Articles Tagged with “car insurance”

Car accidentUnder the law, Massachusetts drivers must purchase auto insurance before they get behind the wheel. But this is not always cheap. A new study reports auto insurance has become too expensive for 19 million Americans, making it important to shop around so you can find the most coverage for your budget.

The report, “Study on the Affordability of Personal Automobile Insurance,” was released in January by the Federal Insurance Office of the United States Treasury. The Federal Insurance Office (FIO) was created by Congress with the passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. The office is charged with monitoring consumers’ access to affordable insurance products.

The report found basic liability automobile coverage is unaffordable in 845 zip codes where 19 million people live. Households in those areas had average auto insurance costs which exceeded more than 2 percent of average household income.

Driving on U.S. roads became more dangerous in 2016. Preliminary data from the National Safety Council shows more than 40,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes last year, a 6 percent increase from 2015.

  • This was the first year more than 40,000 people have died in traffic accidents since 2007.
  • According to The New York Times, 2015 and 2016 saw a 14 percent increase in traffic deaths, the largest two-year increase in more than half a century.

bluecarcrash_200.jpgBuying car insurance in Massachusetts can seem complicated, with various types of coverages and state laws which have changed in recent years. The state requires all drivers to carry some level of insurance, but in 2008, drivers gained new buying options as Massachusetts moved away from a highly regulated industry to managed competition. At the same time, insurers have started changing their policies, so not all companies use the standard Massachusetts policy.

In the past, the state had set rates. But under “managed competition,” each insurance company can set its own price and compete for consumers’ business.

If you are a Massachusetts driver, you should shop around to obtain the best rates while still buying adequate insurance to protect yourself in a car accident. Here, the Boston car accident lawyers at Breakstone, White & Gluck offer some tips on what to consider before purchasing auto insurance for you and your family:

Compulsory Coverage
Massachusetts requires drivers to buy basic car insurance coverage, including:

  • Bodily Injury to Others: $20,000 per person, $40,000 per accident
  • Personal Injury Protection: $8,000 for medical bills and lost wages
  • Bodily Injury from an Uninsured Driver: $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident
  • Damage to Another Person’s Property: $5,000

Optional Coverage
The compulsory coverage provides insufficient protection for car accidents. These other insurances offer additional protection.

  • Bodily Injury: You can buy up to $500,000 per person per accident. If you cause a serious motor vehicle accident, this protects you from claims against your personal property.
  • Underinsured Auto: You could be injured by another driver who does not have car insurance. You can protect yourself by purchasing up to $500,000 in coverage per person per car accident.
  • Medical Payments: This coverage pays for medical expenses that exceed your $8,000 PIP coverage. You can obtain an extra $10,000 in coverage for a small cost.
  • Collision Comprehensive. This coverage pays for damages to your vehicle in a car accident. This coverage is paid by the policy of the driver found to be at fault. Many people choose a high deductible to save money on their policy price, but this can cost you far more if you caused a car accident and have to pay a deductible for your own vehicle.

Click here for information on auto discounts and how to get additional insurance coverage through your homeowners’ insurance policy.

Related Blogs, Articles and Websites

Continue reading

carphoto_web.jpgEach September, thousands of college students in Boston, Cambridge and across Massachusetts settle into campus life. And many students enjoy the extra freedom of bringing a car from home to school.

But students often make one costly mistake in the transition to college life. Students who have Massachusetts car insurance policies are required to inform their insurance companies about where the car is primarily kept. Otherwise, if there is a car accident, the insurance company might disclaim coverage, leaving the accident underinsured or uninsured completely. Students who fail to report their change of address and get into a car accident can be denied the Optional Insurance coverages on their policy.

Even if a student relocates a short distance, such as from Dedham to a dorm in Boston, he or she must inform the car insurance company where the vehicle will now be kept. The reason? Car insurance companies rate the coverage — and therefore the cost — on where the car is principally kept. If the car moves from a low-rated area (with fewer accidents) to a higher-rated area, the cost goes up. And if you are not paying the premium for the place where the car is principally kept, the insurance company has the legal right to disclaim coverage. And that can be harsh.

Optional Insurance Coverages Potentially At Risk Include:

Bodily Injury: This protects you from claims against your personal property if you cause a serious car accident.

Uninsured Auto: This coverage protects you and the people in your car if the person who causes the motor vehicle accident has no insurance.

Medical Payments: The first $8,000 in medical bills and lost wages are covered under the Personal Injury Protection (PIP), part of the Compulsory Coverage all Massachusetts drivers must purchase. Medical Payments provides policy holders extra protection for medical and health insurance.

Collision Comprehensive: If you are involved in a car accident, this coverage insures the damage to your vehicle.

Insurance issues can be very complicated, and you should not hesitate to call your agent if you have any questions.

Click here to read our article, “Understanding and Buying Massachusetts Car Accident Insurance.”

Another resource is, “Frequently Asked Questions on Auto Insurance,” by the Massachusetts Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation office.

Continue reading