The Kessler Law Firm

Owning A Vehicle - Registration, Insurance, And Inspection

Whether you are a vehicle owner or registrant, or a driver of a vehicle owned or registered by someone else, it is your responsibility to make sure the vehicle is registered, insured, and inspected before the vehicle operates on a public roadway.




A registration allows a vehicle to be driven on public roadways and highways. A title certificate proves who owns the vehicle. You must be at least 16 to register a vehicle. You can title a vehicle at any age. A new resident of the state must get a New York registration within 30 days of establishing residence.

To register a vehicle, you must prove you own the vehicle or that the owner authorizes you to register it, that the vehicle is insured, that the state and county sales taxes have been paid and provide any required odometer reading and/or damage disclosure statement. 


To apply for registration, you must complete a Vehicle Registration/Title Application (MV-82). You must also present proof of name (6 points) and proof of date of birth. When your vehicle is registered, you will get vehicle plates, a registration document and a registration sticker for the windshield or vehicle plates. If you purchased a vehicle from someone other than a New York State registered dealership, you will also receive a 10-day inspection extension sticker on request when you register the vehicle. You must then have the vehicle inspected within 10 days from the date of registration. It should have a valid inspection sticker if you purchased the vehicle from a New York State registered dealer. The dealer must have the vehicle inspected within 30 days before they sell the vehicle to you. 


When you purchase a new or used vehicle from a dealer registered with the DMV, the dealer can register the vehicle for your and give you a temporary registration and, if you need them, new vehicle plates. The dealer can charge a processing fee for this service. It can also charge registration, vehicle plate and title fees. 


You title certificate will be mailed to you several weeks after the vehicle is registered. 


If you purchase a vehicle eight model years old or newer, the DMV will NOT register your vehicle or issue you a new title certificate unless the seller has completed and you have signed, both the odometer and the damage disclosure statements on the Certificate of Title (MG-999). These statements indicate whether the new title certificate should be described as “Rebuilt Salvage.”


If you purchase a vehicle 10 model years old or newer, make sure the private seller has completed the odometer statement on the back of the Certificate of Title (MG-999). The damage disclosure statement is not required for vehicles nine model years old or older. As the buyer, you must confirm the odometer statement as shown on the title certificate by writing your initials next to the odometer box on the title certificate. Compare the odometer statement on the title certificate with the odometer reading in the vehicle.


Most registrations are renewed every two years. Approximately 45 to 60 days before your registration will expire, you should receive a renewal reminder in the mail. If you changed your address and did not notify the DMV, you will not receive the reminder.  If you did not answer three or more parking tickets, or if your registration is suspended or revoked, you will not receive the reminder. Allow two weeks to process and deliver the registration. You are responsible to know when your registration expires and to renew it on time. This is true even if you do not get a reminder in the mail.


IMPORTANT: The DMV must examine every vehicle described as “Rebuilt Salvage,” OR SIMILAR WORDS, for stolen parts before the vehicle can be registered or titled. If you are to purchase a vehicle that is registered or titled out-of-state, contact a DMV Call Center for more information. 




Your vehicle must be covered by liability insurance as long as it is registered, even if you do not drive it. 


Minimum liability coverage is required of $50,000 against the death of one person and $100,000 against the death of two or more persons, $25,000 against injury to one person and $50,000 against injury to two or more persons and $10,000 against property damage. Insurance coverage limits refer to death, injury or damage related to any one incident. 


Before your liability insurance expires or is discontinued, return vehicle plates at any state or county motor vehicle office. Be sure to obtain a DMV Universal Receipt (FS-6T) to turn in your vehicle plates. If you do not do this, you may have to pay a civil penalty for each day the vehicle was not insured, or your vehicle registration can be suspended. If your vehicle is not insured for 90 days, unless you have turned in your vehicle plates, your driver license will also be suspended. 


If you receive a letter from the DMV that asks about your vehicle insurance, read it carefully and respond as directed in the letter.


Motorcycles must be insured, but you are not required to turn in the vehicle plate when your motorcycle insurance is discontinued or expires. 




Most vehicles sold in New York State must be inspected within 30 days of the date of transfer or sale and must have a certificate of inspection before delivery. If you purchase a vehicle from someone who is not a NYS dealer, you must have the vehicle inspected within 10 days after you register it. Make sure to request a “Ten-Day Time Extension for Motor Vehicle Inspection” (VS-1077). If a person moves to NYS, an inspection certificate that was issued before is valid until it expires or one year from the date it was issued, whichever occurs first. 


Under some conditions, vehicles sold at retail are exempt from the inspection requirement. These conditions are: transfer tor a “welfare to work” program; transfer of a chassis; transfer of a vehicle through factory direct delivery; transfer of a vehicle for registration in another state or country; transfer of a scrap vehicle; and transfer of a vehicle to a long-term lessee (lease buyout).


After the first inspection of your vehicle, it must be inspected at an official state-licensed inspection station before the expiration date on the current inspection certificate. An inspection is also required on change of registrant. Inspection stations have yellow and black “Official Motor Vehicle Inspection Station” signs. Heavy trucks, buses, tractors, and semi-trailers must be inspected at special “Heavy Vehicle” Inspection Stations and motorcycles at special Motorcycle Inspection Stations. 


Putting your signature on a registration renewal form certifies that the vehicle was inspected as required by law. Keep track of when your annual inspection is. Schedule a new inspection early, so you will have time to repair your vehicle if it does not pass.


After inspection, the vehicle inspector will issue a sticker for the vehicle to prove it has passed inspection. If your vehicle did not pass, the inspector will give you a rejection notice. In most cases, your vehicle must be repaired to meet standards and must be inspected again. A vehicle that is subject to a high enhanced or OBD II emissions inspection that fails a first inspection can qualify for a waiver. An attempt must be made to repair the malfunction and the cost for repairs must be at least $450. Many gasoline-powered vehicles (except motorcycles) must be inspected for exhaust emissions during the safety inspection. Exceptions are gasoline-powered vehicles that are 26 or more model years old, or less than two model years old, or registered as historic. Those vehicles are subject to a safety inspection only. 


Diesel-powered vehicles that operate in NYS, even if registered elsewhere, are subject to random roadside safety tests by the NYS Police and the NYS Department of Transportation. Vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) more than 8,500 pounds are subject to a Diesel fuel emissions inspection.