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Massachusetts Car Insurance

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Before you buy car insurance in Massachusetts, you should learn about minimum MA car insurance requirements and why more coverage may be a better choice for some drivers. We provide average car insurance rates for your location so you can compare quotes and also outline Massachusetts auto insurance laws.

The average car insurance rate in Massachusetts is $1,302 a year. The severity and frequency of claims in your neighborhood, your driving record, the type of car you drive and other variables are used by insurance companies to figure out the cost of your policy. That’s why the price for the same coverage can vary significantly among insurance companies — and why you should compare rates. For example, in Boston area ZIP codes 02119, 02124 and 02121 the highest rate among six carriers is ($3,110) is three times as much as the lowest ($900). When shopping for car insurance, use our average car insurance rates tool to compare rates. Enter a ZIP code to see the average premium for your neighborhood. You will also see the highest and lowest rates from the six major carriers surveyed to get an idea of what the most affordable car insurance price is in your area.

Cheap car insurance in Massachusetts

Massachusetts car insurance requirements

State law requires the following coverages:  
Minimum bodily injury liability $20,000/$40,000
Minimum property damage liability $5,000
Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury $20,000/$40,000
Personal injury protection (PIP) $8,000

Your state's minimum car insurance requirements will be the cheapest coverage you can get. Massachusetts car insurance laws mandate that drivers carry minimum liability coverage limits of 20/40/5 on their vehicle. You must also have matching amounts of uninsured/underinsured coverage, and personal injury protection (PIP) limits of $8,000. In Massachusetts, PIP pays for the first $2,000 of your medical expenses, then your health insurance kicks in. If you don't have health insurance, PIP pays out up to the limits you bought, which must be at least $8,000.

Buying the state required limits to drive is definitely the cheapest way to go. Everyone likes to save money, but buying cheap car insurance in MA may not be the wisest option for many drivers. Your assets and savings are in jeopardy if you get into an accident and only have minimum coverage.

It does cost more to buy more protection, but as you’ll see in the chart below, additional coverage is typically affordable. Increasing your insurance from the state minimum to full coverage with a $1,000 deductible costs, on average, $812 more, or $68 a month.

Coverage limits Average annual rate
Liability Only – state minimum $866
Liability Only - 50/100/50 BI/PD $996
Full Coverage - 100/300/100 BI/PD
$1,000 Comp/Collision deductible
$1,678
Full Coverage - 100/300/100 BI/PD
$500 Comp/Collision deductible
$1,950
Full Coverage - 100/300/100 BI/PD
$250 Comp/Collision deductible
$2,088

*The table shows the average annual rate of 10 ZIP codes in the state from the following carriers, in no particular order: Progressive, Allstate, State Farm, Nationwide, GEICO and Farmers. Data was provided for CarInsurance.com by Quadrant Information Services.

Recommended car insurance coverage

Buying cheap car insurance in MA may not be the wisest option for many drivers. This is because even a minor wreck can cost much more than what your minimal insurance will pay out. For instance, say you have Massachusetts’ minimum bodily injury of $20,000 and $5,000 in property damage. You then cause an accident that totals the other driver’s car, valued at $20,000. It also results in $45,000 of medical expenses for the other driver’s injuries. You’re responsible for damages not covered by insurance. That means you have to pay $25,000 for medical bills and $15,000 for the damaged car – a total of $40,000.

Use our How Much Car Insurance Do You Need? tool to get a recommendation.

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VEHICLE MODEL YEAR
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OWNED FINANCED LEASED

Liability

We recommend you buy more insurance than is required to legally drive a car in your state, especially if you have savings and assets. The more money you have, the more likely you are to be sued following a car accident should your insurance be insufficient to cover all the expenses. If your net worth is:

  • less than $50,000, choose at least 50/100/50
  • between $50,000 and $100,000, choose at least 100/300/100
  • more than $100,000, choose at least 250/500/100

If you're leasing or financing your car, you must get coverage of 100/300/100 or higher.

Collision and comprehensive

Collision coverage pays for damage to your car after an accident that you cause. Comprehensive insurance pays to replace stolen cars and broken glass and for damages from vandalism, flooding, hail, fire and animal strikes. These optional coverages are usually not budget-busters. Massachusetts drivers pay, on average, $361 a year for collision and $130 annually for comprehensive. If your car is:

  • less than 10 years old, you should strongly consider buying collision and comprehensive.
  • more than 10 years old, only buy collision and comprehensive if your car is worth $3,000 or more, if you couldn’t afford to replace your car if it’s wrecked, or if you just want more protection on your policy.

If you buy comp and collision, check our guide to choosing a deductible amount.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist

These coverages are required in Massachusetts and should match the liability limits you choose. Uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage pays for damages if you’re hit by a driver with no insurance or a driver with coverage that’s insufficient to pay for your repairs and medical expenses.

Medical coverage (MedPay)

Medical payments coverage can help pay for the medical or funeral expenses of covered drivers and passengers after an accident, regardless of fault, starting at $5,000 and up to $25,000. In most states, including Massachusetts, it's an optional addition to your car insurance policy. Because you are required to have PIP in Massachusetts, you likely don't need MedPay. That's because PIP provides coverage equal to -- and beyond -- MedPay, which does the following:

  • Covers you and your passengers’ medical expenses
  • Pays for expenses after health insurance limits are exceeded
  • Offers additional protection to insured drivers who are hit by a car while walking or biking

If you and your passengers:

  • Don’t have health insurance, or have a plan that doesn’t cover car accidents or has low limits, we recommend that you add medical coverage of at least $5,000 to your car insurance policy.

Gap insurance

If you don’t own your car outright and have an accident, gap insurance pays the difference between the cash value of your car and the current outstanding balance on your loan or lease.

  • If you’re financing your car, your car is less than one year old and you’ve put less than 20 percent down on it, you should buy gap insurance. If not, you don’t need gap insurance.
  • If you’re leasing your car, it’s a good idea to buy gap insurance if you aren’t already required to in your lease agreement.
  • If you own your car outright, you don’t need gap insurance.

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Car insurance companies in Massachusetts

Rank Company Name Direct premiums written Market share % Customer Review Ranking (out of 100)
1 MAPFRE North America Group 1,128,776 24.24% n/a
2 Liberty Mutual Insurance Companies 616,186 13.23% 82.1
3 Safety Group 455,946 9.79% n/a
4 Arbella Insurance Group 432,117 9.28% n/a
5 Geico 374,566 8.04% 85.7
6 Plymouth Rock Companies 322,181 6.92% n/a
7 MetLife Auto & Home Group 211,214 4.54% 84.3
8 Progressive Insurance Group 157,091 3.37% 86.2
9 Amica Mutual Group 137,809 2.96% n/a
10 Hanover Insurance Group Property & Casualty Companies 134,933 2.9% n/a

Source: A.M. Best market share rankings are based on direct premiums written in 2015.

Customer review rankings based on Insure.com's "Best Insurance Companies" survey.

Massachusetts car insurance laws and resources

Proof of insurance and registering your car in Massachusetts

There are no car insurance cards issued in Massachusetts because your registration acts as proof of your policy. That means your car insurance company is part of the registration process. When you register a car for the first time, your car insurer begins by filling out, stamping and signing a form. This form is called the Application for Registration and Title (RMV-1). Once completed, your insurer sends it to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV).

MA Safe Driver Insurance Plan (SDIP)

Massachusetts does not have a driver’s license points system. Instead, driving behavior is tracked with the point-based Safe Driver Insurance Plan (SDIP). The goal of SDIP is to reward safe drivers with low car insurance rates and to penalize those with at-fault accidents and traffic violations with higher rates.

Not every insurance company uses SDIP when determining car insurance rates. Massachusetts car insurance companies have the option of using the SDIP driver rating system or can use their own merit-rating system to set rates. All insurance companies are required under law to explain how discounts or increases to rates were made when applying merit-ratings to your policy. This is true regardless of whether the insurer uses SDIP or its own merit-rating system and can be found on the “Coverage Selection” page of your policy.

Here we explain how SDIP works for those who have insurers that use it to set rates. Your driving history is used to create your SDIP rating. You are given “surcharge” points for unsafe driving, but may get a discount if you are a safe driver. For instance, new drivers are automatically assessed higher premiums because they have no driving experience yet. Additionally, you will receive surcharge points for car accidents or traffic violations. On the other hand, experienced drivers with clean records are given discounts. SDIP discounts and increases count toward your liability and optional collision coverage.

The more surcharge points you have, the higher your car insurance rate will be. Surcharge points might be imposed if:

  • Your insurer deems you more than 50 percent at fault in an accident
  • Your insurer pays out more than $500 on an accident claim you file
  • You are convicted of a traffic violation
  • Pay a fine for a traffic violation
  • You are convicted of a DUI and required to take an alcohol education program

For more information, read the RMV page SDIP and Your Auto Insurance Policy. The MA RMV also provides a detailed outline of surchargeable incidents. If you have questions about SDIP, call  a  customer service representative at the merit rating board by calling 857-368-8100.

SDIP MA car insurance discounts

You may be able to save money on your MA car insurance with the following discounts if your insurer uses the SDIP system and you’re a safe driver:

  • Excellent Driver Discount Plus -- To qualify for this 17 percent discount, you must have six years of driving experience and no surcharges in the past six years.
  • Excellent Driver Discount -- To qualify for this 7 percent discount, you must have at least five years of driving experience with no surcharges in the past five years.
  • Excellent Driver Discount with one incident -- To qualify for this 7 percent discount, you must have at least five years of driving experience and only one surcharge for a minor traffic violation in the past six years that is at least three years old.

How much does a speeding ticket raise your rates?

If you get cited for speeding, your rates will go up 27 percent, on average, per year, according to an analysis of rates from six insurers for 10 ZIP codes in the commonwealth.

Credit and gender not a rating factor

Car insurance companies in Massachusetts are not allowed to factor in your credit information or gender when calculating your rates. Most states allow the practice.

Lemon and Lemon Aid laws

Massachusetts, like many states, has a Lemon Law regarding defects that consumers may find with their new or leased vehicles; however, it also has a unique Lemon Aid law.

The Lemon Aid law allows you to cancel or void a car sale or contract if your vehicle fails to pass inspection within seven days from the date of sale and the estimated repair costs of emissions or safety-related defects exceed 10 percent of the purchase price. This applies to dealer and private party sales of cars and motorcycles acquired for personal use.

Uninsured motorist penalties for Massachusetts

You may be fined $500, be sentenced to one year in jail and have your license suspended if convicted of driving without insurance.

Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage is required in the state even though Massachusetts has the lowest uninsured motorist rate in the nation at 4 percent, according to the Insurance Research Council. For comparison, Oklahoma has the most uninsured drivers at 26 percent.

STATE CAR INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS

To drive legally in Massachusetts, you must have liability insurance with at least limits of:

20 / 40 / 5

Bodily injury liability limits of $20,000 for yourself and $40,000 for all others involved in an accident, and property damage liability of $5,000. You must also carry uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury limits of $20,000 for yourself and $40,000 for others. You also must have personal injury protection of $8,000, which covers you, your passengers and other authorized drivers of your car who are injured while in your insured vehicle.

Click here for an explanation of liability requirements numbers

HOW MUCH IS CAR INSURANCE IN MASSACHUSETTS? The average car insurance rate in Massachusetts is:
$1,302 per year
17th most expensive state in the U.S.
"No-Fault" Insurance Law
Under a no-fault system, when you have an accident, your auto insurance provider automatically pays you for certain damages, regardless of fault, up to a specified limit.
DRIVING IN MASSACHUSETTS
In our independent study of the best and worst states for driving, Massachusetts was the
21ST BEST STATE
53% percent of bridges were deemed structurally deficient (2nd worst in the U.S.)
3.9% of the drivers on the roads are uninsured (Lowest in the U.S.)
4.9 traffic-related deaths per 100,000 population (Lowest in the U.S.)
3.1% of the average annual median household income is spent on car insurance (24th lowest in the U.S.)
64 hours of commuter delay per year in Boston, the state's most congested city (4th highest in the U.S.)

Full report: Best and worst states for driving