Buying a Car in Georgia

Georgia stands as a very typical state when it comes to specific regulations that impact the purchase of your vehicle. Check out these important pieces of information to make your experience easier.

1. Title Information

Georgia has a title and registration policy that is fairly common for the United States. If you are buying a new vehicle from a dealer, the dealer will handle the title and registration forms and you will be mailed the title. If you have a “lien” (a loan) on the vehicle, then the dealer will maintain the title until the lien is paid off. At that point, the dealer will submit a form and mail the title to you.

If you are buying a used vehicle from a dealer, they are required to get a title first and then turn that title over to you. This creates a specific title that is labeled with “used” on it. When you buy a previously owned vehicle from a private owner, you must get the previous title from them, have them sign it over to you and then bring the title, proof of insurance, Georgia driver’s license and proof of residency to one of the Tax Commissioner’s Tag Offices.

2. Insurance Information

Georgia vehicle owners are required to maintain a minimum insurance amount if they want to be able to own or drive a vehicle within the state. The minimum insurance requirements are $25,000 per person bodily injury liability ($50,000 per accident) and $25,000 property damage liability.

In order to be able to purchase a vehicle and register it, you must obtain this insurance from a Georgia-licensed insurance agent before you buy the vehicle. You can contact the agent and answer questions from them in order to get an insurance quote and letter.

3. Emission Information

Georgia does have required emission testing, but only in specific counties. Vehicles three years old or newer are exempt, as are vehicles over 25 years old. All other vehicles must be tested every year before registration. There are many stations around the state that can do the inspection.

In Georgia, if you are purchasing a previously owned vehicle, it is the seller’s responsibility to make certain that the vehicle has passed an emissions test (if in one of the specific counties) within the last 12 months. So in this situation, make certain that the appropriate certificate is present before you finalize the transaction.

4. Lemon Law Information

The Georgia Lemon Law is a fairly typical version of such a law. It covers new vehicles for two years or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first.

In order for the law to apply, a new car owner must have brought their vehicle in for a specific repair a “reasonable” number of times without the problem being fixed. In general, three times is considered reasonable, but if the problem is one that could cause serious injury or death, only one attempt to fix the problem is considered reasonable. The law also applies if the car has been in for repairs for 30 days within the timeframe.

As with most Lemon Laws, the owner may end up in a legal situation. In Georgia, there are specific steps to be followed within that legal scenario.

5. Special Information

Beyond the aforementioned information, there is no special information that prospective car buyers in Georgia have to know before purchasing a vehicle.