No! Massachusetts is one of only three states (along with California and Hawaii) that prohibits insurance carriers from checking your credit when determining whether to offer coverage and calculating your premium.
Massachusetts offers the Safe Driver Insurance Plan (SDIP) program to incentivize responsible, defensive driving. Many, but not all, carriers participate, so inquire with yours. Individual carriers typically offer at least some of the following additional discounts to Massachusetts motorists, as well:
- Teen Driver
- Distant Student
- Alternative Fuel
- Defensive Driver
- Good Student
- Anti-Lock Brake
- Anti-Theft Device
- Multiple Line
- Passive Restraint
- Vehicle Safety
Massachusetts actually doesn’t require you to keep proof of insurance on you, either as a printed ID card or in digital form. The necessary information is included on your registration in the state. Still, it’s a good idea to keep proof of insurance in your vehicle, because if you drive out of state, you’ll need it!
Massachusetts takes uninsured driving seriously. It’s classified as a civil motor vehicle infraction and, depending on a variety of individual factors, you could be fined up to $5,000, liable for hundreds of dollars in other fees, and face up to 1 year of driver’s license suspension and as much jail time.
It’s against the law for individuals to operate a vehicle in Massachusetts with the following BAC percentages:
.08%+ at 21 years old or older
.04%+ for commercial vehicle drivers
.02%+ at under 21 years old
Operating under the influence (OUI) laws in Massachusetts are aggressively enforced, as alcohol- and drug-related accidents have been a major problem in the state.
Though it’s not a criminal offense, you are not allowed to refuse a chemical test in Massachusetts. If you are 21 or over and have no prior OUI offenses, your driver’s license will be confiscated by the attending law enforcement officer and your driving privileges are automatically suspended for 180 days and your vehicle will be impounded for 12 hours; if you’re under 21 and have no previous OUI convictions, the same applies, but license suspension lasts for 3 years.
These penalties go up if you’ve had previous OUI offenses; see further explanation about chemical test refusal consequences on the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles website.
Again, driving under the influence has been a big problem in Massachusetts, so the consequences are steep. The specifics of each situation affect the penalties. However, generally speaking, first-time OUI offenders have their license suspended for 1 year, face administrative and criminal fines of up to nearly $7,000, may be sentenced to as much as 2.5 years in jail, and may be compelled to complete a drug and alcohol education or treatment program.
Yes, Massachusetts has defensive driving courses that many car insurance carriers in the state recognize and reward with a discount on your premium. While the details vary among individual providers, these discounts are typically 5 or 10%. Massachusetts refers to its driving classes as, ahem, Driver Attitudinal Retraining Courses.
There’s no better way to keep your auto insurance costs down than to comparison shop for the best rates. But that’s certainly not the only way! Choose higher deductibles in exchange for a lower premium and ask your representative about all discounts you might be eligible for. Also, if you can manage to pay upfront rather than in monthly installments, you’re bound to get a better deal.
Uninsured motorist coverage provides you with financial protection should you be involved in an accident with another driver who doesn’t have car insurance; even though it’s illegal, a significant number of drivers on the roads aren’t covered. Massachusetts mandates that you carry uninsured motorist coverage in the amounts of $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident.