Auto Insurance Rates

Auto Insurance rates

Auto insurance rates, to put it bluntly, are all over the map.

Let’s clarify: I am a Massachusetts auto insurance agent. I have been for over 25 years. Same office. In 1994 the auto insurance rates landscape was very different.

There was one, state-set, rate.

That’s right folks. You read that right: there was one, state-set, rate. There was no competitive rating.

How did we get that way? Massachusetts didn’t, couldn’t trust the insurance companies to charge an honest rate. The citizens of The Commonwealth were taking a flogging. The state set the rate in order to protect the consumer.

Companies then had to figure out how to make a profit. And they did.

Thankfully (I think), 2008 came around and Massachusetts welcomed competitive auto insurance rating.

Our independent insurance Agency rates with 7 auto insurance companies.

Within these companies, we find auto insurance rates all over the map, from year to year.

So, you ask, why the article about auto insurance rates?

It’s because it’s important to have your agent shop your insurance from year to year.

Agencies don’t like to do it. More work, less money. However, I suggest — as an insurance agent — we must do it.

Our Agency lives by the philosophy of do what’s right for the client.

I spend some of my work time contacting clients about unpleasant insurance things like rate hikes, cancellations or claims.

People want to talk to their insurance agent like they want to talk to their dentist.

However, when I call a client to explain we can save them money on their renewal by transferring coverage to another company, it becomes a jubilant phone call.

They picked up the phone and someone saved them money.

The client is always happy. So am I.

Call, click or stop by.

Massachusetts Auto Insurance in Florida

Massachusetts Auto Insurance in Florida

Are you lucky enough to spend the month of March in Naples, FLA? Have you thought about your Massachusetts Auto insurance in Florida?

Before relaxing on a long vacation, there are many things to think about: airline tickets, hotel reservations, and car rental … but what about your auto insurance coverage?

Massachusetts Auto Insurance in Florida

If you have your own MA personal auto insurance policy then your coverage will follow you in the United States, U.S. Territories, Puerto Rico, and Canada.

If you travel to Bermuda, Europe, Mexico or other international destinations, you MA personal auto insurance coverage will NOT follow you and you will want to purchase coverage from the rental company.

In Massachusetts, our Registrations ARE proof of insurance. Generally, we don’t carry insurance cards like most of the rest of the nation.

Instead, if pulled over in Massachusetts, it’s: “License & registration.”

However, many of our MassAutoQuote snowbird clients, are now looking for proof of Massachusetts coverage when they rent a vehicle in Florida.

Do yourself a favor and contact your insurance agent before you travel and request a Massachusetts Auto Insurance card as proof of coverage. Also request a copy of your Massachusetts Auto Insurance Coverage Selections Page.

Call, click MassAutoQuote if your want the best coverage, service and value.

 

NH Speeding Ticket Show Up on MA License?

 

Will NH speeding ticket show up on my MA license?

Will NH Speeding ticket show up on my MA license?

So you like to drive fast, do you?

I have a confession to make: I do, too.

This past summer, on my way up to York Beach, ME, I got pulled over on Route 1 North in Portsmouth, NH.

Whether or not I was actually speeding is a blog article for another time.

The officer handed me a speeding ticket and suggested I slow it down and enjoy the summer.

I pulled back onto the highway slowly and, noticing the cost of the ticket ($248.00), I was no longer enjoying my summer.

A few minutes up the road, I turned up Katrina & the Waves, gave the finger to the state of NH, stepped on the accelerator and crossed into Maine.

The Walking on Sunshine feeling lasted only a few seconds before I noticed the all too familiar, neon blue lights flashing in my rear-view mirror.

Yep. Another speeding ticket. This time in the state of Maine.

I grimaced as I accepted the speeding ticket but felt somehow, somewhat vindicated when I noticed the amount ($185.00) was lower than the NH speeding ticket.

The happy ending to this sad tale is that these tickets have not shown up on my Massachusetts driving record/ auto insurance premium.

So, will a NH speeding ticket show up on my MA license?

Apparently, Massachusetts is not a member of the DLC (Drivers License Compact) which is a driving information reciprocity agreement between states. As a result, often times, when MA residents get moving violations in other states, the ticket never haunts the MA driving record.

Caution: Although MA is not a member of the DLC, they still have informal agreements and, sometimes, out-of-state incidents are reported and do show up. Sometimes years after the incident.

Massachusetts REAL ID

Massachusetts REAL ID

After October 1, 2020, you will need a Massachusetts REAL ID or a passport to fly within the United States or enter federal buildings.

A MASSACHUSETTS REAL ID:

  • Is a valid driver’s license or identification card
  • Is valid as a form of federal ID
  • Requires an in-person visit
  • Has a star displayed on the document to indicate that is a federally compliant card

Once you’ve decided if you want a MA REAL ID, get the right documents together. You’ll need to prove your:

  • U.S. citizenship or lawful presence
  • Social Security number
  • Massachusetts residency

All documents must be originals, photocopies and laminated documents will not be accepted.

A document cannot be used to prove more than one requirement.

U.S. Citizenship or Lawful presence documents

1 document from this group for either REAL ID or a Standard driver’s license/ID.

Lawful presence means that you’re legally living in the United States according to federal immigration laws. All U.S. citizens and lawfully permanent residents have permanent lawful presence in the U.S.

Non-U.S. citizens who are studying, working, or living temporarily in the U.S. may have temporary lawful presence that may vary in length.

For U.S. citizens, a valid, unexpired U.S. passport is sufficient proof of lawful presence. U.S. citizens may also provide a certified copy of their U.S. birth certificate.

For permanent residents, a valid permanent resident card (green card) is enough.

For non-U.S. citizens, you need to provide valid, verifiable immigration documents as well as proof that you’ve been granted a legal stay in the U.S. for at least 12 months. Your license or ID will expire when your legal stay is over.

Whether you’re getting a Massachusetts REAL ID or a Standard driver’s license/ID, you’ll need one of these:

  • Valid, unexpired U.S. passport or passport card
    • If your U.S. passport was issued within the last six months, bring your certified copy of your U.S. birth certificate
  • Certified copy of a birth certificate filed with a State Office of Vital Statistics or equivalent agency in the individual’s state of birth
    • A Puerto Rican birth certificate will only be accepted if it was issued on or after July 1, 2010. For more information on the Puerto Rican birth certificate law, visit the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration website. 
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) issued by the U.S. Department of State, Form FS-240, DS-1350, or FS-545
  • Valid, unexpired Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551) issued by DHS or INS
  • Temporary I-551 stamp in foreign passport
  • Unexpired employment authorization document (EAD) issued by DHS, Form I-766, or Form I-688B
  • Unexpired foreign passport with a valid, unexpired U.S. visa affixed
    • A non-US passport must contain a current visa and be presented with an I-94 Record of Arrival and Departure, unless you have a Permanent Resident Card or other change in status. The I-94 can be either a paper version from U.S. Customs and Border Protection or a printout of an electronic version downloaded from their website.
    • For applicable customers who have a Certificate of Eligibility (I-20) or Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status (DS-2019) documentation verifying the applicant’s most recent admittance into the United States must be shown
  • Certificate of Citizenship, Form N-560, or Form N-561, issued by DHS
  • Certificate of Naturalization (Form N-550 or N-570)
  • Re-Entry Permit (I-327) – accepted for Standard credential only
  • Refugee Travel Document (I-571) – accepted for Standard credential only

Note: The federal government allows for some exceptions to those in temporary protected status (TPS). See Department of Homeland Security’s website for current countries designated for TPS.

Social Security Number (SSN) documents

1 document from this group for either REAL ID or a Standard driver’s license/ID.

You must have a valid Social Security Number (SSN) to apply for any learner’s permit, driver’s license, or ID card. The RMV will validate the SSN you provide against computer records at the Social Security Administration (SSA). If you do not have an SSN, you may request an application for one by calling (800) 772-1213.

If you’re getting a Standard driver’s license/ID, you’ll only need to provide your valid SSN.

If you’re getting a REAL ID, you’ll need to bring 1 of the following documents displaying your 9-digit SSN:

  • SSN Card (cannot be laminated)
  • W-2 Form*
  • SSA-1099 Form
  • Non-SSA-1099 Form
  • A pay stub with the applicant’s name and full SSN on it*
  • SSN Denial Notice with passport, visa, and I-94

*One (W-2/paystub) cannot be used for both the Massachusetts residency and SSN requirements.  Two different (W-2s/paystubs) from different employers can be used for both requirements.

If you do not have an SSN, you should apply for one at a Social Security office as soon as possible. If you are denied an SSN, you may still qualify for a Massachusetts driver’s license or ID card if you can meet other identification requirements. However, to prove that you applied for an SSN, you must present the written denial notice the SSA provided you. The RMV requires your SSN or denial notice to confirm your identity and to maintain your license and driving records.

Note: All CDL applicants must have an SSN.

Massachusetts residency documents

1 or 2 1 for a Standard driver’s license/ID, 2 for a REAL ID

To prove Massachusetts residency, you’ll need a document showing your current residential address. A P.O. Box isn’t acceptable. Neither is a document mailed “in care of.”

You’ll need 2 of these documents for a REAL ID. Standard driver’s license/ID applicants need 1 of the following:

  • Massachusetts RMV-issued documents (can use one from the options below)
    • Current license, Massachusetts ID card, or learner’s permit (liquor ID not accepted)
    • RMV-issued correspondence dated within 60 days and received via U.S. mail (including license/registration reminders)
  • State/federal/municipal/city/town/county agency-issued documents
    • 1st class, government-issued mail dated within 60 days
    • Current MA-issued professional license with photograph
    • Medicaid statement dated within 60 days
    • Current firearms card
    • Jury duty summons dated within 60 days
    • Court correspondence dated within 60 days
    • Property tax for current year
    • Excise tax for current year
  • Bills
    • Utility bill (electric, telephone, water, sewer, cable, satellite, heating) dated within 60 days
    • Credit card statement dated within 60 days
    • Medical/hospital statement dated within 60 days
    • Cell phone bill dated within 60 days
  • Lease or Mortgage
    • Current lease/mortgage or similar rental contract
  • Financial-related documents
    • Bank statement that contains images of cancelled personal checks dated within 60 days
    • W-2 wage and tax statement from immediate prior year*
    • Current pension statement (401k, 457, SEP, etc.)
    • Current retirement statement
    • Pay stub dated within 60 days*
    • Current SSA statement
    • Current installment loan contract (car loan)
  • School-issued documents
    • Official school transcript for current year
    • Official letter from school (proof of enrollment) dated within 60 days
    • Tuition bill for current year
    • Certified school record for current year
  • Insurance-related documents
    • Auto insurance policy for current year
    • Renter’s insurance policy for current year
    • Homeowner’s insurance policy for current year
  • Alternative Residency Affidavit
    • For applicants under 18 only

*One (W-2/paystub) cannot be used for both the Massachusetts residency and SSN requirements.  Two different (W-2s/paystubs) from different employers can be used for both requirements.

NAME MUST MATCH for REAL ID

If your current name doesn’t match the one that appears on your lawful presence document(s), you must prove your legal name change in order to qualify for a REAL ID driver’s license/ID card. If multiple name changes, documentation for each name change must be provided. You will need to provide one of the following:

  • Marriage Certificate (must be issued from the municipality)
  • Divorce Decree
  • Court Document

Formulated in the wake of September 11 and passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act was passed to “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.”

The act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards, and it prohibits federal agencies from accepting licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards for official purposes.

It was aimed at eliminating airline terrorism by increasing requirements to obtain documents granting access to domestic planes.

You can start your Massachusetts REAL ID application online by clicking HERE.

Massachusetts Auto Insurance Quote

 

In 2020 our New Year’s resolution is to work on our Google search rankings.

When you type “Massachusetts Auto Insurance Quote” Google comes up with the usual suspects, namely: Amica, Geico, Allstate, Esurance and Liberty Bibberty.

Surprisingly, you don’t find our humble web log until the bottom of page 5, underneath Stanton Insurance of Bedford.

I say surprisingly, not to diminish Stanton Insurance, but because there was a time, pre-2008 when we held the #1 position, on the first page.

In some ways: shame on Google.

MassAutoQuote.com has provided Massachusetts consumers free, information and online insurance quotes since 2001.

Of course, our independent insurance brokerage firm does not have our own big-budget, online marketing department.

We’re full-service, professional, licensed insurance agents.

We’re busy helping clients with claims, billing questions, Registry of Motor Vehicles runs, prospecting, quoting, home, life, auto and business coverage.

We’re reviewing renewals and re-quoting, shopping for our clients to find the best premium and coverage.

We have a web professional that has, over the years, helped us develop our website. We try to do things that will attract Google’s attention.

But still … we’re insurance agents.

So, again, I say surprisingly that you can’t find us on Google until page 5 (keyword search: Massachusetts Auto Insurance Quote) because MassAutoQuote is ALL ABOUT Massachusetts Auto Insurance Quotes!

We rate auto insurance with numerous companies with the objective of finding you the lowest rate.

We will explain coverage and recommend high liability limits.

No matter what page you found us on, get a free Massachusetts Auto Insurance Quote.

You’ll be glad you did.

 

 

Like Rust, MassAutoQuote Never Sleeps

MassAutoQuote has been publishing online articles about Massachusetts Auto Insurance since long before GEICO entered the Commonwealth.

More than just an online presence, we live here, we work here and our kids go to school here.

Massachusetts is our home.

We would like to take this moment, from our family to your family, to wish you the merriest of Christmas’, happiest of Holidays and hope for the best New Year.

 

 

Paying Too Much for Commercial Auto Insurance?

Paying Too Much for Commercial Insurance?

In business, as in life, you have to trust your instincts. If you’re instincts tell you that you’re paying too much for your commercial auto insurance, you’re probably paying too  much for commercial auto insurance.

Insurance Companies, in general, like good clients to get comfortable. No claims. Pay premiums. Renew, Rinse, Repeat.

Then the rates go up.

Slowly at first, year after year, then you take a look at your renewal bill.

Your trucks are all older and you’re paying more than ever.

That’s where MassAutoQuote can help.

Since 1999 – way before Geico was quoting in Massachusetts – MassAutoQuote has been providing consumers free, no obligation, Massachusetts auto insurance quotes.

We have so many markets it would make your head spin.

With markets comes options and programs.

Let us shop your Commercial Auto Insurance and let us help you trust your instincts.

Stop paying too much for your Business Auto Insurance.

The Dreaded: SR-22

SR-22

The dreaded SR-22 is a Certificate of Financial Responsibility. The SR-22 is sometimes required for a driver to reinstate their driver’s license.

The SR-22 is a document from your insurance company that verifies that you have an active auto insurance policy.

The SR-22 can be required for a variety of bad reasons, such as:

  • A DUI or DWI or any serious moving violation
  • An instance of being caught driving without insurance and/or without a license
  • An at-fault accident while driving without insurance
  • Repeat traffic offenses or too many tickets in a short time period
  • A revoked or suspended license

Companies don’t like to issue SR-22’s, however it’s not a question of whether they like to.

If you’re having a problem getting an SR-22 issued contact the MA Division of Insurance.

1000 Washington Street
Suite 810
Boston, MA 02118

Open Monday to Friday 8:45 am-5:00 pm.

Open Monday to Friday 8:45 am-5:00 pm.

How to get Massachusetts Handicap Plates

How to get Massachusetts Handicap Plates

Sometimes, it seems, things can be more difficult than imagined. This is, and isn’t, true when it comes to “How to get Massachusetts Handicap Plates.” I guess it depends on your imagination.

First of all, Handicap Plates, in  MA are Disability Plates and Placards. According to Mass. gov:

Through Medical Affairs, the RMV issues special license plates and placards to people with disabilities who meet certain medical qualifications.

Disability plates and placards allow people with disabilities to park vehicles in designated handicap parking spaces. They also allow people with disabilities to park at meters without paying fees or penalties.
Disability license plates are issued for cars or motorcycles.
Placards are displayed on the rear-view mirror, and are issued to qualified residents on a temporary or permanent basis.
Learn how to apply for, renew, and replace your disability plate or placard.

Apply for a disability placard or license plate
Disability plates and placards are issued to qualified Massachusetts residents who meet the eligibility requirements.
Please allow at least 30 business days for processing. Processing time varies based upon application volume.

To apply for a disability plate or placard, you must:

  • Complete an Application for Disabled Parking
    • Your healthcare provider will have to fill out a section to verify your disability status
    • Retain a copy of your 2-sided placard application
  • If applying for a Disabled Veteran (DV) plate, you will also need a DV plate letter (RMV35A) from the veteran’s administration. You can contact the veteran’s affairs at (800) 827-1000 to request the letter.
Fees for Apply for a disability placard or license plate

A disability placard has no fee.

Name Fee Unit
Disability Passenger Plate Fee (2-year) $60 each
Disability Motorcycle Plate Fee (annual) $20 each
Disability Placards

If your temporary disability placard is nearing expiration or requires re-certification, you will need to submit a new application for your placard for to stay valid.

If you have a permanent disability placard, a new placard will automatically be mailed to you when it expires.

Disability Plates

The RMV will mail you a registration renewal reminder approximately 6 –  8 weeks before expiration.

Disability plates

Disability plates are issued to qualified Massachusetts residents who are primary owners of a registered passenger vehicle or a motorcycle. A holder of a passenger vehicle disability plate is entitled to a temporary disabled placard. A person must demonstrate “good cause” or need for the placard in writing to the medical affairs. “Good cause” means a valid reason why the plate cannot be used and duration of the need. Placards may be issued for up to 24 months.

Disability placards

Disability placards are issued to qualified applicants on a temporary or permanent basis. A person may be issued only one valid placard at a time.

Disability Veteran plates

Disability Veteran plates are issued only to qualified Massachusetts resident veterans who meet the same qualifications as those applying for a disability plate. The DV plate letter (RMV35A) details your service connected disabilities. You must have a combined rating of at least 60% service connected disabilities for qualifying conditions.  These are the same disabilities that would qualify you for disabled parking. These plates are issued only to qualifying persons who are the primary owner of a registered passenger vehicle.

In summation, How to get Massachusetts Handicap plates, if you have all your materials BEFORE you go to the RMV, it will be easier than imagined. No matter how imaginative you are!

Downloads for Apply for a disability placard or license plate

Commercial Plates vs Private Passenger

Commercial Plates vs Private Passenger

MassAutoQuote writes a lot more than Massachusetts Private Passenger Auto, we also write commercial auto insurance. As such, when helping clients register their vehicles, we’re constantly defining the difference between Commercial Plates vs Private Passenger plates.

Here’s, always, the answer:

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation defines commercial vehicles (requiring commercial plates) as:

“ANY MOTOR VEHICLE WHICH IS NOT A PRIVATE PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLE, ANTIQUE MOTOR CAR, MOTORCYCLE, TRAILER, SEMI-TRAILER, AUTO HOME, HOUSE TRAILER, TAXICAB, AMBULANCE, HEARSE, LIVERY VEHICLE. BUS, SCHOOL BUS OR PUPIL TRANSPORT VEHICLE.”

This includes:  Any vehicle which has a vehicle weight of more than 6,000 pounds unless it is a sport utility vehicle, passenger van, pickup truck or cargo van meeting the definition of a private passenger vehicle.

  • Any vehicle which as five or more wheels.
  • Any pickup truck or cargo van, owned by a partnership, trust or corporation unless the vehicle meets the definition of a private passenger vehicle.
  • Any pickup truck or cargo van if on the bed , roof or sides of the vehicle tools, equipment, supplies and materials are transported to or from a job site (personal projects without compensation are not considered a job site).
  • A vehicle which has business lettering, markings and/or advertisements on it.
  • A vehicle used for hire to plow.
  • A vehicle used for hire to transport or store goods or merchandise (unless the vehicle is owned by an individual, the maximum carrying capacity is 1,000 pounds or less and is only used on a part-time basis).
  • A vehicle used to transport or store goods or merchandise intended for sale in the operator’s business (unless the vehicle is owned by an individual, the maximum carrying capacity is 1,000 pounds or less and is only used on a part-time basis).

So,  Commercial Plates vs Private Passenger, according to the MA Department of Transportation, review the above and see where your vehicles fit.

Then give us a call.

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