Temporary Plates and Massachusetts Residents

Navigating your way through the policy and procedure of the Massachusetts DMV can be difficult. Here are a few frequently asked questions regarding temporary plates that could save you both time and aggravation.

Q) If I buy a car out of state and I am issued temporary out of state plates, is it legal to drive with them in Massachusetts?

A) No, it is not. Massachusetts does not recognize out of state temporary plates issued to a Massachusetts resident as legal. Massachusetts does not issue temporary plates for its own residents but it does recognize legally issued temporary plates on out of state vehicles.

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

Q) How do I get my vehicle back to Massachusetts if I buy it in another state and do not have Massachusetts plates?

A) Paperwork can be shipped overnight mail from the dealer to your insurance agent via overnight services such as Fed EX or UPS. Another alternative is to have the dealer deliver the vehicle to the buyer in Massachusetts using their Dealer Plate, but the owner cannot operate the vehicle on the same Dealer Plates in Massachusetts once the vehicle has been delivered.

Q) Will my insurance policy apply to my out of state purchase?

A) It depends on your current insurance policy and whether or not the new vehicle is a permanent replacement of a current vehicle or an additional vehicle. As always, you should discuss the purchase with your insurance agent to determine if there is coverage prior to taking possession of the vehicle.