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Dealer, insurance agency and buyer requirements for MA auto purchases

Massachusetts requires road vehicles to be registered, and registration requires insurance. So if you’re purchasing a vehicle for yourself or your family, you need to make sure your insurance agent is aware. Failure to insure can result in penalties including license suspension, fines ranging from $500 to $5,000, and even jail time.

Some Massachusetts auto dealerships are enrolled in the state Registry of Motor Vehicles‘ (RMV) Electronic Vehicle Registration (EVR) program — aka, the “Drive” program — which enables dealers to process transactions and title applications through an electronic link to the RMV for customers purchasing vehicles and transferring plates.

But not all dealers are EVR-capable, and even those who are sometimes submit incomplete information.

Here are the steps that should take place to ensure your newly purchased auto is properly insured and registered:

Steps by the vehicle’s new owner

  1. Provide the dealer with name of your insurance agency or company, along with phone and fax numbers.
  2. Notify your agency or company that you have a new vehicle to include on your auto insurance policy.

Steps by the auto dealer

  1. Transmit the following to the agency or company:
    • request for Insurance Verification letter from the dealership.
    • copy of the front and back of the Title (if it’s a used vehicle) or Certificate of Origin (if the vehicle is new), completed and signed by both the customer and the dealer, as proof of purchase;
    • copy of the RMV-1 form, completed and signed by both the customer and the dealer.
  2. Recognize that agents are allowed two hours to return the stamped RMV-1 form to the dealer.

Note: It is essential that insurance verification is provided immediately prior to vehicle registration, and that the insurance effective date is the same as or precedes the registration effective date. Never register a vehicle without insurance.

Registration: The 7-Day Transfer Law

According to the RMV, Massachusetts’ 7-Day Transfer Law “allows a vehicle owner to remove the current (license) plates from a registered vehicle the owner has sold, transferred or otherwise lost possession of, and attach the plates to a newly acquired vehicle. An owner must comply with all requirements of this law to legally transfer the registration and (license) plates from the previously owned vehicle to the newly acquired vehicle.”

During this seven-day period, the owner may operate the newly acquired vehicle with the plates from the previously registered vehicle.

Here are some frequently asked questions about registration transfer, along with answers, provided by the RMV: 7-Day Transfer Law FAQs.

Advantages of working with an independent agent

Ads for big, captive insurance companies are everywhere, most of them offering insurance that’s cheap and easy. Independent agents and agencies, meanwhile, have the advantage of working with multiple companies to find the right coverage at the right price for you while providing the industry knowledge and personal service that ensures all your insurance needs are met.

When you work with a Sylvia Group agent, for example, you know you’re working with a licensed professional who’s backed by a team of insurance experts, including a department dedicated to serving our clients’ best interests in handling claims. You certainly won’t find that at one of the big, captive companies.

Personal Insurance Account Executive, Sylvia Group

About Gorete Cadieux and Sylvia Group

With more than three decades of experience serving the personal insurance needs of Sylvia Group clients, Gorete Cadieux works with multiple companies to find the best available coverage at a price that makes the most sense for your budget. She takes a consultative approach to working with clients, enabling them to make informed, educated decisions about their insurance policies.


Sylvia Group uses SPS – the Sylvia Protection System – to empower businesses and individuals with performance-based insurancebenefits and financial planning programs. SPS makes our clients active participants in managing risk and containing premiums, resulting in coverage that is both customized and cost-effective. In addition to making a difference for our clients, we make a difference for our community as a whole by actively supporting and serving many of southern New England’s most reputable and effective nonprofit organizations and institutions. Sylvia Group became an Alera Group company at the outset of 2020, enabling us to combine the local, personal service for which we’re known with the scope and resources of a national firm.