Getting your license for the first time is a straightforward process in Massachusetts. Whether you are a young new driver, an older new driver or have just moved to Massachusetts – the RMV will assist you in getting your license. If you are a brand new driver you can also check out these money saving tips on getting your new driver car insurance.
Massachusetts New Drivers
Getting your license for the first time as a new driver is a straightforward process in Massachusetts. Whether you are a young new driver, an older new driver or have just moved to Massachusetts – the RMV will assist you in getting your license.
Once you have your license you can then get a car and, of course, car insurance – but you want to make 100% sure you can afford it because you never want your Car Insurance Cancelled for Non Payment.
How to Get Your Massachusetts License:
- Be a Massachusetts resident.
- If you are a brand new driver – you have already obtained a MA learner’s permit.
- Then pass a written test, driving test, and vision screening.
Massachusetts Learner’s Permit
You must get a Massachusetts learner’s permit before you can apply for a first time driver’s license. This permit allows you to learn and practice driving while accompanied by a licensed driver.
Your Massachusetts learner’s permit will be valid for 2 years.
How to Apply for Your Learner’s Permit
- You must apply for a learner’s permit in person at a MA RMV office.
- Complete an application. You can also start your learners permit application online.
- Provide proof of your birth date, such as – Your U.S. passport, An original or certified copy of your birth certificate or your U.S. marriage certificate.
- A document verifying your signature, such as your – U.S. passport, Social Security card or your U.S. marriage certificate.
- Proof you are a MA resident, such as your Mortgage documents or rental agreement, your Policy paperwork for home or renters insurance or a utility bill no more than 60 days old.
- Your Social Security number.
- Payment for the $30 fee. You can pay your fee online.
- Passing scores on the written permit test and vision screening.
Apply for a New Massachusetts Driver’s License
To apply for a new Massachusetts driver’s license you must go in person to the RMV. There are some new requirements to obtain a valid Massachusetts drivers license – you can see them here.
- Contact the Massachusetts RMV at (800) 858-3926 to schedule your driving test.
- Complete a Road Test application. Schedule your road test online.
- You can prepare for your road test by watching this You Tube video.
- You can also check out these tips to help you pass your driving test.
- You will need a registered and insured vehicle – plus someone to come with you.
- A sponsoring driver who is at least 21 years old, has at least 1 year of driving experience and has a valid U.S. driver’s license.
- Payment for the $20 driving test fee.
- Show your stamped and signed learner’s permit (after completing the driving test).
- A completed license and ID card application.
- Payment for the $50 new driver’s license fee. You can pay your fee online.
Are You a New Massachusetts Resident?
You should exchange your out-of-state driver’s license for a Massachusetts driver’s license as soon as you become a MA resident. But most insurance companies will allow you to wait up to 1 year.
You can get insurance and register a vehicle in Massachusetts with your active out of state license.
- Provide your out-of-state driver’s license, a photo ID AND if you have it a certified driving record no more than 30 days old.
- Proof of your birth date, such as your – Out-of-state driver’s license, U.S. passport or Birth certificate (original or certified copy).
- Proof of your signature, such as your – U.S. passport, Loan or lease documents or Marriage certificate.
- Proof of your MA residency, such as your – Mortgage or lease paperwork, Home or renters insurance policy or Utility bill up to 60 days old.
- Your Social Security number.
- Payment for the $120 fee.
Remember, the MA RMV does NOT accept photocopies of documents.
If your out-of-state driver’s license is expired, you may have to pass RMV tests to get your new MA driver’s license. So be sure your out of state license is active when go to apply for your new Massachusetts driver’s license.
Why is Car Insurance Expensive for Teen Drivers?
Teen drivers between the ages of 16 to 19, are at greater risk than any other age group for motor vehicle crashes and or motor vehicle violations. This is why they are placed in a category of high risk drivers. We can provide you with tips to find the best car insurance in Massachusetts. In the mean time, these are some factors that contribute to 60% of teens having an incident in their first year of driving:
- Driver Inexperience
Teens with less than two years of driving experience are not equipped to recognize and react to dangerous situations. Crash risk is particularly high during the first months after earning a license because teenagers can get nervous while they are driving. Good driving techniques develop through experience and young drivers will inevitably make more mistakes during these initial learning stages.
- Distracted Driving
Distracted driving includes engaging in any type of activity that takes your eyes and mind off the road, such as using your phone, eating, turning on the radio, doing your make-up and interacting with passengers. The smallest distraction can lead to a disaster. Distracted driving becomes even more dangerous at nighttime when visibility is reduced. Massachusetts now has “Distracted Driving” listed as a moving violation.
- Not Wearing Your Seat Belt
It has been proven that seat belts significantly reduce the risk of fatal and serious car accident injuries, and teenagers can endanger themselves and others by ignoring precautionary measures. Most new drivers skip this and do not wear their seat belts. This is why Massachusetts has now made it the law to wear your seat belt – as they say Click it or Ticket”! It is the smart thing to do.
- Drinking and Driving
Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs can turn deadly even for experienced drivers. Teenagers are generally more prone to engage in these dangerous behaviors. If you combine this with their lack of experience then driving while intoxicated becomes a very common cause of teen motor vehicle accidents.
- Reckless Driving
Unfortunately, 1 in 3 young drivers are speeding at the time of their incident. Male teens are especially at risk for being involved in fatal reckless driving accidents. Other reckless driving practices include making illegal turns or lane changes, tailgating, and street racing. Just take your time when you are driving. As I always say “speeding does not get you there any quicker”. Reckless driving also deals with being able to avoid any type of road rage. You never want to get involved in this. It is not worth it and can lead to some very bad outcomes. Learn how to deal with road rage and avoid it at all costs.
- Driving with Other Teen Passengers
One of the biggest distractions for young drivers is riding with their friends. This also increases the risk of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and engaging in reckless driving through peer pressure. Young drivers like to impress their friends and this can, unfortunately, lead to unforeseen problems.
- Texting and Driving
This is a big one. Today almost every teen has a smart phone. Therefore, texting and driving has become a major cause of auto accidents and distracted driving involving teens. Stay off of your phone while you are driving – it is not worth it. Either pull over to text or wait until you get home.
Common Traffic Violations
As a new driver you need to be very careful about how you drive. Going forward in your life your car insurance price will be dependent on how safe you are as a driver. Massachusetts uses a point system concerning your driving record.
Minor traffic violations like speeding, seat belt violations and no inspection sticker can account for 2 points on your record. Major violations like drunk driving, refusing to obey police and accidents can get you any where from 3-5 points on your record. Each point can account to between 10% and 20% more on your auto insurance! This can add up so please be careful out there and most important of all – no speeding!
If you do get points on your driving record and you feel you were not at fault – you can always appeal a surcharge on your driving record. This process can take up to 8 months to complete but if you do win the appeal they will remove your points and any insurance company that charged you extra for those points will have to credit you back that money.
Time to Get Your Car Insurance
As a new driver in Massachusetts, the rate you get on your car insurance depends on how long you have been driving, where you live, what kind of coverage you want and the type of car. Your first year of driving will be the most expensive for car insurance. Then it will start to go down – as long as you have no incidents on your diving record. When you call us for a quote or stop in our office to get you insurance be sure to have all the documents you will need to get your insurance. This will make your experience with us quick and smooth.
In addition if you buy a car for cash and you get the title from the seller you may want to consult with your agent on exactly where to sign the title, so you don’t make any mistakes. A mistake on a title can delay you registering the vehicle for 1-2 weeks. At Western Mass Auto Insurance we offer full registry services for all of our customers so we are experts on the registry process. Contact us for any questions concerning this.
Thinking of Getting Your Car Insurance Online?
With all the TV ads out there from GEICO and Progressive it is very tempting for new drivers to get their insurance from these online companies rather than through a local agent. But are they all they are cracked up to be? And can you really save the big money with them like they promise? Check out this article on Western Mass Auto Insurance vs. GEICO and see for your self.
Know What Kind of Insurance You Are Getting
One of the huge benefits of getting your insurance with a local agent is that they will be able to explain to you exactly the type of coverage you are purchasing. This is very important. When you leave from getting your insurance you need to be sure you know exactly what you are covered for and what you are not covered for. This is where a good agent (like Western Mass Auto Insurance) is your best choice for new driver insurance.
Most importantly you want to review and know your coverage’s before you have a claim. Too often I see people contacting their agent after they have a claim to be surprised that they do not have the coverage they thought they had. Ask questions and listen carefully to what your coverage’s are and you can avoid any surprises if you have a claim on your insurance.
How Much Insurance Should You Get?
There are many factors that go into just how much insurance you should buy.
- How much you can afford to buy. You need to keep the insurance payment within your budget so your insurance won’t get cancelled because you can’t afford it.
- If you are buying an older vehicle – over say 7 years old – most people opt for minimum liability coverage. For example as a new driver in the Springfield, Mas area it can run up to $3000 for the year just for basic state required car insurance.
- If you want a nicer, newer car and you are financing this vehicle then you need to get Full Coverage – this would include Collision and Comprehensive coverage. As ca new driver this can get very expensive. I do not recommend this option as it will lock you into a very high car insurance payment for at least the first 3 years.
- Discuss the different options with your local insurance agent and make sure you understand exactly what you are getting.
- You can also check out our tips for how to choose the right insurance coverage.
Car Insurance Claims
This is the unfortunate part about car insurance. Obviously you never want to have to file a claim with your car insurance company but it is all part of the deal. Accidents happen and this is why you have your car insurance – to protect you and your vehicle in case of an incident.
If you do have an accident of some type be sure to contact your agent and they will guide you through the process of filing a car insurance claim. Any time you have an incident and need to file a claim, it is an inconvenient process. It will be necessary to call the claims department of your insurance company, get a claim number, arrange to have someone look at your vehicle and in many cases people get injured – this may require medical attention and/or visiting a chiropractor.
There are countless lawyers out there who specialize in auto insurance claims and most will give you a free initial consultation to determine if you have a case that they want to get involved with. Either way have patience with your claim and in most cases things will be resolved within a reasonable amount of time.
How to Cancel Your Massachusetts Car Insurance
In Massachusetts there are two ways to cancel your car insurance.
- If you are getting insurance from someone else and you wish to change companies or agents – then a 2A form needs to be sent to your agent by your new agent or new company.
- If you have sold your car and wish to cancel your insurance then you will need to cancel your license plates. This can be done at the RMV, at your agents office or online. Your license plates control your insurance, if they are active the company will keep charging you for insurance – if you cancel them you can remove the car from your policy or cancel the insurance all together.
Teaching Your Teen to Drive
- Give your teen extra practice behind the wheel. Get them enrolled in n school driver’s-ed programs or a private driving school “Practice makes better,” so provide as much driver education as possible.
- If your teen makes a mistake, ask him or her to pull over, then calmly talk about what went wrong and how the situation might be handled differently next time.
- You can start with basic skills, then introduce other scenarios such as driving at night, on country roads, in bumper-to-bumper traffic, on freeways, at dusk, in rainy weather and so on. It’s a good idea to ask your child’s drivers-ed instructor which areas they are good at and which ones need more training.
- Depending on how your teen is driving, you can prolong the learner’s-permit stage for your teen from the usual period of six months to twelve months. Give them their driving privileges at a pace that you feel your teenager can handle.
- Spend an afternoon teaching your child how to perform routine car maintenance such as checking the air pressure in the tires, the water level in the battery, oil and transmission fluid, and the windshield-wiper fluid. Also show him or her how to change a flat tire. These are all practical skills that are good for anyone to know, not just a teen.
- Avoid sleek, high-performance vehicles that may tempt teens to speed. Sport utility vehicles are generally frowned upon for teens as well; their higher centers of gravity make them less stable and more likely to roll over.
- Set a good example. As a parent, you are a powerful role model. No speeding, no weaving in and out of traffic, no drinking and driving, no texting at the wheel, no fiddling with your smartphone to stream a favorite song and definitely no road rage because the car in front is poking along. Plus be absolutely sure you use your seat belts at all times.
Teen Rules of the Road
Even after teens receive their license, they are still in the process of learning how to drive – at least for their first 3 years of driving. This is why car insurance rates go down significantly after they have been driving for 3 years.
- No driving or riding with others under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, including marijuana.
- Because teens are easily distracted, insist that they have no more than two friends in the car at a time. Consider implementing a no-friends rule for the first few months of licensed driving.
- No eating or drinking while driving.
- Music must be kept at low to moderate volume.
- Smartphones, radios, CD players, and MP3 players shouldn’t be “fiddled with” while driving.
- Everyone in the vehicle must wear a seat belt at all times. Failure to use seat belts more than triples the risk of injury in a serious crash.
- Initially, until they learn more, no nighttime driving. Driving when it’s dark is more demanding, especially for new teen drivers, who are four times more likely to die in a car crash at night than during the day.
- No driving when tired, angry, or upset.
- No driving beyond a certain distance from home. If your teen wants to travel beyond the boundaries you’ve established, they must ask permission.
- No talking on a phone when the vehicle is in motion – except if using your Bluetooth feature which does not require them to hold their phone.
- Definitely no texting while driving!
That’s it for now. This article should give you a good understanding about Massachusetts car insurance for new drivers.
We insure hundreds of new drivers and would welcome to opportunity to assist you as well. Safe driving and remember – no speeding!