Look, it happens. Your car is uninsured, and the sticker on the dash says it’s inspection time. Maybe you forgot to pay your car insurance bill and your policy lapsed. Or, you bought a car from a private seller and haven’t gotten insurance yet. You just want to avoid getting a ticket for an expired sticker. Can you get a vehicle inspection without auto insurance?
Can I get a state car inspection without insurance?
No. To get a MA state inspection, you must have auto insurance that meets the state’s minimum requirements. Massachusetts requires you to show your active registration to the state inspector. You can’t get a registration unless you have car insurance. If you have registered your car and your insurance lapses, the Registry of Motor Vehicles gets notified electronically and will suspend your registration. Since you also cannot legally drive an uninsured car in Massachusetts, you will need insurance to drive your car to its inspection. If your policy lapsed or you canceled it, don’t drive until you get a new policy. Otherwise, you’re opening yourself up to potential fines, legal trouble and financial responsibility for any accident you cause. Gaps in your insurance record can also make your premiums go up in the future, so make getting a new policy a priority.
Can I drive to an inspection station without insurance if I got a new car?
Nope. Any time you drive a car in Massachusetts, the car must have insurance. If you buy a car, you do need to get it inspected. But there’s a specific process you need to follow after buying a car. The inspection is the last step, not the first.
- Get auto insurance. You’ll need the insurance agent to stamp and sign an application for registration and title.
- Register the vehicle. Bring the application, plus the other required document(s), to a Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) service center.
- Finally, get your inspection. The state requires you to get an inspection sticker within seven days of registering your car.
What’s changed about the MA state vehicle inspection process?
The RMV changed the state’s vehicle inspection process in 2022. The biggest change is what happens if you’re late for your inspection. Before, the inspection station would give you a new sticker with the current month on it. For example, if your inspection was due in January 2021 and you didn’t get one until February 2021, your new sticker would be valid until February 2022.
With the changes to the vehicle inspection process, inspection stations now give drivers a new sticker dated with the month the inspection was due. So, if your inspection was due in January 2023 and you didn’t get one until February 2023, your new sticker would be valid until January 2024.
The RMV made this change to encourage drivers to get their inspections on time. Inspections reduce harmful emissions and keep dangerous cars off the road, so it’s important to the state that people take their cars to get inspected regularly.
Massachusetts made one other change to the state’s inspection process: who gets a printed report. To save paper, inspection stations now only print vehicle inspection reports if you fail your inspection. If you pass your inspection and want to see the report, you can find it on the MA Vehicle Check website.
The new inspection process has not changed the vehicle inspection itself. The inspection station will give you the same type of safety inspection as before, including an emissions test for vehicles with onboard diagnostic systems manufactured after 2008. If you fail the inspection because of emission related problems, the station will issue you a sticker with a black R on it. Then you’ll have to get your car repaired and come back for a re-inspection.
What happens if I drive with an expired inspection sticker in MA?
You don’t want to drive with an expired inspection sticker in Massachusetts or any state. In the Bay State, the police can issue a moving violation, ticket, and a fine if they catch you driving with an expired sticker. Plus, the moving violation will go on your driving record, setting you up for more expensive insurance premiums when you renew.
Where can I get my car tested and inspected?
You can use the station locator on the MA Vehicle Check website to find an inspection station near you. State inspections cost $35 for any passenger vehicle (car, minivan, pickup truck or SUV). They only take about 15 minutes. Need a quote to get car insurance before your inspection? Confused about state minimum requirements? We’ve got you covered.