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Q

In the State of Massachusetts, what will happen if I have an expired inspection sticker?


A

If you have an expired inspection sticker you can get cited by law enforcement for this violation of the law. In Massachusetts driving with an expired inspection sticker can result in a $50 fine and an insurance surcharge according to the information we have read on this topic.

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) site also notes that after 60 days with no inspection or waiver action, the RMV will suspend a resident's vehicle registration for inspection maintenance (I/M) reasons. If you have any questions regarding an expired inspection sticker, try contacting the Registry of Motor Vehicles' Inspection Maintenance Department at (617) 351-9333.

As you are likely aware starting in 2008 the state of Massachusetts no longer determines auto insurance rates but now allows insurance companies to determine their own rates, however these rates must be approved and filed with the state. So it will be up to the rating system of your insurance carrier in Massachusetts to determine if the expired inspection sticker traffic ticket conviction will affect your rates or not.

This insurance situation is a change over how in previous years the insurance regulator set the rates and the rating system/surcharges with the Safe Driver Insurance Plan (SDIP). For years the Safe Driver Insurance Plan set the specific credits and surcharges that your insurance company was required to apply to your premium. With the introduction of managed competition in MA as of April 1, 2008, insurance companies are no longer required to use the SDIP to determine surcharges for at-fault accidents and traffic violations and apply credits for incident-free years. Instead, insurers may choose to develop their own merit rating plans or to continue using the SDIP.

If your insurer uses the SDIP, there are incentives are given to ensure that drivers with clean driving records pay less for their auto insurance. You can read about the SDIP on the MA Insurance regulator's site.

With the SDIP no surcharge points are assigned to the first non-criminal minor traffic violation in the 5 years immediately preceding the effective date of your policy. So if this was your first violation and your insurer still uses the SDIP to determine surcharges than this ticket may not affect your rates.

You can discuss this offense and the potential of a surcharge with your insurance agent to see how a conviction for having an expired inspection sticker can affect your car insurance rates.


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