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Massachusetts Car Insurance

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Massachusetts car insurance

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 show how your rates are affected by tickets, accidents and other factors. You can additionally learn about Massachusetts auto insurance laws.

Jump ahead:
Requirements
Cheapest car insurance in MA
MA insurance laws
DUI insurance

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.

 

Car insurance MA: minimum car insurance requirements

You are required under Massachusetts car insurance laws to carry four types of coverage.

Here we explain the types of car insurance you must have:

  • Personal injury protection (PIP): PIP is sometimes called “no-fault insurance” because it used to pay for medical expenses regardless of who is at fault. It covers you, your passengers and people who borrow your car who are injured while in your vehicle. PIP also covers you and your family members if you are injured while riding in someone else's car or if struck by another vehicle while on foot. Minimum limits are $8,000 and cover items such as medical expenses, replacement services and 75 percent of lost wages.
  • Bodily injury liability: This pays, up to your policy limits, for injuries others receive in an accident caused by you or other drivers listed on your policy. You must have at least $20,000 per person of bodily injury coverage, which pays up to that amount for each person injured. You must also have at least $40,000 per accident, which is the total benefit for everyone injured in one accident.
  • Uninsured bodily injury liability: This is the same as standard bodily injury except it is for medical expenses for those hurt when an uninsured driver hits you. The coverage amounts you must have are also at least $20,000 per person and at least up to $40,000 per accident.
  • Property damage liability: Covers, up to your limits, damage you cause to other cars or property. You must have a minimum of $5,000 property damage liability coverage.

Cheapest car insurance in MA

If you just buy the state minimum car insurance coverages to pay the cheapest car insurance rate possible, here is what it will cost you, on average, broken down by age, based on data commissioned by CarInsurance.com from Quadrant Information Services:

Age

Average Annual Rate

18

$2,200

19

$1,416

20

$1,330

21

$1,196

22

$712

23

$675

24

$660

25

$632

35

$598

45

$587

55

$568

65

$475

75

$508

85

$561

Average

$866

*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.

Massachusetts auto insurance coverage recommendations

Best car insurance MA: Why full coverage offers the most protection

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. You might not be getting the best car insurance in MA if you go that route. 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.

The Insurance Information Institute (III) recommends liability coverage levels of 100/300/100 to make sure you don’t wind up paying a lot of money out-of-pocket after an accident. This means $100,000 per person injured, up to $300,000 for everyone hurt in one accident, plus $100,000 for damages to others’ property.

Here are other common optional coverages you can buy in addition to higher liability limits:

  • Collision: Pays for damage to your car from an accident. The average yearly cost for collision coverage in Massachusetts is $343, according to the III.
  • Comprehensive: Pays to replace stolen cars and for damages to your car from fire, flooding, hail, animal strikes, falling objects and vandalism. The average annual cost for comprehensive coverage in Massachusetts is $126, according to the III.

Collision coverage and comprehensive insurance come with a deductible. A deductible is the amount you pay before your insurance benefits kick in. For example, if you pick a $1,000 deductible and your vehicle repair bill is $2,500, you will pay $1,000 and your insurance company will pay $1,500. You can typically choose a deductible of $250, $500 or $1,000. Your rates will  be lower if you select a high deductible. If you opt for that strategy, be sure you have money on hand to pay the deductible if you have to file a claim to get your car fixed.

Best car insurance in MA: How much does full auto insurance coverage cost?

Full coverage usually isn’t that much more expensive than minimum coverage. You do pay more if you choose to get higher liability limits and optional coverage, but typically the extra protection is worth the relatively small increase you pay for the best car insurance in MA. Here is how minimum and full coverage rates (100/300/100) compare:

Average Massachusetts car insurance rates for minimum coverage and full coverage

Minimum liability

Full coverage with $1,000 deductible

Annual extra cost for full coverage

Monthly extra cost for full coverage

$866

$1,678

$812

$68

*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.

Car insurance quotes: MA

No matter what level of protection you choose when buying car insurance, it’s always prudent to compare car insurance quotes from several companies. The price for the same policy can differ significantly, sometimes by hundreds of dollars. This is because no two car insurance companies use the same calculations when setting your rate. That means you could wind up paying a lot more for the same coverage if you don’t shop around. Here is the difference between the highest and lowest quote among six carriers for the same driver. These ZIP codes are among the most expensive for their respective areas. The rate difference is how much you can overpay if you don’t compare quotes:

 

ZIP code

Highest rate

Lowest rate

Amount you may overpay

Boston

 02121

$3,110

$900

$2,210

Brockton

            02302

$3,110

$1,230

           $1,880

Cambridge

02138

$3,110

$930

$2,180

Gloucester

01930

$1,463

$739

$724

Hyannis

02601

$1,463

$734

$729

Northampton

01038

$3,110

$682

$2,428

Worcester

01601

$3,110

$981

$2,129

* Averages are based on insurance for a single 40-year-old male who commutes 12 miles to work each day, with policy limits of 100/300/50 ($100,000 for injury liability for one person, $300,000 for all injuries and $50,000 for property damage in an accident) and a $500 deductible on collision and comprehensive coverage.  Data for CarInsurance.com provided by Quadrant Information Services.

 

Massachusetts car insurance laws

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).

Renewing your Massachusetts registration

The form you need to renew your registration is called a (RMV-2). You should get one in the mail six to eight weeks before your existing registration expires. If the renewal form is marked “Ins. Stamp Required,” you have to get your insurer stamp and sign your form before you give it to the RMV.

If you did not receive a renewal form or a non-renewal letter in the mail, you should call the consumer registration call center to verify your address listed on our database. The Telephone Center will update RMV records with your correct address prior to you renewing your registration. Here are the numbers:

  • From Massachusetts area codes 339/617/781/857 and outside of the state: 857-368-8000
  • From all other Massachusetts area codes not listed above: 800-858-3926

If your renewal card is marked “Ins. Stamp Required,” you must have your insurance company stamp and sign your renewal card before turning it into the RMV.

If your renewal form is marked “Ins. Stamp Not Needed Active Policy on File,” you may be able to renew your registration on phone or online, in addition to going to an RMV office in your area.

To learn more about vehicle registration renewal in Massachusetts, visit the MA RMV registration renewal page.

MA Auto Insurance Plan (MAIP)

The Massachusetts Auto Insurance Plan is a pool of major insurers who are required under law to sell car insurance to high-risk drivers. If you can’t find an insurer in the regular market to sell you a policy, you will be assigned to a one in the MAIP group. This is done by having an insurance agent file an application for you on your behalf. You will then be assigned to one of the MAIP companies, which must sell you a policy. You are guaranteed coverage for at least three years, though you are free to shop in the open market and buy a standard policy at any time if you find that you qualify for one.

Here is how your rate is determined once you are assigned to a company in the MAIP pool: The insurer must compare the rates it would charge you for a standard high-risk policy to the MAIP rates that you would get, and must offer you the cheaper rate. 

For more information, visit the consumer guide website for MAIP or call the Massachusetts Division of Insurance’s Consumer Section at 1-617-521-7794.

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.

Surcharge point forgiveness

Qualified drivers may be able to shave off surcharge points, which will make rates more affordable. You may get 1 point off each surgchargeable incident if:

  • You have had three incidents or less that have led to surcharge points in the past five years.
  • Your most recent surcharge was at least three years prior to the effective date of your policy.
  • You have at least three years of driving experience.

Get a copy of your driver record

If you need a copy of your driving record, you can get one online, by mail or telephone, or in person by going to your local RMV office.

There are two types of copies you can get.

  • An Unattested Driving Record includes all of your driving record information, but does not have an RMV validation stamp on it. The fee for this is $6.
  • A True & Attested Driving Record can be used for official purposes as it is on official RMV letterhead and has a validation stamp. The fee for this is $20.

If you visit an RMV branch, the driving record you receive will be on official RMV letterhead, but will not have the validation stamp. The fee for this is $20.

Get your driving record by mail

Send a written request that includes your name, date of birth, license number, Massachusetts address and a $20 check or money order, made payable to MassDOT to:

Attn: Driving Records
Registry of Motor Vehicles
Court Records Department
PO Box 55889
Boston, MA 02205-5896

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.

Other factors that affect your car insurance in MA

Many factors can hike your car insurance rates, and adding a teen driver is commonly chief among them. Here are how rates, compare on average, for MA drivers after the following incidents:

 

Clean driver rate

Rate after incident

$ difference

One bodily injury accident

$1,496

$2,420

$924

One property damage accident over $1,000

$1,496

$2,237

$741

Coverage lapse of 60 days

$1,496

$1,637

$141

Add 16-year-old driver

$1,496

$3,228

$1,732

*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.

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.

DUI or OUI car insurance rates for MA

Massachusetts has a “lifetime look-back period” when considering penalties for drunken driving. That means that prior convictions for operating under the influence are always factored in to your case regardless of how long ago they happened. 

Here are the fines and penalties if you are convicted of drunken driving:

  • First offense: up to 30 months in jail, fines and fees of $500 to $5,000 and one year of license suspension.
  • Second offense: 30 days to 30 months in jail, fines of $600 to $10,000 and two years of license suspension.

How long a DUI affects your insurance rate depends on your company, but car insurers typically consider offenses for three to seven years.

The average rate increase in Massachusetts for a DUI is 79 percent, according to a CarInsurance.com analysis of data commissioned from Quadrant Information Services. While you will pay more, you can still save by shopping for the insurer with the lowest rate.

MA DUI car insurance rates by company 

Company

Clean driver rate

DUI rate

Dollar increase

% increase

Company 1

$1,761

$3,436

$1,675

95%

Company 2

$900

$1,969

$1,069

119%

Company 3

$1,231

$1,425

       $194

16%

Company 4

$1,919

$3,414

$1,495

78%

Company 5

$1,028

$2,057

$1,029

100%

Company 6

$1,278

$2,519

$1,241

97%

*The table shows the annual rate for Boston ZIP code 02108 from the following carriers, in no particular order: Progressive, Allstate, State Farm, Nationwide, GEICO and Farmers.

 

Largest car insurance companies in Massachusetts by market share

Rank Company / Group Direct Premiums Written ($) Market Share (%)
1 MAPFRE North America Group 1,126,161 26.09
2 Liberty Mutual Insurance Companies 558,841 12.95
3 Safety Group 459,737 10.65
4 Arbella Insurance Group 378,541 8.77
5 Plymouth Rock Companies 281,644 6.52
6 Berkshire Hathaway Insurance 213,119 4.94
7 MetLife Personal Lines Group 197,096 4.57
8 Amica Mutual Group 144,487 3.35
9 Progressive Insurance Group 138,847 3.22
10 Travelers Group 132,301 3.06
Source: A.M. Best market share rankings are based on direct premiums written in 2013.