What is Car Insurance?
Driving is part of regular life, but it’s hardly without risk. Car accidents occur every day, and some are extremely serious. Car insurance policies don’t stop accidents from occurring, but it may help Massachusetts drivers financially recover if they’re ever in an accident.
Having car insurance is an important part of being a responsible vehicle owner. It’s no substitute for obeying traffic laws and driving carefully, but it’s also not something drivers can ignore.
What Massachusetts Residents Need an Auto Insurance Policy?
Massachusetts law generally requires drivers who take their vehicles on public roadways to carry minimum levels of auto insurance. Thus, the vast majority of state residents who own cars or trucks need a policy.
Legal requirements alone aren’t the only reason to get an auto policy. Many drivers choose to purchase more than the minimum-required coverage because they want to be well protected against potentially expensive claims.
What Coverages Are Available Through Auto Insurance Policies?
Auto policies include a variety of coverages, some of which come standard and others of which are optional. A few of the coverages that drivers might want to look for include:
- Personal Injury Coverage, which normally covers injuries that a driver or passengers sustain
- Bodily Injury Coverage, which normally covers injuries sustained by people not in a policyholder’s vehicle
- Comprehensive and Collision Coverage, which normally covers damage to an insured vehicle
- Property Damage Coverage, which normally covers damage to others’ property
- Uninsured Motorist Coverage, which normally covers accidents caused by drivers who don’t have enough insurance
- Rental Car Reimbursement Coverage, which may cover renting a car after an accident
- Pet Coverage, which may cover dogs, cats or other pets riding in a vehicle
Many policies also make emergency roadside assistance available as an option.
What is Gap Coverage?
Gap coverage is a specialized protection that’s frequently purchased by drivers who finance their vehicles.
Because vehicles tend to rapidly depreciate, the fair-market value of a vehicle often drops below what’s owed on the vehicle in the months (and sometimes years) after it’s purchased. Comprehensive and collision coverage generally have limits equal to an auto’s fair-market value, which can create a gap between the coverage’s limit and how much is owed.
Gap coverage typically provides coverage for the difference between an auto’s fair-market value and what is owed on the vehicle. Having this coverage in place may ensure that a driver can pay off their loan if their vehicle is totaled.
Drivers who lease vehicles often also purchase gap coverage for similar reasons.
What Auto Insurance Discounts Are Available?
Insurance companies offer many discounts that drivers might take advantage of. A few common discounts include:
- Multi-policy discounts
- Good student discounts
- Safe driver discounts
- Safety equipment discounts
- Loyalty discounts
- Pay-in-full discounts
- Organization membership discounts
In addition to taking advantage of discounts, drivers can also frequently lower their premiums by comparing different policies with an independent insurance agent. Independent insurance agents are able to get quotes from different insurers so that drivers can find the best available policy regardless of what company offers it.