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Q.

This question was answered based upon current rules, regulations & statutes in effect on May 11, 2017

I have a question we have a client in MA who is purchasing a vehicle in PA and the dealer in PA said they use a PA Temp in Transit Tag that is valid for 60 days and put it on the vehicle. They have the vehicle brought up here on a flatbed.  They said they use a 3rd party vendor called Trivin to do all the registry work etc but the client has to get a new MA plate (not transfer their current plate) and the plate is sent to the dealer in PA and they in turn send it up to their MA client.  But in the meantime tell the client it is OK to drive on that plate until they send them the plate.  They said the temporary Tag is in the clients name and is using their insurance which is why they want a binder from us.

There are two issues here…one is the insurance which the policy says the “insurance is valid for 30 days from date of purchase”  so I believe the vehicle would be covered while on the flatbed coming up here as long as it falls in the 30 day period…correct??

The second is the registry…I thought that if you were a MA resident they would not honor the out of state tag.  I found this online

Massachusetts does not issue temporary registration plates for its own residents but it does recognize temporary registration plates validly registered in other states to non-residents of Massachusetts who are temporarily operating in this state (assuming the plates are not expired or suspended.) Thus, a Connecticut resident operating a motor vehicle in Massachusetts on validly issued temporary Connecticut registration plates is OK, but a Massachusetts resident operating a newly purchased motor vehicle in Massachusetts with validly issued temporary Connecticut plates is not.

A Massachusetts resident who purchases a motor vehicle in another state must apply for and attach valid Massachusetts registration plates to the vehicle before he/she can drive the vehicle back to Massachusetts.

Do you agree that they really should have the plate transferred prior to driving it once it gets here?

The PA dealer said they do it all the time and it is legally valid as they wouldn’t do anything illegal.

I am thinking that the client can’t drive it once it gets here on the PA temp plate…is this correct or not?

Please let me know your thoughts…

Thanks!

A.

Kathy Cormier: Is your customer trying to do a transfer and the dealer told them they needed a new plate??  Or is this an additional vehicle??

As far as Temporary Plates…Massachusetts does not recognize our residents driving a vehicle with out-of-state temporary plates…they would be considered unregistered.  I’ve attached a notice we received from the RMV on this topic. 

In my experience when out of state dealers use these type of registry service, it can take a month or more for the paperwork to be processed and get back to the customer.  This is problematic for the client as they are driving around unregistered and at some point the company could cancel the vehicle off the policy because it is not registered and now would be uninsured as well.  It would be best for the client to have the dealer send the paperwork to you for processing before he leaves to pick up the vehicle.  This way, there is no question about insurance or registration.

I would think while it is being transported that the transportation company would cover the vehicle during transit with some type of cargo coverage?? 

I’m sending this to Irene Morrill, VP of Technical Affairs for here input…Irene?

Agent:  This is a replacement vehicle so originally I told the client to just transfer the plates.  Then this whole thing came about of it being out of state and the dealer told her it had to be new plates and that they were responsible for the insurance on the vehicle while it was being transported up here from PA…as I thought the dealer should have Motor truck cargo insurance as well and the dealer said no it is on the clients insurance if something happened.

I told the client it would be best to have us do the RMV1 etc then fedx it to the dealer to sign and have them FedX it back to us w/title, bill of sale etc so we can go to RMV transfer the plate and they could at least have the plate once the vehicle arrives here on the flatbed.…. 

The dealer said they do it all the time in MA and I said that doesn’t mean it is valid in MA for the client to drive around with that plate.  Plus they need to have the vehicle inspected within 7 days…right?

It seems to be a bit of a mess…

What do you think?

Thanks!

Kathy Cormier:  The dealer is completely wrong in this situation.  Dealers do these types of things all the time, that is true, but it does not mean it is legal for the customer or correct.  And they are putting your mutual client at risk of being cited and fined and possibly having the vehicle impounded if they drive on that temporary registration…this would also generate a Merit Rating Surcharge for the client as well.

The client can transfer their registration as long as the vehicle qualifies for that same plate type…see the 7 day law FAQ.  This is a buyer beware situation, because it is an out-of-state dealer I cannot file a dealer complaint…it’s out of MA jurisdiction. 

Is there a lien on the vehicle?  If yes, who lined that up the dealer or the customer?  If the customer secured their own financing or if there is no lien I would have the customer insist on taking the paperwork instead of using that 3rd. party.  This way they can have the registration transfer processed when the vehicle arrives, and Yes, they also need to have the vehicle inspected within 7 days.

I would still like Irene to address the in transit coverage.

Irene Morrill:   I “assume” you are talking about a BAP:

Regarding newly acquired vehicles …the BAP states:

B.  Owned Autos You Acquire After The Policy Begins

     1.  If Symbols 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 19 are entered next to a coverage in Item Two of the Declarations, then you have coverage for "autos" that you acquire of the type described for the remainder of the policy period.

     2.  But, if Symbol 7 is entered next to a coverage in Item Two of the Declarations, an "auto" you acquire will be a covered "auto" for that coverage only if:

          a.  We already cover all "autos" that you own for that coverage or it replaces an "auto" you previously owned that had that coverage; and

          b.  You tell us within 30 days after you acquire it that you want us to cover it for that coverage.

Generally carriers use symbol 7 to activate coverages on the dec page.

So … an additional auto gets the coverages that currently apply to ALL owned autos.  If all owned autos have BI/PD/Coll/Comp  then the newly acquired vehicle will have that too regardless of “plate” … If all owned vehicles do not have  BI/PD/Coll/Comp then an additional vehicle doesn’t get it either

HOWEVER, that PA dealership doesn’t know MA law …and I almost bet they don’t know PA law either.  Generally states don’t want dealerships to give temp plates to other than own residents – but …whatever …the Bap can provide coverage

I prefer the …correct way … 

This document is not a legal opinion and should not be relied upon as such. The intent of this document is to provide a general background regarding the topic or topics discussed, not to provide legal advice. Producers and agencies should consult an attorney regarding specific situations and specific questions with respect to the topic or topics covered in this document. Neither the Massachusetts Association of Insurance Agents, Number One Insurance Agency nor any of its employees shall be responsible for any errors or omissions regarding any statements made in this document, nor any errors or omissions regarding any statutes, regulations, court rules, and/or any other government documents cited in this document.

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