Local, Independent Insurance Agent

Gecco vs Insurance Agent

Geico vs. your local, independent insurance agent. Be careful you don’t click too soon.

Geico has funny commercials, a cute lizard, and they can, sometimes, have good rates.

From my independent, Massachusetts insurance agent perspective, however, that’s were the funny, cute, and good stuff ends.

We have a long time client that was hit head on by a vehicle insured with Geico.

The Geico vehicle was at-fault, allegedly skidding on black ice (our insured thinks the person was texting).

Geico appraised the vehicle (a 2005 Honda Accord LX with 141,000 miles) and deemed it to be a total loss.

The N.A.D.A. values for her vehicle are: $8,050 (retail) and $5,650 (trade).

GEICO offered her: $4,555 as settlement. Take it or leave it.

We had our client’s insurance carrier appraise the vehicle and they, in turn, offered her the full retail value: $8,050 (+ $503.12 … 6.25% sales tax).

Geico vs. Insurance Agent: $4,555 vs $8,050.

We recommended our client accept her company’s offer and let GEICO know she has decided to go first party through her own insurance company.

As I hung up the phone with our client, I thanked her for insuring with us.

Her response was: “Always.”

Having an independent agent as your advocate, whether deciding on coverage that’s right for you, or at claim time, can really make a difference.

That’s my biased, independent Massachusetts agent position.

Call or click us today for your free, no obligation Massachusetts auto insurance quote.

You will be glad you did.

Slip & Slide Accident Surcharge? Appeal!

Slip & slide accident surcharge? Appeal!

Over the course of this nasty winter did you have a weather related, at-fault accident? Were you found “at-fault?”

Did you receive a surcharge notice for this slide & slide?

If so, this means the insurance company found you more than 50% at-fault and paid out more than $500 in damages.

Less than $2,000 in damages results in a 3 point (minor accident) surcharge, more than $2,000 results in a 4 point (major accident) surcharge.

If you believe you were not more than 50% at-fault in the accident, then we recommend you appeal the surcharge.

Unlike insurance companies, the Board of Appeal takes into account contributing factors, such as: road condition (icy, wet, snow-covered), visibility, other vehicle erratic driving, etc.

The Board of Appeal tells us it is presently taking about 9 months before consumers receive the hearing date. The cost to appeal is a non-refundable $50.

Once the hearing date is received you can: appear in person, submit a written statement, or select someone to appear on your behalf.

Appeal hearings are scheduled in: Boston, Brockton, Peabody, Plymouth, Somerville, Springfield, Waltham, or Worcester.

Call us or e-mail us to discuss.

Protect Your Assets

Protect your assets
as·set
ˈaset/
noun
plural noun: assets
A useful or valuable thing, person, or quality.
“quick reflexes were his chief asset”
  • property owned by a person or company, regarded as having value and available to meet debts, commitments, or legacies.
Example: “The claimant received all of his assets because he did not carry enough liability coverage.”
Let’s face it: auto insurance should protect your assets. Your greatest threat of a liability lawsuit is when you’re driving your vehicle.
On the Massachusetts auto insurance policy the coverage that best protects you from potential law suit is your Part 5, Optional Bodily Injury to Others, coverage.
Do you know what you carry for your Part 5 coverage?
As an aside, we believe your Parts 3 & 12, Uninsured & Underinsured Motorist Coverage, should match your Part 5 coverage.
In addition to $250,000 per person/$500,000 per accident limits, we recommend you carry personal liability umbrella coverage.
At your convenience, give us a call, click or visit to discuss.

Tips to make sure you are getting the best auto rates

Tips to make sure you are getting the best auto rates

Tips to make sure you are getting the best auto rates:

It’s important to shop around and look for every discount available.

The first place to start when looking for the best auto premium is by packaging your auto insurance with the same company as your home insurance.

If you don’t own a home or condominium, it might be time to purchase apartment insurance coverage. If not for the only reason of taking advantage of an auto insurer’s “account discount.”

Other discounts to consider:

  • Did you drive less than 10,000 miles over the past 12 months?
  • Are you a good driver? Have you had any at-fault accidents or moving violations over the past 6 years?
  • Do you pay your bills in full?
  • Do you receive your bills and documents by e-mail?
  • Did you recently get married? Do you have the same company as your spouse?
  • Are any of your kids good students? Do they have a “B” or better average?
  • Are you a college graduate?

Snowplowing

snowplowing

It’s that time of year. 

Plows are breaking out in every community.  Our phone rings and our client on the other end has questions about plowing and plates or plowing and insurance or both.

Here’s the skinny: Massachusetts law is clear on the point that if you plow for hire, you need Commercial plates.

Personal passenger plates are acceptable only if you plow your own driveway, or if say you plow a relatives driveway but do not get paid.  Even still, a police office might write a ticket to a vehicle plowing with Private passenger plates- such a ticket would need to be appealed.

Insurance and plowing is a little more complicated.

Insurance carriers have different appetites for vehicles used for plowing.  We work with some that will not write plows of any kind, others that will write only vehicles used for residential plowing and others that allow plowing without restriction.

Please call if you plow and we can review your specific situation to ensure you have the right coverage and plates.

What is Substitute Transportation on MA Auto Policy?

What is Substitute Transportation on MA Auto Policy?

Massachusetts Insurance Substitute Transportation Coverage

You drive to and from work every day. You take your kids to the ballgame. You go shopping. Have you ever wondered if your car were in an accident, how you would be able to survive without a car? We have the answer …

What is Substitute Transportation on MA Auto Policy?

You drive to and from work every day. You take your kids to the ballgame. You go shopping. Have you ever wondered if your car were in an accident, how you would be able to survive without a car? We have the answer. It’s Substitute Transportation Coverage to the rescue. The good thing about car insurance is that you can buy a number of endorsements for additional protections and rental car reimbursement is one of them.

What is Substitute Transportation on MA Auto Policy?

Substitute Transportation Coverage is Part 10 on the Massachusetts Personal Auto Policy. Substitute Transportation Coverage provides financial protection for you if you need a vehicle when your car is damaged in an accident covered by your Comprehensive or Collision coverage. Some policies cover car rentals when your vehicle undergoes mechanical repairs. Rental reimbursement is generally available only with policies that include collision and comprehensive coverage.

How Do I Know If I Purchased the Coverage on My Massachusetts Car Insurance Policy?

The first several pages of your insurance policy are called the declarations pages. These pages contain the declarations of the coverages you have purchased for each of your vehicles and include the specific description of your vehicle(s). Look for a line item listed as “Rental” or “Extended Transportation,” with a dollar amount listed to the side of it. You have purchased this insurance only if there is a dollar coverage amount next to it and there is a policy premium amount listed for the insured vehicle. You may purchase the coverage for one vehicle but not for another, at your option.

How Substitute Transportation Coverage Works

The optional rider offsets the daily cost of a rental vehicle for a specific time period and up to the specific daily limit you purchased. You can generally purchase limits of $15/day $450 total (costs about $14 annually) and $30/day $900 total (costs about $54 annually). The first number indicates the daily maximum coverage and the second is the maximum coverage for 30 days. For example, if you purchase 30/900, the policy would pay up to $30 per day for up to a maximum of 30 days or $900, whichever comes first.

Most insurance carriers have pre-arranged agreements with several car rental agencies that may include direct bill and pre-negotiated rates. Remember, if you exceed your policy limits, you are responsible for the difference. You should select a rental rate based on the type of car you need. If you have a family SUV, you should select a daily rental rate for a comparable vehicle.

How Do I Know When I Am Covered?

The time to find out if you have this coverage is BEFORE an accident. So call your independent agent. If you purchased the coverage, you are insured while the vehicle is in the shop being repaired, up to your coverage limits. If your vehicle is not drivable, you may be able to get a rental vehicle before your vehicle is being repaired, but always check with your agent first. If your vehicle is stolen, call the insurance company or your agent immediately after calling the police to report the car stolen since most have a clause in the policy that does not cover a rental vehicle for the first 48 hours after the reported loss. If your vehicle is totaled you will have a limited time frame in which to replace it and that may be less than the maximum that could be paid out under this coverage.

What is Substitute Transportation on MA Auto Policy? MassAutoQuote.com Can Help!

As your online independent insurance agent, MassAutoQuote can help you select the appropriate Substitute Transportation Coverage limit for you. Contact us when you are purchasing your auto insurance and we can help you find the right insurance company.

Insuring my teen driver

Insuring my teen driver

Ah yes, your teen is finally behind the wheel, which allows you to hang up your hat as the resident chauffeur. But in addition to that new found sense of freedom for both parent and teen, comes a new pinch in the pocketbook. Ouch. Insuring my teen driver.

It’s true, parents of teen drivers typically incur an increase in their car insurance premiums, but we have some tips to help offset the cost of having a young driver on your auto insurance policy.

Insuring my teen driver-

One factor that can affect your rate significantly is whether your child will have their own car. There is a substantial savings in having a new teen driver share the family vehicle rather than giving them a car of their own. In addition to having one less vehicle to carry on your policy, sharing a car means they will spend less time driving because of limited access to a vehicle.

Should you choose to get your teen their own vehicle, the type of car you select can affect your premiums considerably. Your independent insurance agent can help you determine which models cost less to insure, but considering these factors may help you narrow down your choices:

  • Drive a used car. While a brand new car may seem the safest choice (if cost isn’t an issue), it is often the more expensive route when it comes to car insurance. If you do not need to insure the value of the vehicle (ie- no collision and no comprehensive coverage), you and your teen driver will save – most likely- over $1,000 annually.
  • Safety rankings count. Whether you are considering new or used, it is a good idea to check the safety ratings. Having your teen at the wheel of a safe car might affect your premium as well as your peace of mind.

The Lemon Law

The Lemon Law

Have you been sold a lemon of a vehicle? The Lemon Law is here to help!

Many people ask us about the Massachusetts Lemon Law.

To qualify for the MA Lemon Aid Law, your vehicle must fail an official Massachusetts safety and emissions inspection within 7 days of purchase.

Next, you must get a written estimate for the cost for the inspection-related repairs. If the repair estimate is for more than 10% of the purchase price of the vehicle, you can get a full refund from the seller (private party or dealer).

To qualify for The Lemon Law and get a refund you must return the vehicle to the seller within 14 days of purchase with a signed statement by the inspector of why the vehicle failed, a copy of the estimate and a letter telling the seller that you want to cancel the sale.

For more information, visit the Massachusetts Consumer Affairs website at  or call (617) 727-7780.

At fault accident: standards of fault

at fault accident: standards of fault

When determining fault in a Massachusetts auto accident, MA insurance companies use the following Standards of Fault:

  • Collision with a lawfully or an unlawfully parked vehicle
  • Rear-end collision
  • Out-of-lane collision
  • Failure to signal
  • Failure to proceed with due caution from a traffic control signal or sign
  • Collision on wrong side of road
  • Operating in the wrong direction
  • Collision at an uncontrolled intersection
  • Collision while in the process of backing up
  • Collision while in the process of backing up
  • Collision while making a left turn or a U-turn across the travel path of a vehicle travelling in the same or opposite direction
  • leaving or exiting from a parked position, a parking lot, an alley, or a driveway
  • Opened or opening vehicle door(s)
  • Single-vehicle collision
  • Failure to obey the rules and regulations for driving
  • Unattended vehicle collision
  • Collision while merging onto a highway or into a rotary
  • Noncontact operator causing collision
  • Failure to yield the right-of-way to emergency vehicles when required by law
  • Collision at a “T” intersection(you entered from side road)

For For more information regarding MA automobile insurance, call the Massachusetts Division of Insurance Consumer Hotline at: 617-521-7777 or visit their website: http://www.mass.gov/doi. For more information regarding your driving record, call the Massachusetts Merit Rating Board’s Customer Service Section at: 617-351-4400 or visit their website at: http://www.mass.gov/mrb.

For a competitive, Massachusetts Auto Insurance quote, please call or click us today.

Advanced Driver Training Discounts

Advanced Driver Training Discounts

The number one killer of teens is automobile accidents.

MassAutoQuote recommends In Control Advanced Driver Training.

Many companies offer an Advanced Driver Training discount, one company in particular (Safety Insurance) supplements the cost of the class. Instead of paying the standard rate of $299, Safety Insurance clients pay only $75.

In addition, clients receive a 5% policy discount on their auto insurance (Safe Roads Alliance). A “policy” discount can be huge because it applies to the entire policy and not just the vehicle the driver is rated on. So, in other words, if you have 3 vehicles on the policy all the vehicles receive the discount.

In Control is a non-profit organization filed as a 501(c)(3) and offers the nation’s first state certified crash prevention training to drivers of all ages. This closed course, hands-on education was adapted from existing law enforcement training in the United States as well as European instruction that led to a societal shift in attitudes toward driving in many countries.  

In Control has trained nearly 25,000 students and receives endless praise from graduates, parents, schools, police departments, insurance companies, legislators and community groups all over New England.   Most graduates enjoy insurance discounts and the peace of mind knowing that they have been trained for emergency situations.  Third party research has found a 70% reduction in crashes for new driver graduates of our training and similar results for experienced drivers trained through our commercial programs.

While focused on training New England drivers of all ages, In Control has traveled the United States providing training, consulting and products to keep people safe from the most dangerous thing we do.

Call, click, or stop by to find out more about Advanced Driver Training and other Massachusetts auto insurance discount programs.