Buying a Car in Maine

Maine has some very specific regulations when it comes to purchasing a vehicle. We’ve collected that information and links to more details if you need them, so that your experience buying a vehicle in the state will be as simple as possible.

1. Title Information

Maine requires titles on any vehicle that is a 1995 model or newer. If you are purchasing a new vehicle from a dealer, they will take care of most of the details for your title and registration. If you have bought the vehicle outright, you will receive the title from the state directly by mail. If you have a “lien” on the vehicle, the title will be mailed to the lienholder until such time as it is paid off. At that point, the lienholder is required to submit a release of lien to the state and send you the title within 10 days.

If you’re buying a previously owned vehicle, you will need the title signed over to you, a Bill of Sale, proof of insurance and an application. You will also be required to pay an excise tax to your local town office before you can submit the application to your nearest Bureau of Motor Vehicles office.

In all cases, you have 30 days from the day of purchase to submit a title and register the vehicle.

2. Insurance Information

Maine requires mandatory vehicle insurance for every owner. The minimums are high in this state:

  •  $50,000 liability for bodily injury to one person in an accident ($100,000 per accident total)
  • $25,000 liability for property damage
  • $50,000 uninsured liability damage for one person ($100,000 per accident)
  • $2,000 medical payment coverage

You can also get a $125,000 combined limit policy for bodily injury and property and a $100,000 combined policy for uninsured drivers. No matter what you ultimately opt for, however, you are required to have insurance before you can drive your vehicle.

3. Emission Information

Maine requires annual inspections for cars before they can be registered. If you have bought a new vehicle, you will not have to have it inspected until after the first year is up. All other vehicles are required to be inspected every year.

Vehicles in Cumberland County are also required to have smog emission testing if they are gasoline-powered. Fully electric vehicles are exempt from this requirement. If you are purchasing a previously owned vehicle, make certain that you know when it was last inspected (or tested, if you’re in Cumberland County).

4. Lemon Law Information

Maine’s Lemon Law covers a wider segment of cars than most. It covers new, leased and used vehicles bought from a dealer in the state and lasts for the length of the manufacturer’s warranty, three years or 18,000 miles, whichever comes first.

In order for the law to apply to a vehicle, one of the following must have happened:

  • The vehicle was brought in for repair on the same issue three times and the problem remains.
  • The vehicle was brought in one time for an issue that could cause death or serious harm and the problem was not resolved.
  • The vehicle was out of service because of repairs for 15 or more business days.

If one of these has occurred, the vehicle owner can attempt to invoke the law. They must give the manufacturer one last attempt to repair the problem, which they have seven days to do after receipt of the letter. If that is unsuccessful, the owner then moves to arbitration, where they can demand a replacement or refund of the vehicle.

5. Special Information

Maine has no additional regulations or special information that prospective car buyers need to be aware of.