October 10, 2011

A Quick Guide To Massachusetts Auto Insurance Laws

Auto insurance laws in Massachusetts may not be the most draconian, but they do demand the attention of vehicle owners. Driving in Massachusetts without car insurance can be costly in more ways than one. Fines are harsh and the guilty driver might even have his driver's license revoked. Massachusetts is a "no fault" state: Insurance companies must pay for your injuries, no matter who is at fault for an accident. The minimum coverage rules set by the state's laws seem to impact on car insurance rates. They are among the highest in the country.

The average car insurance rates in Massachusetts are among the country's top ten for residents. The auto insurance laws say any vehicle registered in the state must have liability insurance. This includes bodily injury coverage that carries a minimum $20,000 for every person involved in an accident. There's also property damage minimums of $5,000 and $8,000 to cover medical and work loss costs. Again, all of these coverage minimums are paid with no need to determine who was at fault.

Rental cars don't escape the auto insurance laws of Massachusetts. All the minimums are in place and it's up to the car renter to make sure his coverage is adequate. Most credit cards provide rental car insurance. But if that isn't the case, rental car insurance can be purchased from the rental agency to cover the time the vehicle is in use.

Car owners in Massachusetts are not required to obtain any additional insurance that goes beyond the minimums. Drivers are not obliged to purchase uninsured or underinsured coverage. But the state does suggest drivers have more insurance than that provided by minimum coverage.

Car insurance rates in Massachusetts can be determined by examining a client's personal credit history. Insurers operating in the state can also use other factors to settle on coverage costs. These include driving records, what vehicle is being used, the sex and age of those covered, where they live and how many drivers the policy covers.

As with other states, Massachusetts has no tolerance for drivers caught using alcohol. A first driving under the influence (DUI) citation can mean a prison sentence for up to 30 months. A driver's license will be suspended for a year and fines upwards of $5,000 may be levied against any first-time offender. A DUI conviction that involves having a child in the car at the time of an arrest virtually guarantees the guilty party can expect the worst. That includes time in jail for child endangerment. Continue to rack up DUI convictions, and you might eventually find your license suspended for eight years.