High school students tend to visit dealerships for vehicle service or to buy a car during the spring and summer months. A minor can purchase a vehicle, but the dealer should be aware of certain pitfalls.
Any vehicle contract with an individual under the age of 18 can be rendered null and void, as a minor may have the right to return a vehicle and demand reimbursement until the age of 18.
Dealers are advised to require a responsible adult to become the purchaser or co-purchaser of a vehicle. Common questions on sales, service and insurance include:
Can a vehicle be registered in a minor’s name? Yes. There is no age restriction to being registered as the owner or lessee of a vehicle.
What about a buyer’s order, lease or rental agreement? It is advisable to have the minor and an adult, usually a parent, sign the buyer’s order, lease or rental agreement, as well as financing documents.
Are there special disclosure requirements for sales to a minor? No. However, as minors often purchase lower-cost, used vehicles, dealers should explain the warranty, if any, and request an adult co-purchaser acknowledge all aspects of the sale in writing.
Do any special requirements apply to a minor’s proof of insurance? The name(s) listed on the registration must correspond with the proof of insurance. The minor may own the vehicle and be covered by a parent’s policy if the minor’s name appears on the declaration page of the parent’s insurance policy. If the minor’s name does not appear on the proof of insurance document provided, the dealer must request further proof of coverage which does list the minor’s name.
How should repair orders be handled? Make certain that an adult is jointly or individually responsible for vehicle repairs. A minor authorizing extensive repairs could attempt to void a service bill based on the fact that he is under the age of 18, claiming that he is not responsible for payment.
Courtesy of PAA Bulletin No. 7, 4/9/2018