Massachusetts Car Insurance Ruminations – Fall 2019

Motor vehicle insurance is a necessary evil.  We drive.  The roads are dangerous.  Other drivers are distracted or poorly prepared for road conditions.  Folks get hurt.  Notwithstanding the cost, insurance helps spread the costs of property damage and protects victims of injury.

PIP, or Personal Injury Protection, is a no-fault insurance policy required in Massachusetts which provides up to $8,000 in medical bill and lost earnings coverage.  Medical Payment coverage is not required in Massachusetts but provides additional no fault coverage for…medical bills.  But these coverages are minimal given the seriousness of some injuries. 

Massachusetts Verses Other States

The average cost of car insurance in 2019 is $1,327 in Massachusetts, while the average cost in the United States was $175 higher, at $1,502.  We are below average?  New Hampshire averages $1,915, and Connecticut averages essentially the same as Massachusetts at $1,505, for example.  Of course, there are multiple factors here, but one obvious factor is what is required as minimum coverage. 

“Failure to buy sufficient under insurance coverage is the biggest mistake our clients have made”

– Attorney Neil Z. Burns

Minimum coverage is important.  “I’ve found that our clients are victims twice – first they suffer injuries from the motor vehicle the accident and second in the responsible person having only minimum liability coverage,” Attorney Neil Burns of Burns & Jain reports.  In Maine, while there is a higher average cost, there are higher required coverages:  the minimum coverage is $50,000 per person per accident and $100,000 per accident.  According to a recent study by Bankrate, this (along with Alaska) is the highest minimum in the country.  Maine differs dramatically from Massachusetts which has a $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident.  Note too that Connecticut has low coverage requirements, like Massachusetts, albeit somewhat better- $25,000 and $50,000.  The 25/50 requirement seems to be about the mean throughout the country. 

Massachusetts Consumers Should Buy More Insurance

Burns & Jain is not an insurance company, nor do they have ties to insurance companies – they work against the insurance company trial lawyers every day.  However, over the years, they have written time and again in these blogs that they find clients insufficiently insured. 

If you fail to purchase enough liability insurance and cause an accident, the injured party may go after your assets and the courts will give them a real estate attachment.  These cases become difficult as you will have to hire your own attorney, at significant cost, to defend yourself – the insurance company will only defend you up to the policy limits that you purchased.  Often clients end up paying large amounts of monies to resolve; some end up in bankruptcy. 

Massachusetts Consumers Should Buy More Under Insurance

“If you drive or are in a car in Massachusetts, you should buy the absolute maximum Under Insurance.”

– Attorney Neil Z. Burns

More importantly, if you are a victim of an accident and suffer personal injury and the person that caused the accident is insufficiently insured, you can go to your Under Insured insurance coverage – but only if you bought it.  If you got the minimum on Under Insurance coverage, you may be stuck with a $20,000 recovery.  After medical liens and attorney fees and out of pocket expenses, a minimal recovery can be disheartening given the seriousness of some accident victim’s injuries.

Ways to Reduce the Cost of Insurance

In Massachusetts there are many ways to reduce the high costs of insurance:  raise your deductible, bundle auto and home/apartment owner’s insurance, grow up (after age 25 the rates go down), paying upfront rather than monthly, drive an older vehicle, as well as many other ways that perhaps your insurance agent can advise. 

Massachusetts Accident Victims Call Burns & Jain For Free Consultation

Burns & Jain offers free consultations, free case review and practical advice to clients.  And they have been representing clients in Massachusetts since 1985 – 34 years this Fall!  Call now:  617-227-7423.