make our connection to the Plains more direct and permanent than it may be with short chase vacations from afar, but most of these ideas just do not make practical or financial sense.
 
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Dan Robinson

Staff member
Jan 14, 2011
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stormhighway.com
Daniel Shaw stays here to chase for several months, so the costs probably balance out in his case. For a week or two, a rental is definitely cheaper. Though with a rental, you're limited on gear installation (hail guards, electrical circuits and so on) as well as the sticky issue of damage liability for even the smallest dent or scratch. The rental companies have wised up to chasers returning damaged vehicles, and LDWs are starting to exclude chase related damage (hail dents, glass breakage, driving off of paved roads, etc).
 
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Jun 3, 2009
49
6
6
Stuttgart, Germany
Thanks for your quick replies guys. Those thoughts are highly appreciated!

It´s not neccessarily about being more economical. It´s more about having a ride that can take a hail dent or two and is equipped to go on less than ideal roads. We are always worried about getting too close to the hail core or getting stuck. We mostly stay on paved roads and that limits us to some extend.

We like to keep our safe distance, it´s not about getting crazy close. We always envy the guys with those huge hail shields:)

I guess you´re right. It´s probably not worth it and we likely stick with the usual.
 
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B. Dean Berry

Moderator
May 25, 2014
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Montana.

You can register a car in Montana very affordably, have no state inspection, no recurring state taxes, and you'll pay one time for a permanent license plate.

Then, just store it in Vegas or a similar hot, dry area. Just remember to disconnect the battery at the end of every season, and probably maintain a US-based chaser nearby who has keys to your storage unit in case of emergencies. Leave some wiggle room at the beginning of your season, as you will need to make sure it's good to go. Also, dump fuel stabilizer in the tank before leaving the country.
 
Jan 6, 2019
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Tyler
Montana.

You can register a car in Montana very affordably, have no state inspection, no recurring state taxes, and you'll pay one time for a permanent license plate.

Then, just store it in Vegas or a similar hot, dry area. Just remember to disconnect the battery at the end of every season, and probably maintain a US-based chaser nearby who has keys to your storage unit in case of emergencies. Leave some wiggle room at the beginning of your season, as you will need to make sure it's good to go. Also, dump fuel stabilizer in the tank before leaving the country.
That is more than likely the best you can get. Except there may still be caveats applied.
As in my case, unsure if only applies in Texas.
I am required to have at least liability insurance on my vehicles whether it's an an auto, motorcycle, or rv trailer, even if stored.
This insurance requirement is from storage place you are using.

Covered storage for trailer is just under 100.00 a month.
Enclosed 8 x 10 for the bikes is 70.00 a month.
Enclosed for 4x4 is 140.00 a month.

The enclosed ones seem to be pretty mouse/rat proof and there is bait along the inside walls.

The bike owners from overseas that stored their bikes in US while back home had to register a USA address.
Which one of riders they were riding with told them just to use their's.

Can be done, but is cost worth it ?