Gifting a surprise car to someone for the holidays can sound more heartwarming than chestnuts roasting on an open fire. However, surprising someone with a car could turn into a lump of coal.
Owning a new car comes with a long list of expenses, such as insurance, taxes, fuel, repairs, registration fees, and more. The lucky recipient may not have deep enough pockets to cover these costs.
Insurance can be another snag that puts their wallet between a brick chimney and a hard place. Adding a new car to a policy might make their premium snowball. Additionally, if they don't have any insurance, they'll need to find coverage before they can legally take their new car for a spin. And if they have a less-than-perfect driving record, finding affordable coverage could be a long shot.
Transferring ownership can be trickier than making reindeer fly if you don't buy the car in cash. Depending on the state, specific requirements may appear, such as obtaining another title or registration, paying gift taxes, and ensuring all documents are properly signed and notarized. Failing to complete the transfer correctly can lead to being on the naughty list with legal issues.
The car you gift may not necessarily suit the recipient's needs or be their cup of hot cocoa. What if they need a truck for work or a car for fuel efficiency? What if they need AWD or a four-door? They may be left with a car that does not help with their day-to-day needs, leading to a bah humbug of a gift, which brings up another point. Cars don't come with a gift receipt and returning them for the same price is not an option.