Whenever drivers get behind the wheel, they assume some level of risk. While no one expects to be in an accident, thousands occur every day -- and most Massachusetts drivers will be in at least one during their lifetime. Car insurance won’t keep people safe during a collision, but it can help protect drivers from the financial consequences of accidents.
Car insurance helps protect drivers from lots of the risks they assume by owning and operating a vehicle. Policies generally include several coverages, which may offer protection for everything from a multi-car pileup to an overnight break-in.
Insurance companies take lots of factors into account when calculating auto premiums. Just a few of the many considerations that insurers weigh include a driver’s age, marital status, gender, and vehicle make and model.
Even where a vehicle is parked can make a big difference, as crime and accident rates vary from area to area. A car that’s parked inside a garage in a suburb of Springfield, MA, for instance, may be less likely to be broken into or side-swiped than one that’s regularly parked on the streets of one of Boston, MA’s worst neighborhoods.
The exact coverages that are included in an auto insurance policy can vary. Nevertheless, there are some coverages that most policies make available, either as standard or optional coverages. These include:
In addition to these common coverages, some auto policies also offer coverage for emergency roadside assistance, rental vehicles, and broken glass (without a deductible).
Massachusetts requires all drivers who own vehicles that are taken on public roads to carry auto insurance. Drivers who don’t at least meet the state’s minimum coverage requirements aren’t able to register their vehicles. Anyone who is found driving a vehicle that’s not properly insured may face legal consequences, and they might be held personally liable for any accidents they cause.
Drivers’ credit scores are one factor that insurers in the state don’t consider. While many states let insurers take into account drivers’ credit scores, Massachusetts, California, and Hawaii have outlawed this practice.
Some of the coverages included in an auto policy may extend to cars that the insured driver rents. The coverages that extend vary, however, so drivers should check with their insurance agent to find out whether they need additional coverage when renting a vehicle. Drivers who need additional protection for a rental car might be able to get it from their insurer, their credit card provider, or the rental car company.
In order to find a car insurance policy that meets their unique needs, drivers in Massachusetts should contact an independent insurance agent for help. An agent will be able to assess a driver’s particular risk exposure and help them determine what coverages they need. Then, an independent agent can get quotes for several policies that provide those coverages and sign a driver up for the policy they prefer.