Massachusetts Auto Insurance and Used Cars

As amazing as it seems, you can buy a car now from a vending machine. It’s true. Carvana, one of the fastest up and coming ways to purchase a used car uses a vending machine to dispense your car! (Well, only if you want the experience of it!). There also other ways to purchase a pre-owned car-Carmax, a friend, a neighbor, or a dealership. So when you buy a used vehicle, what is the process for registering and insuring that vehicle? Massachusetts follows its own rules and guidelines, and We’re Here to help you navigate that.

The first thing to realize is in Massachusetts, you can’t register a car without proving you have insurance on it. That means your insurance agent needs to see proof that you own the car, write you an insurance policy that you agree to by signing it, and usually making a deposit on your insurance premium. Then your agent is able to type up your registration and new title request, and stamp it with proof of your new insurance company. If there is a loan on the vehicle, an insurance binder will be issued.

The most common snag in all of this is…..proving your ownership of that car. Unless you have signed the back of a Certificate of Title (“the Title”), you do not own that vehicle.

Let’s repeat that:

YOU DO NOT OWN A VEHICLE UNTIL YOU HAVE SIGNED AND TAKEN POSSESSION OF THE TITLE.  It is even spelled out in the Massachusetts Auto policy.

                “ YOUR AUTO-MEANS …………

  1. A private passenger auto, trailer, motorcycle, pick-up truck, van or similar vehicle, TO WHICH YOU TAKE TITLE OR LEASE as a permanent replacement for described auto or as an additional auto…..”

If your agent receives paperwork from someone requesting an insurance stamp, and the title is NOT included in that paperwork… will be at a standstill. The agent’s hands are tied, and there is no legal way to provide an insurance stamp.

The best advice is if you look at buying a used car and you know you will be needing the help of an insurance agent to get that car on the road so you can show it off is to call your agent ahead of time and ask the procedure. We’re happy to help, after all, We’re Here for You.


Give our Pembroke, Osterville or Plymouth Massachusetts a call with all your auto insurance questions.

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Are you ready to save time, aggravation, and money? The team at Hannon-Murphy Insurance  is here and ready to make the process as painless as possible. We look forward to meeting you!