Car Insurance in Massachusetts
Massachusetts Car Insurance
Massachusetts has specific car insurance requirements to ensure state residents have adequate coverage in the case of an accident or other vehicle-related incident.
These insurance mandates protect you, but they can also quickly increase the cost of your policy’s rates, depending on the coverage limits you choose. If you’re a safe driver, however, you may be eligible for a discount on your insurance premium.
Learn more about Massachusetts auto insurance requirements, rates, options and programs below.
Car Insurance Requirements
In Massachusetts, you are required to have 4 different types of car insurance coverages with the following minimums:
- Bodily Injury to Others:
- $20,000 per person.
- $40,000 per accident.
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP):
- $8,000 per person in an accident.
- Bodily Injury Caused by an Uninsured Auto:
- $20,000 per person.
- $40,000 per accident.
- Damage to Someone Else’s Property:
- $5,000 per accident.
PIP coverage will cover you or your passengers’ injuries from a car accident, regardless of who was at fault. However, you still can be considered at fault for car accidents in MA.
Optional Car Insurance
Most Massachusetts auto insurance companies allow drivers to purchase higher limits on the required coverage types and/or purchase additional insurance coverage. When getting a quote on car insurance ask about the following types of optional coverage:
- Collision – This covers damages to your car caused by a traffic collision.
- Comprehensive – This covers non-collision-related incidents, such as damages to your vehicle caused by severe weather.
- Towing and labor.
NOTE: MA auto insurance laws do not require you to purchase collision and comprehensive coverage; however, if you have a car loan or are leasing your car, your finance company will require you to have both collision and comprehensive car insurance.
Proof of Insurance
In Massachusetts, you do not need to show your insurance card as proof of insurance. Instead, your car registration will have your car insurance information on it and will act as your proof of insurance.
Because your car registration is also your proof of insurance, Massachusetts takes steps to involve your car insurance carrier in the vehicle registration process.
Registering Your Vehicle
If you are registering your car for the first time in Massachusetts, you will need to have your MA car insurance agent complete, stamp, and sign the Insurance Certification section of an Application for Registration and Title (RMV-1) before turning it into the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV).
To learn more about MA vehicle registration, visit our page on registering your car in Massachusetts.
Renewing Your Registration
You should receive a Renewal Form (RMV-2) from the RMV in the mail 6 to 8 weeks before the expiration of your current vehicle registration. You may also download and print the RMV-3 form for the same purposes.
If your renewal card is marked “Ins. Stamp Required,” you must have your insurance company stamp and sign your renewal card before turning it into the RMV via the following options:
- By mail to:
- In person at an RMV center.
Attn: Mail In Registration
Registry of Motor Vehicles
P.O. Box 55891
Boston, MA 02205
If your renewal card is marked “Ins. Stamp Not Needed Active Policy on File,” you may be able to renew your car registration by any of the above options, OR:
- Online at the MA RMV’s Registration Renewal page.
- By phone at:
- (857) 368-8000 (if calling from MA area codes 339, 617, 781, and 857, or from outside of MA).
- (800) 858-3926 (if calling from any other MA area code not listed).
- Touch-tone for hearing impaired: (877) 768-8833.
To learn more about vehicle registration renewal criteria, visit our Registration Renewal in Massachusetts page.
Massachusetts Safe Driver Insurance Plan
The Massachusetts Safe Driver Insurance Plan (SDIP) is a program that aims to decrease traffic accidents by requiring unsafe drivers to pay higher insurance premiums and offering discounts to safe drivers.
SDIP rate discounts and increases specifically affect your liability and optional collision coverages. Your driving history directly affects your SDIP rating, as well as the effect of that rating on your premium. The MA RMV provides a detailed chart that shows how ratings affect your premium.
Massachusetts car insurance companies have the option of using either the SDIP merit-based driver rating system, or their own merit-based rating system to help determine your insurance premium.
Under the SDIP merit-based rating system, new drivers are automatically assessed higher premiums due to their lack of experience. Additionally, you will receive surcharge points for incidents such as car accidents or traffic violations.
The more surcharge points you have, the higher your car insurance premium will be.
Surcharge points might be imposed if you:
- Are in a car accident and:
- Are found to be more than 50% at fault by your insurance company.
- Your insurance company pays out more than $500 on a claim.
- Are convicted of a traffic violation.
- Pay a fine for a traffic violation.
- Are assigned to an alcohol education program as a result of a DUI conviction.
If your car insurance company uses the SDIP and you are a safe driver, you may be eligible to save money on your insurance premium through the following discounts:
- Excellent Driver Discount Plus (Credit code 99*): 6-year credit. To qualify for this discount, you must:
- Have 6 years of driving experience.
- Have no surcharges in the past 6 years.
- Excellent Driver Discount (Credit code 98*): 5-year credit. To qualify for this discount, you must:
- Not be eligible for the Excellent Driver Discount Plus.
- Have at least 5 years of driving experience.
- Have no surcharges in the past 5 years.
- Excellent Driver Discount (Credit code 98*): 5-year credit with 1 incident. To qualify for this discount, you must:
- Have at least 5 years of driving experience.
- Have had only 1 incident (surchargeable) for a non-criminal minor traffic violation in the past 6 years that is at least 3 years old (please see “Surcharge Point Forgiveness” below).
* Credit code 99 and credit code 98 are applied to insurance coverage rates for good drivers and determine the discount on the driver’s premium. Drivers with credit code 99 receive the highest discount at 17%, and drivers with credit code 98 receive a 7% discount.
Surcharge Point Forgiveness
In certain situations, you may qualify for a reduction in surcharge points, which will make your insurance more affordable.
For example, if you have any surcharge points from the 6th year prior to the start of your car insurance policy, those points will not count against you.
You will also NOT be penalized with any surcharge points for your first minor, non-criminal traffic violation in the 5 years preceding the start of your policy.
“Clean in 3”
You may be eligible to have 1 point reduced for each surchargeable incident IF:
- You have had 3 incidents or less that have led to surcharge points in the past 5 years.
- Your most recent surcharge was at least 3 years prior to the effective date of your policy.
- You have at least 3 years of driving experience.
NOTE: Massachusetts car insurance companies do not have to follow the Safe Driver Discount guidelines; however, they must have a merit-based driver rating system. Contact your car insurance carrier to see how they rate you.
Massachusetts Auto Insurance Plan
You are guaranteed car insurance in Massachusetts, regardless of your driving history; however, individual car insurance companies do have the right to deny you their coverage.
If you are having a difficult time finding a car insurance company willing to provide you coverage, you can apply for a car insurance policy through the Massachusetts Auto Insurance Plan (MAIP).
MAIP will assign you to a Massachusetts car insurance provider. All car insurance companies in Massachusetts must provide MAIP-assigned car insurance.
You can apply to the Massachusetts Auto Insurance Plan through any MA car insurance agent, including an agent with a company that rejected you for coverage initially.
Car insurance is cheaper in the voluntary market. Continue to shop around and compare rates to determine your best insurance option, even if you currently hold an MAIP policy. You can cancel your MAIP insurance at any time.
Determining Your Premium
In addition to merit-based driver rating systems such as the SDIP, insurance companies in Massachusetts may also use the following factors to determine the rate of your premium:
- Your age.
- Years of driving experience.
- Your location.
- The make and model of your car.
MA auto insurance companies are not legally allowed to use the following factors to determine the price of your auto insurance policy:
- Credit score.
- Marital status.
- Whether or not your own a home.
Because MA insurance companies cannot factor the above to determine your insurance quotes, they may put a heavier emphasis on the factors they can use.
Regardless of how auto insurance companies determine your policy rates, the most effective way of obtaining and keeping a low-cost policy is by following traffic laws and driving safely.
Most Stolen Cars in Massachusetts
If you own a car that is highly targeted for theft, you may have to pay more for your car insurance.
The following is a list of the most stolen cars in Massachusetts for 2013, according to www.nicb.org:
- Honda Accord.
- Honda Civic.
- Dodge Caravan.
- Toyota Camry.
- Toyota Corolla.
- Ford Pickup (Full Size).
- Nissan Altima.
- Honda CR-V.
- Nissan Maxima.
- Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee.
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
- Washington DC
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