Typically, there are only two times drivers think about their car insurance: when they sign up for a policy and when they’re in a car accident.
Ideally, you won’t have to worry about using your insurance, but if you’ve taken the time to evaluate your options and get the right coverage for your situation, then at least you will be prepared.
In this article, we’ll take a deep dive in what you need to know about insurance in Massachusetts to make the best choices whether you’re getting motor vehicle insurance for the first time or reevaluating your current policy.
Motor Vehicle Insurance in the Bay State
In Massachusetts, there are three mandatory types of coverage. That means you must have them included in your policy. These are:
- Bodily Injury Liability (BI): Covers injuries caused to others in an accident.
- Property Damage Liability (PD): Covers damage to someone else’s property in an accident.
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP): Covers medical expenses for you and your passengers.
Additionally, you have the option of getting more extensive coverage, including:
- Collision Coverage: Pays for damage to your vehicle in an accident.
- Comprehensive Coverage: Covers non-collision incidents like theft or natural disasters.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: Protects you if involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.
Insurance terms to know
When evaluating insurance plans, there are several terms you will want to understand. These include:
Deductible: This is the amount you pay for damage if there is an accident before insurance kicks in. You may be able to get a lower premium if you have a higher deductible, but that means you will pay more if you have to make a claim.
Premium: This is your insurance payment. Several factors affect the cost including driving record, vehicle type, and credit score. Where you live and keep the car can also affect the price of insurance.
Coverage Limits: This is the maximum your insurance company will pay for a covered claim. You need to make sure that the limit aligns with your needs.
Exclusions: These are situations that will not be covered by your policy. It is important to know what they are before you buy the policy so you won’t be surprised later on if something isn’t covered.
Endorsements/Riders: These are additional coverage options such as rental car coverage or enhanced liability protection.
Underwriting: This is how insurers evaluate risks, which are used to determine premiums and coverage eligibility. Most insurers evaluate drivers individually so your rate may differ from someone who has the same car as you if other factors are different.
Take Action: Review Your Policy
The policy you have may not be the best one for you. It can be beneficial to reassess your needs from time to time to determine if you should adjust your insurance policy and coverage levels. If your car is older or your driving routines have changed, you may be able to reduce your coverage and lower your rates. On the other hand, if you are driving more or have a new driver in the house, you may need to up your coverage to ensure that your needs will be met if there is an accident.
If you’re uncertain about any aspect, seek advice from insurance professionals or legal experts to make informed decisions.
Stay safe and informed on the roads, Massachusetts drivers! Your understanding of car insurance can make all the difference in ensuring a smooth and protected driving experience.
Be Prepared: Making a Claim
If you are in an accident, the first and most important action is to make sure everyone is okay. If there are injuries or substantial damage, call emergency services immediately.
Once everyone is safe, gather information. Exchange contact information along with insurance and vehicle information. Then, document the accident scene. Take photos of the vehicles, license plates, and the accident’s surroundings. Make note of the weather or other influencing factors.
Once the scene has been cleared, reach out to your insurance company about the car accident as soon as possible. Your insurer will guide you through the claims process. You can expect to fill out claims forms and provide details about the accident including the time, location, and parties involved.
Your insurer will negotiate and settle the claim based on the terms of your policy and the assessment of the accident.
If there are disputes or complexities regarding the claim, seek legal guidance. Consider hiring an attorney who is experienced in car insurance claims and will fight to ensure that your rights are protected.