Up until April 2008, Massachusetts car insurance rates were at the sole discretion of the Massachusetts “Merit Rating Board”, who set the Massachusetts auto insurance rates based on the type of “at-fault” accident a driver caused, with discounts available if they had a good driving record. Since July 2011, the Merit Rating Board has been merged with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation – Registry of Motor Vehicles Division, but still has some influence over the types of car insurance in Massachusetts one is required to carry and the minimum liability limits of each.
Since the adaption of the “fixed-and-established” Safe Driver Insurance Plan and the introduction of more car insurance companies, Massachusetts car insurance rates – which were once the sixth highest in the country -have generally fallen to below the national average. An exceptionally low “road accident fatality rate” (less than half the national average) and a negligible number of uninsured drivers (less than one percent, according to the Insurance Research Council) should bring Massachusetts auto insurance rates down even further in the future.
Massachusetts Car Insurance Requirements
Massachusetts operates both a “no-fault” system of car insurance and a tort system. So, although you will be covered by the compulsory personal injury protection insurance in the event of any form of road traffic accident, once the limits of your personal injury compensation have been reached, you will have to claim compensation from the “at-fault” car driver.
It is also compulsory to carry uninsured/underinsured motorist protection, for although there are exceptionally few motorists on the roads of Massachusetts who are uninsured, the low liability limits could present a situation where the “at-fault” car driver does not have sufficient insurance coverage to handle all the costs of a serious accident.
The minimum liability limits for auto insurance in Massachusetts are:-
$20,000 for injury/death to one person
$40,000 for injury/death to more than one person
$5,000 for damage to property
$20,000/$40,000 for uninsured/underinsured motorist protection
$8,000 for personal injury protection
Massachusetts Auto Insurance Laws
Whenever you are on a public road in Massachusetts, you have to have proof of Massachusetts auto insurance with you in your vehicle. There are no alternative options other than car insurance in Massachusetts to prove your financial responsibility and there is no leniency shown to drivers using their vehicles without at least proof of the minimum required coverage. The minimum documentation you should have with you is the RMV-1 which shows the name(s) of the insured and insurer, the effective and expiration dates of the auto insurance policy, a description of the vehicle (including an identification number) and the limits of your car insurance liability.
In addition to court action, a fine and possible jail time for failing to provide proof of car insurance in Massachusetts, any traffic violations which where the grounds for being stopped in the first place will be added to your driving record for up to five years and you will pay an additional premium on top of your regular car insurance rates. There is no SR-22 insurance in Massachusetts, however if you have been stopped for driving under the influence, a first offence could see you banned from driving for up to a year, a second offence would mean compulsory participation in the State´s Ignition Interlock Program and subsequent offences will lead to a driving ban of at least eight years and a fine of $1,200 to reinstate your license.
Recommended Massachusetts Car Insurance Coverage
The first recommendation any Massachusetts car insurance company would make to you is to increase your minimum liability limits. Although uninsured/underinsured motorist protection is compulsory, should you be the “at-fault” driver in a catastrophic accident, and an injured party only has the minimum coverage for auto insurance in Massachusetts, you could still be personally liable for costs above $48,000 ($8,000 + $20,000 + $20,000). You should also increase your coverage for damage to property to at least $20,000 in case you are responsible for totaling another driver´s car.
Collision car insurance in Massachusetts should also be considered if you live in the Western or central area of Massachusetts, where wintery conditions can make roads treacherous to drive on, or comprehensive insurance if you live in one of the “Hot Spots” below, in which there is a higher chance that your car will be stolen.
Cheap Massachusetts Car Insurance Quotes
The State’s laws are set up to reward drivers with cheap car insurance in Massachusetts if they maintain a clean driving record. But consequently even a minor driving violation can hinder your chances of cheap Massachusetts car insurance quotes for five years. There are however several steps you can take to reduce the cost of auto insurance in Massachusetts, such as increasing the safety and security of your vehicle, paying a higher deductable on your collision/comprehensive auto insurance or participating in an advanced driving course.
In January 2011, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation initiated a pilot “Pay-as-you-Drive” program which will be of benefit to anybody who makes minimal use of their vehicle, and other discounts can be acquired by car-pooling and commuting to work by public transit. The best way to obtain cheap Massachusetts auto insurance quotes is to make multiple enquiries and compare the best in the market – something you can do easily by using the car insurance comparison toll at the top of this page.
Massachusetts Car Insurance Ratings
As well as a safe driving record being beneficial to receiving cheap car insurance quotes in Massachusetts, other factors combine to create your Massachusetts car insurance rating. This rating advises auto insurance companies in Massachusetts how much risk they are taking by offering you car insurance and effectively sets your Massachusetts car insurance rates. Of course, not all insurance companies compute their figures in the same manner and this means that they will charge different rates for the same driver.
Factors which contribute towards your Massachusetts car insurance rating include:-
- Where You Live – One of the first pieces of information a Massachusetts car insurance company will want to know about you is your zip code. This is because certain areas suffer from a higher rate of road traffic accidents, vehicle theft and inclement weather.
- Your Age and Gender – Statistically, young drivers tend to be involved in more accidents in Massachusetts – many of which they are responsible for. Boys, rather than girls, tend to be the main perpetrators, and their insurance premiums are adjusted accordingly.
- Marital Status – Again based on data collected by Massachusetts auto insurance companies, if you are married, you are considered to be a more careful road user. Once you start a family, you can expect your Massachusetts car insurance rates to fall even further.
- Make and Model of Vehicle – Even though your brand new car is much more valuable than your neighbors, you may be paying lower car insurance rates in Massachusetts if yours has the latest anti-theft and safety features.
- Your Credit Rating – Research has shown that if you are responsible with your money, you are likely to be responsible on the roads. A good credit rating implies a good road user, and if you have a clear credit card, offer to pay a full year´s auto insurance premiums in advance – you could attract further car insurance discounts in Massachusetts.
Most Stolen Vehicles in Massachusetts
Another factor which contributes towards your overall Massachusetts car insurance rating is how likely your car is to get stolen. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) publishes a report each year on the most commonly stolen vehicle in each of the nation´s States. If yours appears on this list, speak to your auto insurance company about what measures you can take to reduce your car insurance rayes in Massachusetts.
The list for 2010 of the ten most popular vehicles stolen in Massachusetts looked like this:-
- Honda Civic
- Honda Accord
- Toyota Camry
- Acura Integra
- Toyota Corolla
- Dodge Caravan
- Ford Explorer
- Nissan Maxima
- Grand Cherokee
- Nissan Altima
Where You Car May Get Stolen in Massachusetts
Fortunately vehicle theft in Massachusetts is not such a big issue as it is in some other States. However, where it is more commonplace, you could be paying higher car insurance rates in Massachusetts. The NICB, as well as highlighting the most frequently stolen vehicles, also publishes a list of where they are stolen from. The “Hot Spots” register is comprised of the 360 national metropolitan districts in which vehicle theft is most prevalent compared against the number of people who live in that district.
Therefore, although there were more vehicle thefts during 2010 in Boston (7,011) than there were in Springfield (1,349), Springfield occupies a higher position in the national register due to its lower population. The six areas which qualified for the NICB´s “Hot Spots” register in 2010 were (national position in brackets):-
- New Bedford (143)
- Springfield (150)
- Boston (199)
- Worcester (246)
- Barnstable Town (340)
- Pittsfield (341)
Massachusetts Car Insurance Companies
The car insurance industry could be accused of not taking advantage of the opportunities that exist in Massachusetts, and a much lower number of auto insurance companies compete for business than in most other States. However, now that some of the national companies are entering the market, car insurance rates in Massachusetts are becoming more competitive. The list below offers a selected list of the major players in the Massachusetts auto insurance market. Those which we have already reviewed are underlined, and more will follow soon.
|AMICA Mutual||Liberty Mutual||Plymouth Rock Assurance|
|Arch||Metropolitan||Quincy Mutual Fire|
|Commerce||Mount Vernon Fire||Safety|
|Encompass||Norfolk & Dedham||USAA|
|Farm Family Casualty|
As with auto insurance in any American State, the way to get the best deals is to ask for them. Car insurance companies are notorious for keeping their discounts to themselves, so if you lock your car in a garage each night or have daytime running lights fitted to your car, tell your car insurance company about them and request a discount, or use the free interactive car insurance comparison tool at the top of the page to find yourself a better Massachusetts car insurance provider.