Buying a Car in Louisiana

Louisiana has an interesting wrinkle to the typical Lemon Laws, thanks to its Redhibition Law that covers anything you buy within the state. Here, we’ll cover that and the other specific information you need when purchasing a vehicle in Louisiana.

1. Title Information

Louisiana requires all vehicles to have titles. If you are purchasing a new vehicle, the dealer should take care of most of the details, but be ready to submit a photo I.D., as that became part of the requirements as of August 1, 2012. Also expect that the dealer will include a federal odometer reading, a Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin (MCO) and a copy of any financing you’ve done for a “lien” (a loan).

If you’re purchasing a previously owned vehicle, you will need a copy of the Title Application, the title signed over to you and notarized, an odometer disclosure (if the vehicle is under 10 years old), a Bill of Sale and a copy of your state I.D. Once you have all of this together, you can find your local Department of Motor Vehicles and submit the documents there.

You have 40 days to title and register your newly purchased vehicle (you do both at the same time), unless it is from out of state, in which case you have 30 days.

2. Insurance Information

Louisiana requires proof of liability insurance, but only in specific circumstances. If you have purchased a new or used vehicle from a dealer, there is no requirement. There is also no requirement if you are renewing a registration by mail. If, however, you are buying a vehicle from a private owner or are renewing a registration in person, proof will be required.

Louisiana mandatory insurance requirements are $15,000 liability for individual bodily damage ($30,000 per accident bodily damage) and $25,000 liability property damage per accident. The insurance must be from an agent licensed to sell insurance in Louisiana.

3. Emission Information

All vehicles registered in Louisiana must be inspected on a yearly basis. These inspections are to make certain the vehicle is safe to drive. Vehicle owners in five parishes of Baton Rouge will also, as part of the inspection, be required to have an emissions test. This emission testing program only occurs within those five parishes and nowhere else in the state.

4. Lemon Law Information

Louisiana has a Lemon Law that was recently changed to favor the manufacturers over the consumers. The law covers new and leased vehicles only and lasts for the length of the vehicle warranty or 12 months, whichever comes first.

In order for the law to come into play, a vehicle must have undergone four unsuccessful attempts to repair a specific problem or must have been out of service for repairs for 90 days. If either situation occurs, the owner has the option to attempt to get a refund or replacement. The manufacturer gets one last attempt to repair the vehicle and arbitration must be done in order to get the replacement or refund. If the owner demands a refund, the manufacturer can deduct an amount for mileage on the vehicle.

5. Special Information

Louisiana has a law called the Redhibition Law that covers all items sold within the state. This law essentially works to protect consumers against getting stuck with defective products they have bought. If a product is so defective that the owner would not have bought it originally if they had known of the defects, then they can attempt to return the item or get it replaced.

In other words, this law works in similar fashion to the Lemon Law, and if you end up with a vehicle that is severely defective, the Redhibition Law is another legal recourse that you can explore with your lawyer.