Buying car insurance in Massachusetts is an important endeavor and this article provides helpful information on the subject to those of you who reside in Massachusetts. You will learn about the compulsory insurance coverage norms, optional insurance benefits and tips on shopping for insurance rates which suit you the best.
Compulsory Insurance Norms in Massachusetts
- Bodily injuries caused to others - The basic requirements as per Massachusetts are $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident, provided the accident occurs within the state limits only.
- Personal Injury Protection or PIP pays for medical expenses, replacement services and 75% of anticipated loss of wages, subject to a minimum of $8,000. PIP covers members listed under your policy, those driving with your consent and members of your household who do not have separate insurance coverage. Medical expenses are covered only after you exhausted the limits of your individual health insurance plan.
- Injuries caused by uninsured auto - Covers you, your family or anyone driving your vehicle with your consent against injuries sustained in an accident with an uninsured or hit-and-run driver. The limits are the same as per norms for bodily injuries mentioned in step one. Property or vehicle damage is not covered under this type of coverage.
- Damage to another's property - Coverage to the minimum extent of $5,000 is provided when property damage is caused by you, any member of your family or authorized person driving with your consent.
Optional Insurance Norms in Massachusetts
- Optional bodily injuries to others - provides insurance cover for accidents caused by you, a family member or authorized person, when the accident occurs outside the limits of Massachusetts, within any territory of the US or in Canada.
- Medical expenses - self explanatory and coverage includes expenses incurred for treating a family member or authorized person and passengers, irrespective of who caused the accident.
- Collision - pays for damages caused to your car in a collision, including personal property which is permanently installed in the vehicle, such as music system, anti-theft and safety devices. You can opt for paying a deductible, decreasing the premium amount which needs to be paid for collision coverage.
- Limited collision - pays for damages caused where it is determined that you are at no more than 50% fault and the driver of the other vehicle is identifiable.
- Comprehensive coverage - pays for damages caused by events other than collision, such as theft, natural disasters, etc.
- Substitute transportation - pays for expenses incurred in securing alternate transport such as taxi, bus or train, while your vehicle is out of commission undergoing repairs, etc.
- Labor and towing coverage - pays for such expenses every time your vehicle breaks down, even if there is no accident. It covers only on-site costs required to get your running, but does not include any replacement of spare parts.
- Injury caused by underinsured motorist - Only pays for bodily injuries caused in an accident where the other driver is at fault and has lesser insurance than the limit required. The other driver's insurance will first be used to satisfy the claim and if the amount exceeds the available insurance, your policy coverage will be used, up to the extent insured. Property damage is not covered under this.
- Additional coverage for miscellaneous costs such as roadside help, loan/lease coverage, pet coverage, multiple deductibles for collision and coverage, accident forgiveness, etc.
Tips while shopping for insurance
- Determine your insurance requirements, is the minimum stipulated coverage enough or do you need more as per your requirements? Find out information on how you can reduce your premiums by way of increased deductibles, discounts for good driving history or multiple policies with the same insurer, fees and surcharges, etc.
- Shop around and compare the quotes provided by various insurance companies and agents, but make sure to provide the same information so as to get comparable quotes.
- Check with friends, family members, published media sources and the Internet to find the best quotes.
- Find out if you can make installment payments on your insurance policy, if you are not in a position to make a lump sum payment.
- High risk drivers or those who are unable to secure insurance coverage commercially should contact the MAIP (Massachusetts Automobile Insurance Plan) for assistance.
- Premium payments can be lowered by maintaining clean driving histories during the 3-5 years preceding the purchase of insurance, paying higher deductibles on optional coverage, etc.
- Mandatory discounts which should be offered by insurance companies include: main driver is over 65 years of age, additional drivers have greater than 6 months driving experience, you've installed anti-theft and safety devices and gadgets in your car or you own multiple vehicles.
Ensure that you are fully informed about your requirements and needs before you buy car insurance in Massachusetts. The information listed above is a good starting point!