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Distracted driving in Massachusetts

What is changing?

A new Massachusetts Distracted Driving Law takes effect February 23, 2020 (with a grace period for violations until March 31): use of handheld electronic devices while driving is banned – no looking at text, videos, or images.  “Hands-free” mode is still allowed.


  • First offense = $100
  • Second offense = $250
  • Subsequent offenses = $500

Electronic devices may be used in the following exceptions:

  • If you are in a stopped vehicle, and the vehicle is not in a public way intended for travel by motor vehicles or bicycles.
  • If you are in or responding to an emergency situation.
  • If you are using your device to view a map for navigation purposes and the device is mounted to the vehicle’s windshield, dashboard or center console.

These past suggestions from the Registry of Motor Vehicles can help drivers stay focused on the road:

10 tips for managing driver distractions

  1. Turn it off. Turn your phone off or switch to silent mode before you get in the car. Or better yet, put the phone away in a place it cannot be accessed while driving.
  2. Spread the word. Set up a special message to tell callers that you are driving and you’ll get back to them as soon as possible, or sign up for a service that offers this.
  3. Pull over. If you need to make a call, pull over to a safe area first.
  4. Use your passengers. Ask a passenger to communicate for you.
  5. X the text. Don’t ever text and drive, surf the web or read your email while driving. It is dangerous and against the law in most states.
  6. Know the law. Familiarize yourself with state and local laws before you get in the car.
  7. Prepare. Start your GPS or review maps and directions before you start to drive. If you need help when you are on the road, ask a passenger to help or pull over to a safe location to review the map and/or directions.
  8. Secure your pets. Pets can be a big distraction in the car. Always secure your pets properly before you start to drive.
  9. Keep the kids safe. Pull over to a safe location to address situations with your children in the car.
  10. Focus on the task at hand. Refrain from smoking, eating, drinking, reading and any other activity that takes your mind and eyes off the road.

January 8, 2020   No Comments

Active Atlantic Hurricane Season

GET PREPARED!  The government offers details on preparing BEFORE a storm.  Follow this link to get the information that can help you: https://www.ready.gov/hurricanes.

Hurricanes are increasing in number (see below), but it doesn’t have to be a hurricane to do damage.  GET PREPARED!

In May 2019, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was more optimistic about our hurricane season this year.  Since then, they have increased the likelihood of an…

  • above-normal season from 30% to 45%
  • near-normal activity has dropped from 40% to 35%
  • below-normal activity has dropped from 30% to 20%

Now, we will likely have:

  • 10-17 named storms
  • 5-9 hurricanes
  • 2-4 major hurricanes

El Nino is the culprit.  Or actually, lack of El Nino.  It had been suppressing  Atlantic hurricane activity, but has ended and now we go back to normal.

So be aware, storms are coming for us.  But I don’t need to tell you that, just watch the news.

Reminder: the hurricane season officially runs from June 1st through November 30th.

Source: The Standard, August 23, 2019

September 9, 2019   No Comments

Fake RMV Websites – Be Aware

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) warns consumers to ensure they are using the official MassDOT RMV website http://www.mass.gov/rmv when processing any transaction online
While searching for the Registry website, customers may inadvertently come across unofficial third-party websites or “mimic sites” that advertise similar services but have no affiliation with the RMV.
Red flags alerting you this is not the official RMV website:
  • Massachusetts uses the abbreviation “RMV.” Any website using the phrase “Department of Motor Vehicle” or “DMV” should be avoided.
  • Make sure the Commonwealth’s seal is located somewhere on the page. This will help ensure that is it an official government website.
  • The Registry will never charge a customer for
  • Forms
  • Information
  • Status check (license, registration, title)
  • Address changes
  • If the site requires payment to access this information, it is an unsecured mimic site.

July 23, 2019   No Comments

Home Oil Leak Coverage

In 2010 Massachusetts enacted a law to address oil leaks from home heating systems (Chapter 453 of the acts of 2008).

The law has two major provisions that required:

  1. The installation of either an oil safety valve or an oil supply line with protective sleeve on systems that do not currently have these devices; and
  2. Insurance companies that write homeowner policies to offer coverage from heating systems that use oil.

At the time, most homeowner policies did not include such coverage, leaving many to pay for costly cleanups – as much as $25,000 – out of their own pocket. Although it is now mandatory that insurance companies offer this coverage, the insurance is an optional purchase for homeowners.

What coverage is available?

  1. First party coverage (for the homeowners themselves) of at least $50,000 for the cost of cleaning up a leak to soil, indoor air, or other environmental media from a home heating system at the residence itself and reimbursement for personal property damages, and
  2. Third party coverage (for other claimants) of at least $200,000 for the cost of dealing with conditions on and off the insured’s property as the leak has or is likely to affect groundwater or someone else’s property

For homes to be eligible for the insurance coverage, homeowners must ensure their oil heating systems are in compliance with or exempt from the law. Exemptions:

  • The oil burner is located above the oil storage tank and the entire oil supply line is connected to and above the top of the tank, or
  • An oil safety valve or oil supply line with protective sleeve was installed on or after January 1, 1990, and
  • Those changes comply with the oil burning equipment regulations; a copy of the oil burner permit from the local fire department may be used to demonstrate compliance.

Please note: Oil heating systems installed on or after January 1, 1990 are most likely already in compliance because state fire codes implemented these requirements on new installations at that time.

Next steps: Have your licensed oil burner technician give you a certificate of compliance and contact us to add this important coverage to your homeowner policy.

Please contact us with any questions.  That is why we are here.

April 18, 2019   No Comments

In Control Crash Prevention – February Break

Nothing for the kids to do this break?  Sign them up for In Control Crash Prevention Training: https://www.driveincontrol.org/feb19  They are offering a discount over the break.

Then send us a copy of the certificate & get a discount on your auto insurance.  Win-win.

This training goes beyond the basic driver training most people take before getting their driver’s license.  It is intended for currently licensed drivers to capitalize on what they already know.  A little bad weather would be a bonus – let the professionals teach your kid to drive in the snow & ice!

February 12, 2019   No Comments

All About Ice Dams

Past New England winters have proven, ice dams do real damage and are the gift that keep on giving.  After the storm, the temperature warms up, the sun shines a bit brighter, you are smiling and suddenly the roof is crying.  It is the ice dam, stuck under your roof, melting.  Causing additional damage inside and out of your home.  Check out this summary, All About Ice Dams, to help you prevent & fight ice dams.

January 14, 2019   No Comments

Military & Veteran RMV Information

Military & Veteran RMV Information

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January 22, 2018   No Comments

As seen on TV

Accident Forgiveness & Disappearing Deductible

You see the ads on TV, you know the coverage exists but you don’t know if you have it on your policy.  Contact us to find out and get a price if you do not already carry the coverage.


Don’t wait to ask when it is too late!

December 6, 2016   No Comments

MA DOT: Online Registration Cancellations Using an SSN

Customers processing a registration cancellation transaction online can now use their full social security number (SSN) to validate their identity.

The information customers can use to validate their identity now include any one of the following:

Massachusetts license/permit number

Massachusetts FID number


Previously, a Massachusetts license/permit number was required. This was a problem for customers who had moved out-of-state, no longer had a Massachusetts license/permit, and were unable to proceed with the transaction as a result.

This change will allow more customers to use massrmv.com to cancel their registrations, reducing the number of

customers that need to contact the RMV from out-of-state.

If you need assistance, please contact our office.


October 13, 2016   No Comments

New mobile app



Use the app to:

Pay your bill

Report a claim

Contact our office

Create a home inventory

Request a liability certificate

And more…



June 3, 2016   No Comments

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