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New to Massachusetts Blog

Massachusetts RMV RTA form will replace both the RMV-1 and RMV-3

Posted by Gordon Atlantic Staff

Tue, Dec 03, 2019 @ 02:42 PM

The New RMV RTA form replaces both the RMV-1 and RMV-3 forms. If you are looking to do any of the following, you will need to fill out the Massachusetts RTA form:

Register and title a vehicle

Register previously titled vehicle

Transfer plate to a new vehicle

Title previously registered vehicle

Reinstate a registration

Transfer vehicle to surviving spouse

Apply for a salvage title

Change plate on existing vehicle with no amendments

Apply for a title only

Renew a registration

Apply for a registration only

Amend a registration

Transfer a plate between two vehicles

Picture of RMV RTA form

Click here to use our fillable RTA form

 

You will fill out the RTA differently depending on which of the above you are trying to do. Use this Registration and Title Application Instruction Guide from the Mass RMV and follow the instructions to correctly complete your form.

Click here for the Registration and Title Application Instruction Guide

If you have any questions about the Massachusetts RTA form or questions about your insurance, please give us a call at 800-649-3252 or click the button below to fill out our contact form and we will reach out to you.

INSURANCE QUESTION?

 

RMV-1 Form Download and Information

Posted by Gordon Atlantic Staff

Tue, Nov 26, 2019 @ 04:58 PM

What is the RMV-1?

Important Update: According to the Massaschusetts RMV website, the RMV-1 and RMV-3 form will no longer be accepted as of Monday, December 16, 2019. The replacement form for the RMV-1 and RMV-3 is the Registration and Title Application also known as the RTA. Click below to download a computer fillable version.

New RTA Fillable Form

Picture of RMV RTA form

 

Note: We have removed the download link to the RMV-1 Form as it is being fazed out and replaced with the new Massachusetts RMV RTA Form

 

An RMV-1 is a form that the Massachusetts RMV (Registry of Motor Vehicles) uses for registry transactions, including:

  • New plates for a new vehicle
  • A new title for a new vehicle
  • Transfer of existing plates from one car to another
  • Calculating and collecting Massachusetts Sales tax.

How to fill out the RMV-1

The form begins with the buyer’s name and address.  Your ‘registration’ ties your name to the plates you have on the new vehicle, whether you’re transferring plates (such as on a trade-in), or getting new plates.

The RMV-1 also populates the name(s) and address that goes on the title.  The title is a separate document that specifies ownership of the vehicle.   It will be the document that you use in the future to complete a sale when you’re ready to sell the car. 

The RMV-1 also includes any bank or lienholder, which also shows on the title.  This alerts the Massachusetts RMV (Registry of Motor Vehicles) that the new title (to the new owners) should be mailed to the bank or lienholder, who physically holds it until the loan is paid off.   If you’re buying a car with no loan, the title should go to your address directly; expect it usually within about a month.

On a purchase where the plates transfer (from the old car to the new one), ownership should agree with the previous vehicle’s ownership.  This distinguishes for example, whether one person owns the vehicle or if it’s owned jointly by husband and wife.   If the previous car was owned jointly, the new car will use the same joint ownership.   (This can be amended, in a separate transaction at the Registry, or you can just get new plates).

 

Massachusetts Sales Tax

Sales tax is also calculated.  When a dealer takes a trade-in from you, they will show the value of the new car, less the value of the old car (the trade-in), and the sate only charges you 6.25% of the net.  For example, if you trade in a $5,000 car to buy a $20,000 car, you’ll pay sales tax on $15,000.  However, when you buy from other than a dealer, such as all private transactions, you’ll pay either the sales tax on the full sales price, or a sales tax that the Registry calculates based on their estimate of its value.   This is because some sellers take payment for one amount but show a lesser amount to try to lower your tax burden.  The RMV is savvy to that, so they might charge you more than you expect when you get to the window.

 

Car Insurance

Speaking of the window, when you go to the Registry yourself, they’ll check that the new car has insurance.  That’s where we come in.  The RMV-1 has an insurance verification area.  If you’re not transferring plates (and therefore insurance), you might need a new insurance policy.   This is different from other states; Massachusetts wants that new car to have insurance when you get plates.  They won’t issue plates if you don’t have insurance.   If you’re buying a new car, call us for a broad variety of carrier options.  If you have insurance, we typically apply an ‘e-stamp’ on an electronic version (in a pdf).   On occasion we still use an old fashioned rubber stamp for some auto dealers that fax us RMV-1s or bring them physically to our office.

In summary, The RMV-1 is the same form that the Registry has used for decades, as the information is the same: name and address of new owners, description of the car, including year, make, model, and VIN (vehicle identification number), insurance company validation, seller information and bank or lienholder. 

INSURANCE QUESTION?

 

 

Tags: rmv, vehicle insurance, commercial vehicle, ma rmv, MA vehicle regs, rmv-1

The New Massachusetts Distracted Driving Law – What you need to know

Posted by Gordon Atlantic Staff

Tue, Nov 26, 2019 @ 11:39 AM

Driving while using your cell phone will be illegal in MA – What you need to know

person-woman-smartphone-car-3056On November 25 2019, Governor Baker signed a hands-free driving bill into law which will make it illegal to use your cell phone while driving, with a few exceptions. The law will go into effect February 23, 2020.

Here is an excerpt from the law: “No operator of a motor vehicle shall hold a mobile electronic device or “use a mobile electronic device unless the device is being used in hands free mode.” So essentially, you can use your phone while in the car, but it has to be in hands-free mode and the only time you can legally touch it is to activate hands-free mode.

One thing to note is that there is already a separate law on the books that went into place in 2010 that banned Massachusetts drivers under 18 from using a cell phone in any way while driving, even in hands-free mode. This same 2010 law also made it illegal for drivers of any age to read or text while driving.

Emergency exceptions

There are several emergency scenarios in which it is still OK to use your phone while driving. They are:

  • Reporting that your vehicle is disabled.
  • Calling to report there is a disabled vehicle or accident in the road.
  • Calling emergency services for the safety of the driver, passenger, or the safety of the public.
  • Calling to report that medical attention is needed.

Penalties for breaking the law

Although the law goes into effect on February 23, 2020, there will be a short grace period until March 31, 2020 during which first time violators of the new law will receive warnings. After this grace period ends, violators will be:

1. Fined $100 for their first time offense
2. Fined $250 for the second offense
3. $500 fine for their third or subsequent offense plus an increase in insurance cost.

Third time and subsequent offenders will also need to complete a mandatory educational course on preventing distracted driving.

To top it off, third time offenders and subsequent offenders will be hit with an increase in their insurance premium as these occurrences will be considered “surchargeable incidents”

Setting up Hands Free Mode on your device

So the main takeaway here is that violating this law will get expensive and inconvenient fast. Now is a good time to figure out hands-free mode on your device in preparation for February 2020.

Here is a brief guide explaining how to active hands free mode for iPhone:

iPhone : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tkCYzPalSA

For other phone types do a Google search for “How to activate hands free mode on (your phone name here)”. Setup for most devices is easy and usually only takes about a minute or less.

 

In Summary

Statistics have shown that distracted driving is dangerous and expensive. According to an April 2018 report by the U.S. Department of Transportation, 9 people per day die and over 1000 are injured in accidents involving distracted drivers.   One in four accidents is caused by distracted driving nationally.   Hopefully the new law will prevent some of those distracted driving deaths and injuries in Massachusetts and make for a better driving experience for everyone throughout the state. The bottom line: don’t do other stuff while driving – just drive!

 

Your Guide to Winter Activites in Massachusetts

Posted by Gordon Atlantic Staff

Tue, Nov 19, 2019 @ 10:22 AM

Your Guide to Winter Activities in Massachusetts 

Winter takes some getting used to.  While there are great recreational opportunities in winter, we're usually content early in the season to hunker down and just try to stay warm.  And yet I heard the other day that the average American gains 10 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  If ever there was a time to get out of the house, it's during this stretch. 

Below are some resources for ideas, but consider also very local resources to you.  Here in Norwell, the North and South Rivers Watershed Association has a great "get outdoors' tab (linked here).    

woman-man-and-girl-sitting-on-snow-1620653

Massachusetts Winter Activities January 2020
https://www.bostoncentral.com/boston-events-january

Massachusetts Winter Activities February 2020
https://www.boston-discovery-guide.com/boston-event-calendar-february.html

More Winter Activities 
https://www.discovernewengland.org/events

Tags: winter activities, Massachusetts Winter, Winter in New England Activities

Mass REAL ID - Everything you need to know

Posted by Gordon Atlantic Staff

Tue, Nov 05, 2019 @ 03:48 PM

Mass REAL ID - Everything you need to know

 

Why do I need a Massachusetts Real ID?

After October 2020 you will need a REAL ID or a passport to fly within the United States or enter federal buildings


How do I get a Massachusetts Real ID?

Go to the Registry of Motor Vehicles with the proper documentation to begin the process. You will need to prove 3 things before getting your REAL ID:

  1. S citizenship or lawful presence
  2. Social Security Number
  3. Massachusetts residency

Please note that any documents you bring to prove the above will need to be originals to be accepted by the RMV and that one document cannot be used to prove multiple requirements. Visit the RMV website to see which types of documents are accepted to prove the above requirements. https://www.mass.gov/guides/massachusetts-identification-id-requirements

If you need help understanding what type of documentation to bring here is our breakdown:

The documentation they’ll require to issue you a REAL ID can be broken down into three general categories:

                Lawful presence:  Meaning, you’re allowed to be here.   Your U.S. passport or original birth certificate, or foreign passport with unexpired visa will do the trick for this part.  If you don’t have any of these, get an official birth certificate reissued from the Town Hall where you were living when you were born.   A copy won’t do it.  You need the original.

                Your Social Security number: Bring your original Social Security card if you can locate it, or a W-2 or 1099 tax form from your last tax year.    A pay stub with your social security number on it will work too, but not many employers print social security numbers on pay stubs any more.

                Massachusetts residency: Lots of choices here, but bring at least two of these for your REAL ID: current driver’s license, government mail received in the past 60 days, including property tax or excise tax bill, Firearm ID card, , utility bill, bank statement, pension statement, or auto or home insurance policy.  (If you’re a Gordon Atlantic Insurance customer, you can get a copy of these policy documents right from the Gordon Atlantic Insurance customer pp!)


How much does a REAL ID cost?

According to the RMV website, a real ID costs $50 which is the same as a license if you decide to get it at the time of renewal. However, if you wish to get a REAL ID before your license renewal date, it will cost $25 for an “amendment fee”.


What is the difference between a Massachusetts REAL ID and a standard Massachusetts Driver’s License?

  • A Massachusetts REAL ID can be used to board a plane in the US or enter US federal buildings after October 2020. A standard license won't be able to do this.
  • The only noticeable visual difference between a REAL ID and a standard MA Driver’s License is a yellow star in the upper right hand corner of the REAL ID. A driver’s license won’t have the star but instead the words “NOT FOR FEDERAL ID”. See the example image below from the RMV

RealID comparison

Tags: travel, rmv, ma rmv, MA REAL ID, Massachusetts REAL ID

Your Guide to Fall in Massachusetts

Posted by Gordon Atlantic Staff

Tue, Jul 30, 2019 @ 04:37 PM

fall-1171254-639x427

Places to go Apple Picking: https://www.bostonmagazine.com/arts-entertainment/best-apple-picking-near-boston-massachusetts/

Corn Mazes in New England: https://newengland.com/today/seasons/fall/best-corn-mazes/

List of fall activities in Massachusetts
https://www.funtober.com/festivals/massachusetts/

Halloween Events in New England
https://www.massvacation.com/explore/holidays/halloween/

 

Contact Us

Tags: fall

Your guide to summer in Massachusetts

Posted by Gordon Atlantic Staff

Thu, Jun 27, 2019 @ 03:29 PM

Gordon Atlantic insurance is pleased to offer the official guide to summer in Massachusetts. Check out the links below.

Summer fireworks schedule and locations - Click Here

Things to do on Cape Cod This Summer - Click Here

Striped Bass on the South Shore

Posted by Geoffrey Gordon

Fri, May 03, 2019 @ 12:03 PM

The great sport fish, the striped bass, is making its way up the eastern seaboard, and the buzz with local anglers is palatable. Most stripers that come to Massachusetts Bay wintered in Chesapeake Bay with its rich estuaries and moderate temperatures. Each spring they begin their journey north in search of food. They're due.

The food of choice around here are herring. Three herring spawning brooks feed the North River and are aptly named the First Herring Brook (in Scituate), the Second Herring Brook (in Norwell, where my father had a trap line behind his house as a kid), and the Third Herring Brook, the boundary separating Norwell and Hanover. Over the past several years, the North and South Rivers Watershed Association  has led an effort to remove dams from these brooks. Dams had powered mills back in the day, but lost their economic usefulness decades ago.  Their removal has paid off big in the resurgence of herring stock. Even native trout, gold standard habitat seekers, have returned to these brooks.striper and angler

Resurgent herring bring more than striped bass. The North River is alive with cormorants and ducks, egrets and great blue herons, and osprey and eagles. Every fisherman knows, here there are water fowl, there are fish.

The herring count in 2019 has been epic. Stop at the Third Herring Brook where River Street (Norwell) becomes Broadway (Hanover), through a pair of polarized glasses be amazed at the number of herring making their way up-stream. This food supply is why Stripers like the North River and nearby ocean.

Today (early May) in Massachusetts Bay the water temperatures are getting to the high 40’s, so the migrating fish aren’t be far behind. Edgartown water is now at 50 degrees (in early May); Plymouth and Mattapoisett are at 49. These temperatures are a few weeks late this year with all the rain and cloud cover  (often the first fish arrive the third week in April). But they're where the fish are comfortable enough to begin feeding here.

A lot of fishing is done alone, or with a single fishing buddy.  I personally like the alone time.  But fishing can be a great community event, such as the annual  NSRWA fishing tournament, happening in just a few weeks, the weekend of June 7-9.  That linked page will also describes many best fishing practices.

The overall striper population is under pressure on the East coast.  Overfishing and loss of spawning habitat in the Chesapeake are two commonly cited reasons.  With recreational anglers taking 75% of the fish (commercial fishermen taking the rest), a careful harvest is in everyone’s best interests.

Studies estimate a 9% mortality rate by recreational fishermen of caught and released striped bass . What can a recreational angler do to keep more fish alive?striper huge GG

  • Know the regulations. This year in Massachusetts the fish must be 28” long to keep; you may possess only one.  If you do keep a fish, filet, ice, and eat is as soon as possible. On the grill with a just a little mayo and fresh chopped dill is my favorite.
  • Retrieve quickly: don’t wait till the fish is so exhausted that it will die when you unhook and release it.
  • Skilled anglers remove multiple treble hooks from lures leaving only tail hooks to avoid fouling and facilitate hook removal.  You’ll still catch fish that bite, but you’ll always remove one hook faster than two, increasing the fish’s chance of survival. 
  • Return the fish to water as quickly as possible. This fish has just fought for its life and needs oxygen which it won't get above water.  If your landed fish is listless, help it get water through its gills by gently pushing it back and forth through the water. If successful, the fish will gain consciousness and take off.  You'll know.
  • This last one can be hard: release the monsters, like this holdover I caught last May  Female stripers are the bigger fish, and they carry thousands of eggs.  Let the really big ones go. The meat isn't as good, or as healthy, either. 

Respect the water and the habitat. Most fishermen are great stewards of our natural resources: that’s why we’re out there in all kinds of weather at all times of the day.   Retrieve debris including all your own line and we’ll all continue to enjoy the great outdoors, and with any luck, even catch a fish or two.

Tight lines!  

Tags: fishing, striped bass

Jacobs Pond: An Underrated Kayak or Canoe Spot

Posted by Geoffrey Gordon

Mon, Jul 31, 2017 @ 02:38 PM

Jacobs Pond Great Blue Heron

Recently, my wife and I decided to take our kayaks out on Jacobs Pond. What we found there was an unexpected array of wildlife and scenery on par with that of Maine or Canada. We live in Norwell and still were pleasantly surprised by what we saw, experiencing a truly relaxing afternoon right in our own town. Although the entire pond is beautiful, a real gem is found when you explore upstream.  Thankfully, we were greeted with sunshine and a beautiful day despite weeks of dismal clouds and rain.  Pictured throughout this blog are photos of the wildlife we took ourselves.

Jacobs Pond Turtles.jpg

Photographed is a Great Blue Heron and some painted turtles enjoying the sunshine. In addition to the Blue Heron and painted turtles, we saw a diverse population of animals such as osprey, cormorants, ducks, and bull frogs. 

When it comes to fishing, this area is shallow and a little weedy.  However, if you enjoy bass fishing, the pond is plentiful. Besides bass you may find perch, pickerel, and sun fish. Given its great location, Jacob's pond makes for a fun and tranquil afternoon out on the water. 

For access, use the Jacobs Lane entrance.  At this location you can both park and launch your kayaks/canoes into the pond.  Trail heads are located here as well.

Kayaking on Jacobs pond.jpgTo finish off the day, I recommend walking across the boardwalk to the island located in the pond. The boardwalk is right off the Jacobs Lane entrance and is a perfect way to cap off a relaxing kayak/canoe tour of Jacobs Pond.

For additional information about Jacobs Pond, including history and trail details, click here.

Insurance question? Click here.

Tags: norwell, wildlife, summer fun, Jacobs Pond, kayak, canoe

Can I use my Cell Phone when driving in Massachusetts?

Posted by Gordon Atlantic Staff

Thu, Dec 22, 2016 @ 01:35 PM

Welcome to Massachusetts….Now hang up that phone!!!

Cell phone.jpg

Each state has its own cell phone rules so it is important to be sure you know what they are if you are going to cross state lines.  For instance, in Connecticut and New Hampshire, any use of a hand-held device is prohibited.

However, in Massachusetts, drivers over 18 are allowed to use a hand held phone but are not allowed to text at all.  Keep in mind that as long as you are in a car and in the driver’s seat you cannot text.  That means if you are stopped at a red light or in traffic not moving it is NOT okay to text.

In Massachusetts, drivers under the age of 18 are banned from using any mobile device for any reason.  You cannot pick it up to plug in an address for directions, send a text, or call anybody. 

Another note, Bus Drivers are not allowed to use cell phones for anything; whether or not it is hand-held.

If you have any questions, or are not sure of the rules, it is best to err on the side of safety and caution and HANG UP THAT PHONE!!

Drive carefully and we hope that those around are as well!!

Tags: cell phones, new to massachusetts, driving, teen drivers, state laws

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