Motorcycle Registration in Massachusetts

Registering a motorcycle in Massachusetts is identical in most ways to registering a car or truck. You need to first insure your motorcycle and then take the stamped application to your nearest Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) office to get a certificate, sticker and plates.

How to Register a Motorcycle in Massachusetts

While the motor vehicle registration process in Massachusetts is basically the same no matter the vehicle―get insurance, turn in a stamped application to the RMV, get plates and a sticker for your vehicle―there are some differences in the process depending on if you bought your motor vehicle from an Massachusetts dealer, an out-of-state dealer or in a private sale.

If you bought your vehicle from a Massachusetts dealer:

  • The dealer should present you with a completed Application for Registration and Title (form RMV-1). You need to check it and sign it. If there is a lien against the vehicle, which generally happens if you're buying a motorcycle with a loan, this will be listed on the registration application.
  • Go to your insurance agent to obtain an active insurance policy and have the agent stamp and sign the application.
  • If you do not have a driver's license, a Massachusetts ID, or a Social Security number, you must provide proof of state residency. This requires showing any one of the following: your driver's license number; your MA ID card number; your Social Security number; or some other proof of state residency. You're exempt if you're a nonresident student, member of the military, senior citizen or disabled person.
  • Bring the registration application to your nearest Massachusetts RMV office, along with one of the following:
    • A Certificate of Origin (new motorcycles only)
    • The previous owner's title, if a titled vehicle
    • The bill of sale and proof of last registration, if a non-titled motorcycle.
  • Pay the registration fee, which varies depending on the type of vehicle and the plates you want. The dealer should have already collected a sales tax, which will go directly to the state Department of Revenue.

If you bought from an out-of-state dealer or in a private sale, the process is basically the same, except the out-of-state dealer will not supply you with the completed RMV-1 form, which you will obtain instead from your auto insurance company or agent. Private sales require a title or bill of sale from the previous owner of the vehicle.

After completing any of these transactions, you will receive a registration certificate, plates and a decal for the rear plate. You must obtain a vehicle inspection sticker 7 days of the registration date. To have your motorcycle inspected, you need to find an inspection station that accepts motorcycles. The inspection sticker will be affixed directly to the license plate.

Compulsory Insurance in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, you need to have at least the mandated minimum amount of insurance to register a motorcycle. There are four areas of the standard policy where Massachusetts requires insurance minimums:

  • Bodily injury to others: minimum of $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident.
  • Personal injury protection: up to $8,000 for medical expenses and lost wages.
  • Bodily injury caused by an uninsured vehicle: minimum of $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident.
  • Damage to someone else's property: minimum of $5,000 per accident is required.

These are minimum legal requirements. Your insurance agent is not allowed to stamp your registration application unless you meet these minimum requirements. You might want to purchase more insurance in all of these areas to protect yourself and your assets. You can work with your insurance agent to discuss what the best mix of coverage is for you.

Renewing Massachusetts Registrations

You can renew a Massachusetts motor vehicle registration online, by phone, by mail or at any RMV branch office. You will receive a renewal form before the registration is set to expire. You can use this form to renew the license in any method described above.

If you have any unpaid tickets (even parking tickets), unpaid child support, or a warrant issued in your name from any Massachusetts court, the RMV will not process your registration renewal. You cannot settle these debts or obligations with the RMV. You will need to settle any of outstanding debts or obligations with their respective agencies, and then have written proof of the settlements to show the RMV before the renewal will be allowed to proceed.

Lost Massachusetts Registrations

You can get a duplicate registration online, by phone, by mail or at any RMV branch office.

Massachusetts Registration Fees

Fees for Massachusetts registrations depend on the vehicle and the type of plate desired. Visit the RMV fee schedule on the official RMV website for complete information.

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