Breakstone, White & Gluck offers a series of new articles to help you understand your rights and responsibilities under your Massachusetts auto insurance policy. As part of these articles, we share tips on how to buy more coverage to help yourself or your family members should you ever be injured or your vehicle damaged. Another driver may be at fault, but if they are uninsured or underinsured, you may need to look to your own auto insurance policy.
When someone buys a car, they learn a tough lesson: auto insurance can be costly for Massachusetts drivers. But under Massachusetts law, drivers are required to purchase an auto insurance policy and this is essential if you are injured in a car crash. Our Boston car accident lawyers share tips for getting started.
Our infographic explains Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits and our recommendations for Bodily Injury Coverage, Underinsured and Uninsured Motorist Coverage and Medical Payments Coverage.
While we hope you are never involved in a crash, drivers can take a few minutes to familiarize themselves with the Massachusetts motor vehicle crash operator report. It is your responsibility to submit this form to your auto insurer if you are involved in a car accident resulting in more than $1,000 property damage or injury.
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Still have a question? Please visit our website, where we have more articles on insurance coverage for drivers, bicyclists and motorcyclists.
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Breakstone, White & Gluck – Boston Car Accident Lawyers
Breakstone, White & Gluck represents those injured in car accidents, truck crashes and other traffic incidents across Massachusetts. Our firm is based at 2 Center Plaza across from Boston City Hall and we offer a free legal consultation by telephone. Contact our firm today at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.
Under 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.
Massachusetts is the 10th most expensive state for car insurance, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Drivers pay on average $1,007 per year. New Jersey drivers pay the most nationally, with an average expenditure of $1,254.
The cheapest place to drive is Idaho. On average, drivers there pay just $553 for insurance.
Take time to understand your insurance policy. Before you buy car insurance in Massachusetts, remember these points:
Check out our chart. We have developed this chart and article, “Understanding and Buying Auto Insurance in Massachusetts.”
How much insurance do you need? Drivers must purchase Compulsory Coverage, which includes Bodily Injury to Others, Personal Injury Protection (PIP), Bodily Injury from an Uninsured Driver and Damage to Another Person’s Property. But you should also purchase Optional Coverage. Read more about the different types in our article, “Understanding and Buying Auto Insurance in Massachusetts.”
Underinsured and uninsured coverage. While these fall under Optional Coverage, they are essential. Far too often, drivers do not carry enough insurance of their own or outright ignore the law and do not buy insurance. In these cases, you will need to look to your own Underinsured and Uninsured coverage.
Discounts. You may be eligible for a discount if you purchase your auto insurance and homeowners insurance policies through the same carrier. Auto clubs may also offer discounts.
Cycling accidents. If you are a cyclist, you can purchase coverage to protect yourself in a bicycle accident through your auto insurance policy. It may cost more, but it is worth the investment. Many drivers do not carry enough insurance and you may have to turn to your own policy for compensation.
Shop around. This is your right. Massachusetts deregulated the auto insurance market in April 2008, giving drivers the freedom to research the market and find the best policy for their needs. Pay attention to deductibles; often that is where consumers can negotiate lower rates, but you will usually end up paying a higher deductible if you are found at fault for a car accident.
Factors which may increase your cost. Your age, the type of car you drive and the town where you live can all impact the cost of your auto insurance policy. Before you buy your next car, check in with your agent first.
About Breakstone, White & Gluck
The lawyers at Breakstone, White & Gluck have over 100 years combined experience representing those who have been injured in car accidents. If you have been injured, learn your rights. For a free legal consultation, contact 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.
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.
- In addition to deaths, an estimated 4.6 million people suffered serious injuries in car accidents last year. The total costs came to $432.5 billion, for motor vehicle deaths, injuries and property damages.
- In Massachusetts, 399 traffic deaths were reported in 2016, a 13 percent increase over the prior year (these are also preliminary figures).
The National Safety Council said lower gasoline prices and an improving economy may be helping to fuel the rise in traffic deaths. Others point to seat belt laws and texting while driving and other distracted driving behaviors.
If you drive, take to the roads safely. Follow the speed limit and make sure everyone in your family puts down their cell phone while driving.
Read our Article: Understanding and Buying Auto Insurance in Massachusetts
Until it happens to you, few people understand the costs associated with a car accident, and the toll on your physical health and emotional well-being. We hope you are never injured, but encourage you to read our article to protect yourself and your family.
Buying 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:
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
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
- College Students and Other Drivers Who Relocate Must Update Their Auto Insurance Policy
- Injured Bicyclists Can Find Financial Protection for Accidents Through Car Insurance Policies
- State’s Auto Insurance Premium Comparisons Web Page
Each 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.