Massachusetts is the most populous state in New England, and it’s one of the most important states in the history of the U.S. This is part of why Boston and other areas are such prime tourist draws, and the state’s many top-tier colleges and universities attract big numbers of college kids.
A dense population and lots of non-local and inexperienced drivers—not to mention the hazardous winter weather—are just some reasons auto insurance rates in Massachusetts tend toward the pricier end of the spectrum. But residents have plenty of ways to save on this monthly bill. More on that below, but for now, know that SmartFinancial’s carrier-neutral, objective analysis is a great way to instantly compare rates to find the lowest rate on the optimal coverage for your needs.
With all those carriers offering coverage in Massachusetts, which ones do you look at first? We suggest starting with the top three car insurance providers in the state (see the full list).
Obviously, comparing premiums is a big part of researching providers. But there’s more to consider than just these numbers. Take a look at overall customer satisfaction scores and the number of rejected claims for each carrier; these offer insights into what the experience of using them may be like.
If you’re ready, we make it easy to click and compare rates. Just select your location from the list of cities below. Or, if your home isn’t showing up, click here instead.
Auto insurance coverage isn’t optional; it’s the law. But the system protects you from vehicle repair costs, medical expenses, and lost wages in the event of an accident. If not for your car insurance, if the worst happens, you could end up going broke—even bankrupt. Keep in mind, no matter how safely you drive, every other motorist on the road and other factors beyond your control are all wild cards.
Massachusetts Driving Safety
Massachusetts has had a particularly significant problem with DUI-related traffic accidents and deaths, but the state’s been working proactively to address it, and rates are gradually falling. Distracted driving is another major issue, and Massachusetts has declared April “Distracted Driving Awareness Month.” The state has one of the nation’s highest percentages of traffic fatalities involving only a single vehicle.
Here are three noteworthy Massachusetts driving safety statistics:
New England is renowned for its natural beauty, from oceanfront vistas to some of the world’s most stunning autumn foliage. With so many residents being environmentally conscious and conservation-minded, the state caters to these interests.
People living in Massachusetts have a variety of ways to save money for making greener decisions regarding what and how much they drive. Some incentives offered to eco-friendly motorists in Massachusetts include:
Massachusetts drivers are required to undergo annual safety inspections to renew their vehicle registration, and this often includes emissions testing. Many fuel-efficient vehicles are exempted from this testing, though. Examples of exemptions include vehicles that run solely on electric power, mopeds, and motorcycles. Massachusetts Vehicle Check has additional information about testing requirements.
The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources gives rebates of up to $2,500 to consumers who purchase certain battery electric vehicles, fuel cell electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and zero-emission motorcycles. Visit the Massachusetts Offers Rebates for Electric Vehicles (MOR-EV) website to see eligible vehicles and to apply for a rebate.
Lots of auto insurance companies offer Massachusetts motorists discounts on their coverage for choosing an environmentally friendly vehicle or maintaining low mileage as part of a greener lifestyle. Hybrid vehicles, alternative fuel vehicles, and economy cars often qualify.
Car insurance is a must in Massachusetts, and the state sets a number of mandatory coverage types and minimum limits. All drivers must carry $20,000 bodily injury coverage per person and $40,000 per accident. In addition, motorist need $8,000 personal injury protection (PIP) coverage per person, per accident, as well as $5,000 property damage liability coverage per accident. Beyond this, residents are also obligated to buy uninsured motorist coverage in the amounts of $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident.
Massachusetts is a no-fault state. PIP is a type of no-fault coverage that may help with things like medical bills incurred by you and/or your passengers, lost income, or childcare and household services necessitated by an accident.
Maximum payment for serious or permanent injury or death to a single person
Maximum payment for serious or permanent injury or death to multiple people
Maximum payment for all damaged property in an accident caused by you
While you might think you’re all set with the minimum coverage dictated by Massachusetts law, hang on just a second. If you have financing on your vehicle, it’s likely that your lender insists on considerably more coverage. Also, picking up optional coverages is a smart move if you can swing the extra costs, because they can spare you some serious out-of-pocket expenses if things go wrong.
These types of coverages aren’t required by law, but they’re an effective way to take full advantage of auto insurance options to protect your finances. Some exclusions will apply.
Our article 11 Mistakes People Make When Shopping for Auto Insurance can help you avoid some common pitfalls in the insurance purchasing process.
*This list is based on the ratings for New England in the J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Auto Insurance Study. Consumer ratings are derived from five key customer service areas: price, claims, interaction, policy offerings, and billing. USAA is a military-only option and is therefore not including in the above rankings.
All young children riding in a vehicle in Massachusetts must be properly restrained in a federally approved car seat rated for their weight. Follow all manufacturer instructions, including for rear-facing and forward-facing use. Car seats should be secured in the back seat of your vehicle.
When a child outgrows the car seat weight limit, he or she should switch to a booster seat, which should also be secured in the rear of the vehicle. Use of a booster seat is required until the child reaches 8 years old or 57 inches tall; it’s recommended that height be used, rather than age, as this is the more important metric for knowing when a child can be properly restrained by the vehicle’s seat belt system.
The Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security website has useful information about choosing and installing car and booster seats.
Massachusetts doesn’t have a law specifically addressing leaving a child unsupervised in a vehicle. However, doing so can get you charged with child endangerment at the discretion of the authorities.
This is certainly not an unfair leap. Children left unattended in a vehicle are vulnerable to abduction or violence from strangers, as well as injuries sustained while playing around in the vehicle. Beyond that, the inside temperature can rise dangerously high in very little time, even on temperate days and even with the windows cracked. Kids, as well as pets, are at risk of heatstroke, brain damage, and death from being left in a car that gets too hot.
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:
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.
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