Buying a Car in Colorado

Colorado follows many states in having insurance requirements for newly purchased automobiles and specific rules in dealing with car titles. Colorado is also somewhat more rigid in a few of its rules, which you can find out more about here.

1. Title Information

When buying a car in Colorado, the rules that will apply to you are extensive and very clear. All vehicles require the following to get a title:

  • Proof of Insurance
  • The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • The current title (if bought from a previous owner or bought used from a dealer)
  • The Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin (MCO) (if bought new from a dealer)
  • A vehicle emissions report if applicable — and for much of the state, it will be. Dealers will handle this before you buy a new car from them.
  • An odometer disclosure (which in Colorado is required for any car 10 years old or newer and must include a handwritten name beside the odometer number)
  • A Bill of Sale for the vehicle
  • If the car has a “lien” (a loan) on it, the mortgage must be provided (either the original or a certified carbon copy).
  • A certified weight slip. A dealer should handle this for you.

2. Insurance Information

Colorado requires proof of auto insurance before a newly purchased car gets a title, gets registered or even can be driven off the dealer’s lot or away from the previous owner’s house. The minimum insurance requirement is $25,000 liability for bodily harm to an individual ($50,000 for an entire accident) and $15,000 liability for property damage. Such insurance must be bought from an agent who is authorized to sell Colorado vehicle insurance. And the state’s laws regarding having proof of insurance are very strict, as they call for your car to be impounded if you do not an insurance card or other form of proof in your vehicle when the police ask for it. You can read the full text of the insurance laws on the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies’ Division of Insurance Web page.

3. Emission Information

Colorado has emission regulations that are similar to those in California (the toughest emission regulation state). New vehicles are exempt from any emission test for four years. After that, they must be tested every two years until they are 20 years old, when it becomes every year.

Not every section of the state requires an emission test. If, however, you commute with your car to an area of the state that requires the emission test, your vehicle is still required to take it as the law dictates.

Finally, if a car owner decides to sell their vehicle at any point, an emissions test must be performed on the vehicle first. Failure to do so will result in a fine being levied against the owner.

4. Lemon Law Information

Colorado does indeed have a Lemon Law, which covers new cars for one year after delivery of the vehicle. In order for the law to come into effect, a vehicle must have been brought in for repair of the same item at least four times within that year or have been out of service for 30 days because of repairs during that year. The owner must submit a request in writing to the vehicle manufacturer, at which point arbitration begins. This arbitration can result in either a replacement or a refund.

5. Special Information

Beyond the aforementioned regulations, there are no special requirements for car buyers in Colorado.