Buying a Car in Vermont

Vermont has some important regulations that can impact a vehicle purchase there. We’ve collected the most crucial information regarding these regulations for you here, and included links for more details as well, so you can have a pleasant and enjoyable vehicle buying experience in the state.

1. Title Information

Vermont requires titles on all vehicles that are 15 years old or newer. If you are purchasing a new vehicle from a dealer, they will take care of the paperwork for you. In Vermont, if you have a “lien” (a loan) on the vehicle, then the title is not mailed to you but rather to the lienholder. When the lien is paid off, the lienholder is required to surrender the title and a new one will be sent to you.

If you are purchasing a used vehicle, you will need the current title assigned to you, a Bill of Sale showing that you have purchased the vehicle, and an odometer reading if the vehicle is 10 years old or newer. You will also need proof of financial responsibility and need to fill out the Registration, Tax and Title Application.

In all cases, you have 60 days to register and title the vehicle.

2. Insurance Information

Vermont requires mandatory insurance on all vehicles within the state. The minimum requirement for the mandatory insurance is $25,000 liability per person bodily damage ($50,000 per accident) and $10,000 liability property damage. You can also choose, however, to instead post bonds equal to the aforementioned amount or prove self-insurance of $115,000.

Regardless of how you do it, it is imperative that you show proof of financial responsibility with your vehicle. You cannot register or drive a vehicle without the insurance, and the fines are dramatically large in Vermont if you fail to have it. So go get your insurance before you drive your vehicle off the dealer’s lot or out of the previous owner’s driveway.

3. Emission Information

Vermont requires safety inspections on all vehicles every year before registration. So if you purchase a new vehicle in the state, you will have to have a safety inspection the year after you buy it.

Vehicles made after 1995 also require emission testing every year as part of the inspection. If you are purchasing a used vehicle, make certain that if it requires testing and inspection, that you see proof that such has happened, or know that you will need to bring the vehicle in for inspection immediately.

Both inspections and testing can be done at official Vermont inspection stations.

4. Lemon Law Information

Vermont’s Lemon Law is fairly liberal as far as lemon laws go. It covers new and leased vehicles purchased or registered in Vermont (meaning you can buy a vehicle in another state, register it in Vermont, and it is covered). The coverage is for the length of the manufacturer’s express factory warranty (which is far longer than the coverage period most lemon laws allow for).

During that time, in order for the law to apply to a particular vehicle, the vehicle must either have a serious defect that has not been repaired after three attempts or have been out of service for repairs for a cumulative 30 days.

If either of these conditions exists, the vehicle owner must send a certified letter to the manufacturer and begin the arbitration process. The manufacturer must be given a final chance to repair the vehicle (and must complete that five days before the hearing), but the owner may move to arbitration regardless.

If the owner succeeds in arbitration, they may ask for a refund or replacement of their vehicle. If the arbitration results are not to the owner’s liking, they may still bring legal proceedings against the manufacturer.

5. Special Information

Vermont has no other unusual regulations regarding vehicle purchasing.