Buying a Car in Mississippi

Mississippi’s regulations for vehicle ownership are far simpler than many other states. We’ve collected them here for you, with a few links if you need more information.

1. Title Information

Mississippi requires all vehicles in the state to be titled. If you are purchasing a new vehicle from a dealer, they will take care of the details and paperwork (but check to make sure they do so). You will get a yellow copy of the title application to take to the local Tax Collector’s office to get license plates. In Mississippi, you receive the title whether or not the vehicle has a “lien” (a loan) on it. The lienholder keeps an interest in the vehicle and submits a lien release when the lien is paid.

If you are purchasing a previously owned vehicle from a private owner, you will need to get the title signed over to you (and make sure that the signature matches their ID; apparently this is a problem in Mississippi). You will also need them to fill in the sale part of the previous title or give you a Bill of Sale for the vehicle as well as fill in the odometer mileage. You can then take that information and insurance to the Tax Collector’s office.

In all cases, you only have seven days from purchase to get the vehicle’s title and registration information submitted, so move fast.

2. Insurance Information

Mississippi has mandatory vehicle insurance requirements that must be in place before you can drive your purchased vehicle off the dealer’s lot or out of the previous owner’s driveway. The minimum requirements are $25,000 liability for personal bodily harm ($50,000 per accident) and $25,000 liability in property damage.

In Mississippi, you can fulfill these requirements by purchasing insurance from a licensed agent. You can also fulfill them by posting bonds with the state in these amounts or making a cash/security deposit with the state for the whole amount. Your choice, but make sure you take one of these avenues, as being caught without insurance can mean license suspension and jail time, even for the first offense.

3. Emission Information

Mississippi has no specific emission testing or requirements for vehicles in the state. However, it does require a yearly safety inspection, which can be done at most repair shops and dealers for $5.

4. Lemon Law Information

Mississippi’s Lemon Law follows pretty standard guidelines. It covers new and leased vehicles bought in the state for the manufacturer’s warranty period or one year, whichever is shorter.  A vehicle can be sold to another person and still fall under the law, as long as the original coverage timeframe has not expired.

In order for the law to apply to a particular vehicle, the vehicle must either have a problem that has not been fixed after three attempts to repair it or must have been in a shop for repairs for a total of 15 business days. At that point, the owner must send a certified letter to the manufacturer and give them one final attempt to repair the vehicle. If it fails to do so, the owner can demand either a replacement or a refund. Arbitration may be necessary, and if the owner chooses a refund, the manufacturer can deduct 20 cents for every mile on the vehicle’s odometer. If you request a refund on a leased vehicle, you cannot be charged penalties for ending the lease early.

5. Special Information

Beyond all the aforementioned regulations, Mississippi has no special additional regulations that potential car buyers need to be aware of.