Updated on 06.20.16

Car Insurance in Massachusetts

Kailey Fralick

A few online quotes saved me $560 a year.

Massachusetts manages to hover right near the national average for car insurance costs — at just under $10 of the national average for car insurance we’re already in pretty good shape. Average might not seem impressive, but it’s actually quite a feat when you think about it; our state is one of the few operating under a no-fault system insurance system. Most places under that regulation, which means your insurance pays for your damages no matter who was at fault for the accident, are in the top tier of most expensive places to be insured. They often average $50 or more over the other states’ monthly rates. But even in its good standing, Massachusetts residents might still be paying more than they have to. With a little bit of research, I found that with a little shopping around, it’s possible to shave hundreds off your premium. Frankly, it was pretty easy.

I got five quotes in my search for the state’s best car insurance policy and found out Amica could save me $560 a year! And while I’d like to promise you the same results — how great would it be if I could send you over to Amica with a promise that you’d save $500 too? — I cannot predict which company will have your cheapest plan. Insurance premiums depend on a bounty of personal factors, like where you’re from and what you do, not to mention how clean your driving record is, so there are almost never two identical policies. (And if you want to know more about those factors and how you can use them to lower your rates, we have just the thing.)

Insurers mine personal information like your driving record, where you live, the make and model of your vehicle — and so much more — and feed it to a proprietary formula that digests the data and spits out a premium. The kicker is that every formulas and equation is different. Some may assess your vehicle’s age as a major cost influencer, while another may be less worried with actual age and more keen to the actual mileage being put on the car. The point is, the only way to find out which company offers you the best deal is to get a bunch of quotes (I recommend starting with five) and compare them.

Online quotes only took me about five minutes apiece, but I could certainly have been slowed down if I didn’t have all my pertinent data at hand and available. If you aren’t sure about your average annual mileage or are fuzzy on the details of a recent claim, be sure to find out before starting the process. Over-the-phone quotes are another option, but certainly expect to add an extra 10 to 15 minutes to your budgeted time — and don’t forget to ask to have your quote emailed (or snail-mailed) to you for your personal records. I also found that I needed to have my game face on for phone quotes. Some companies will give you the hard sell, and it’s tough to not give up after the fifth, “How much would that coverage add to my premium?” With an online quote, it was as simple as checking and unchecking a few boxes.

Get Quotes Now

Enter your zip code to compare rates from some of my top recommendations.

Our Top 5 Picks for the Best Car Insurance in Massachusetts

The five companies I queried came highly recommended and awarded, and by those measures, I’d extend the recommendation you. All of them received “excellent” or “superior” grades from A.M. Best, an agency that measures a company’s long-term financial stability. They also scored high in the latest J.D. Power auto insurance customer satisfaction survey. Statistically speaking, you’ll probably be involved in a vehicular accident, you don’t want to lousy customer service or a long turnaround on a claim adding to the headache.

Insurer My quote
Amica $355
Allstate $364
GEICO $441
Progressive $534
Liberty Mutual $915

Amica turned out to my best cheap car insurance option at $355, but Allstate wasn’t far behind. Though I tried to stay as close to the minimum as I could, every company quoted me for higher limits or additional coverages. The most common add-on was the optional bodily injury liability and underinsured motorist coverage. But even so, these minor extensions can’t justify spending an extra $179 to use Progressive; much less the extra $560 for Liberty Mutual.

If you can afford it, though, getting more than the minimum coverage is always a great idea. Whenever you decide to shop around, don’t just compare the prices for minimum coverage; compare prices for a few upgraded coverages — when you do, you might find that Liberty Mutual and Progressive might offer more comparable rates. It’s also pretty surprising how much additional coverage you can add for a pretty low amount.

Even If You’re Happy, It’s Best to Shop for a New Policy Every Couple of Years

Believe it or not, insurance companies base your rate on more than just risk; they also consider how likely you are to search for a better deal. Using big data and algorithms you’d need a degree to understand, they pull things like your credit score and your online shopping habits to understand and predict your loyalty behaviors. Furthermore, they deduce your price elasticity — your sensitivity to cost increase — and begin to adjust your premiums accordingly. The tactic is known as price optimization. Counterintuitively to all customer service underpinnings, your loyalty isn’t rewarded, its exploited. If your insurer believes you won’t look around for a better price, they’ll sneak a few extra dollars into your premium at every renewal period.

Shopping for a new policy every year or two one of your best defenses against price optimization and the best way to avoid these upcharges. They sama data that tells your insurance company you bought a dress before it went on sale, or that you’ve stuck with the same cell carrier for the past eight years, also tells them you’ve been looking for quotes. Getting quotes will show insurers that you’ll go to whichever company offers you the best deal. So maybe next time renewal comes around, they won’t be so tempted to pull an extra dollar or ten from your pocket.

In response to the controversial tactic, fifteen states have issued legal ordinances banning price optimization. Many states count the practice as unfairly discriminatory and therefore unconstitutional. That’s a big accusation when it come right down to it. Massachusetts has not yet followed suit with a bulletin or official statement. That means it’s in your hands to bring awareness about, and to parade against price gouging. If you want to make sure that you won’t fall victim to price optimization, give a call to your local agent and ask about your current insurer’s policy regarding it. And if you want to take it a step farther, make a call or write a letter to your Massachusetts Department of Insurance.

Massachusetts’s Minimum Coverage

The Bare Minimum

Massachusetts residents are required to have $20,000 of bodily injury coverage per person and $40,000 per accident, plus $5,000 of property damage liability coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage is required in the same quantities ($20,000/$40,000). Massachusetts is also one of the only states that requires their residents to carry personal injury protection, with a minimum of $8,000 per person, per accident.

The Best Car Insurance Isn’t Just Cheap Car Insurance

It’s always best to purchase more than just the minimum coverage if you can reasonably afford it. If you’re skeptical, consider these facts:

  • The average driver will get into an accident every 17.9 years.
  • The average cost of a disabling, nonfatal injury is $80,700, not including property damages.

Say I have just basic, cheap car insurance and I get into an accident like that. My insurance is going to pay its $20,000 and then leave me to cover the remaining $60,000. Massachusetts may be a no-fault state, but you can still be sued if you cause someone a permanent injury. So I’m likely to end up emptying my bank account to pay for the damages.

If I’d purchased some optional bodily injury coverage as well — let’s go with $50,000/$100,000, plus the compulsory $20,000/$40,000 required by state law — then I’m only going to have to pay $10,000 out of pocket in the worst-case accident scenario above. That extra coverage would cost me another $127 a year with Amica. It sounds like a lot at first, but that only adds up to $2,286 over 18 years. Since I’m likely to have an accident in that time, and possibly be brought to court, I think I’d rather put an extra $2,286 into better coverage rather than face the risk of being held responsible for tens of thousands of dollars in damages.

You may also want to think about vehicle coverage as well. If you have a lease or loan on your vehicle, your lender will most likely require you to purchase collision and comprehensive coverage. It’s an insurance for them against the possibility of an accident which will totals the vehicle (destroying what’s essentially still their property). Even if you own your car outright, it’s can be a good option to do the math on; without it you’ll have to pay for repairs yourself.

If You Skip Coverage, It’ll Cost You

Hitting the road without insurance will result in a fine of anywhere between $500 and $5,000 and may also earn you up to a year in jail or a year’s suspension of your driving privileges. If your license is suspended, you’ll also have to pay an additional fee to reinstate it.

Get Quotes Now

Enter your zip code to compare rates from some of my top recommendations.

Beat the Average Premium: 9 Ways to Snag Cheap Car Insurance Rates

Multitudes of factors influence your auto insurance premiums. Some are in your control, others are not. For example, I always pay my premium in full and I only drive a couple days a week, so I score some nice low-mileage discounts from most insurers. But what about you? Check out the chart below for more ideas that might work well for your lifestyle.

Nine Ways to Lower Your Car Insurance Rates


Why are Massachusetts’s rates just average?

What to Expect
Average Monthly Premiums
United States $139
Massachusetts $131
Brockton $163
Lynn $154
Malden $150
Lawrence $148
Springfield $145
Boston $136
New Bedford $132
Worcester $131
Fall River $131
Medford $125
Source Quadrant

According to a study by the Insurance Information Institute, Massachusetts has the fewest uninsured drivers of any state. There are also fewer fatal accidents than the majority of the country, so why are your rates only slightly below average? It comes down to high repair costs and the no-fault insurance system.

Massachusetts was found to have the second-highest auto repair costs in the nation. That means when you get into an accident, the repair bill can skyrocket quickly. Once a repair bill tops the evaluated worth of the vehicle, an insurance provider will opt to “total” the vehicle and instead pay what it deems is the total worth of your car. Whenever there is a greater chance of a higher payout for an insurance company, you can be sure that you will see the repercussions in your premiums.

As one of only 12 states with a no-fault auto insurance system, Massachusetts law dictates that your insurance pays for your damages, regardless of who was at fault in an accident. There is an exception for serious injuries or deaths, in which case the at-fault driver may still be sued. This system was originally intended to reduce auto insurance premiums and save the courts from a docket crammed full of petty civil suits. While it may unburden the judicial system a bit, studies have shown that no-fault states are actually prone to pay more than states following the more standard tort system.

What if I’m not a full-time resident?

If you’re not a Massachusetts resident, you don’t have to register your vehicle for the first 30 days you spend in-state. But, if you operate your vehicle within the borders for more than 30 days out of the year (consecutive or nonconsecutive), you’re required to register your vehicle and comply with the state’s insurance laws.

Military personnel on active duty are exempt from this rule as are non-resident students attending a Massachusetts university, though students must file a form with the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles.

The Bottom Line

The only way to ensure you’re getting the best deal is to know what the other deals are. It’s as simple as that. So whether online, on the phone, or with your agent, take the time to get some quotes. The results will be two-fold. First, you’ll find better rates. Second, you’ll prevent being marked by insurers as someone who’ll take rate increases sitting down. The entire process takes well under an hour, and oftentimes, you can get through online quotes in about five minutes.

And finally, make sure to compare different coverages, not just the state minimum. Cheap car insurance is a tricky scenario, and it doesn’t always protect you like you want — or think — it will. By ponying up with a slightly higher rate now, you can avoid lengthy lawsuits, being without a car, emptying your savings, incurring massive debt: The list goes on and on. It’s your turn to see how much you can save.

Get Quotes Now

Enter your zip code to compare rates from some of my top recommendations.

Simple Share Buttons
Simple Share Buttons