Understanding and Buying Massachusetts Car Accident Insurance

This article was originally written in 2008 and is periodically updated.

Car insurance in Massachusetts is changing. Instead of the state setting rates, insurance companies are moving to a system of so-called "managed competition." This means that the car insurance companies will offer a variety of packages, some with different benefits, some with special discounts.

The most common type of accident you are likely to have is a car accident. Because car accidents are so common, Massachusetts has a mandatory automobile insurance law. While the law requires you to carry certain levels of insurance, you can protect yourself even better if you understand some basic information about your policy.

Your insurance policy has compulsory coverage and optional coverage.

Compulsory Coverage Compulsory Limits
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, $40,000 per accident
Damage to Another Person's Property $5,000

The compulsory coverages for your car insurance give you very little protection. You should buy more car insurance if you can afford it.

Optional Coverage More Information
Bodily Injury You can buy up to $500,000 per person/per accident. This protects you from claims against your personal property if you cause a serious accident.
Uninsured Auto You can buy up to $500,000 per person/per accident to protect yourself, your family members, or people in your car if the person who causes the accident does not have any insurance
Property Damage $5,000 is not enough to protect you if you cause an accident. Consider buying more if you can afford it
Underinsured Coverage Similar to uninsured coverage, you can buy up to $500,000 per person/per accident to protect yourself, your family members, and occupants in your car if the responsible driver does not have enough insurance coverage (and often they do not!)
Medical Payments This coverage adds to your PIP coverage by covering medical expenses that are not covered by other auto insurance or your health insurance. For a few dollars you can get an extra $10,000 in coverage for yourself and family members.
This is the coverage for your car it if is damaged.  If you choose a high deductible you will save money on this expensive coverage. Your deductible will be waived if you have an accident that is not your fault so long as the responsible driver can be identified.

Important! Make sure you have the same limits for your optional bodily injury, uninsured and underinsured coverages. Protect yourself!

Your homeowner's insurance company can also offer you umbrella insurance coverage. You need to have high limits on your car insurance policy. The homeowner's policy will give you $1,000,000 or more in coverage on top of the car insurance policy. This protects you, your family, and your assets in the case of a serious accident or wrongful death claim.

When picking your car insurance company, look for discounts that apply to you. Perhaps you drive very little, are over 65, take public transportation, or do not have inexperienced drivers (typically kids under 25) in your home. If you have several vehicles, you should get a multi-car discount. Take time to compare what various companies are offering before you buy.

Finally, make sure you follow the terms of your auto insurance agreement. Most insurers require notice if you move, even just when college students relocate for the academic year and park their car in a new location.

More information:
Massachusetts Consumer Bill of Rights
Frequently Asked Questions on Auto InsuranceMass.gov
Massachusetts Department of Insurance Auto Insurance Comparisons
You Can Lower Your Premiums with DiscountsThe Boston Globe, March 9, 2008

What Should You Do If You Have A Car Accident?

The lawyers at Breakstone, White & Gluck, PC have decades of years of experience helping car accident victims with car insurance claims and lawsuits. If you have had a car accident, it is essential that you contact your insurance company promptly to begin the claims process--this protects you. And it is essential that you contact a qualified car accident lawyer--a lawyer who understand car accident insurance--so you can get compensation for your injuries or in the case of wrongful death.

Choosing a Massachusetts Car Accident Lawyer

You should hire an experienced car accident attorney to evaluate and handle your case. Immediate action may be required to preserve all of your rights. All motor vehicle accidents in Massachusetts are governed by a Statute of Limitations. Some accidents also have shorter notice provisions which may be very strict.

For more information on selecting a Massachusetts car accident lawyer, please see our page on Choosing a Massachusetts Personal Injury Lawyer.   Read more about truck accidents on our Massachusetts Truck Accident Lawyer page.

Our Car and Truck Accident Case Reports describe some of the many of the motor vehicle accident cases we have successfully handled on behalf of our Massachusetts clients. If you feel you have a car accident case, it is vital that you act immediately to protect your rights. Please call us toll free at 1-800-379-1244, or use our contact form to send us an e-mail. Get a free legal consultation today with Breakstone, White & Gluck, P.C.