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Massachusetts Auto Insurance [Rates + Cheap Coverage Guide]

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Massachusetts Statistics  
Road Miles 31,984
Vehicles Registered 4,869,170
Population 6,902,149
Most Popular Vehicle RAV4
Uninsured % / Underinsured % 6.20%
Total Driving Related Deaths Speeding: 98
DUI: 119
Average Premiums Liability: $606.04
Collision: $388.28
Comprehensive: $134.96
Combined: $1,129.29
Cheapest Provider State Farm Mutual Auto

Massachusetts, or as it’s known officially, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, boasts several state nicknames:  The Bay State, The Pilgrim State, The Puritan State, The Old Colony State, and the Baked Bean State. It’s also a state that is home to many aspects of colonial history, one of them being the infamous Salem Witch Trials.

Massachusetts boasts a population of 6,902,149, and has 4,869,170 registered drivers, which accounts for almost 75 percent of the state’s population!

A fact to know:  in 2014, Massachusetts drivers drove an average of 74,505 miles. This total is far beyond the national average for that year of 13,476 miles.

The average Massachusetts resident must pay about $1,100 a year for minimum coverage. 

And with almost 75 percent of the state being drivers, car insurance will most likely be a topic on your mind. You might be wondering where even to start looking.

Well, look no further! We are here to help.

We’ve made this handy-dandy guide to help you with all the ins and outs when it comes to car insurance in Massachusetts. We will look at a variety of topics for driving in the state by the bay, including insurance coverage, providers in the state, specific rules in Massachusetts, and a whole lot more!

So pull up a chair, make yourself a nice hot plate of Boston Baked Beans, and settle in to learn more about auto insurance.

Get started comparing auto insurance rates today. Enter your zip code above to get started.

Table of Contents

Massachusetts Car Insurance Coverage and Rates

Massachusetts is full of reasons why people live there. One of them is The New England Patriots.

If you’re familiar with football terminology, you’ll know a Hail Mary is when a quarterback chucks the football down the field to his receiver in a last-ditch effort to score.

But with car insurance, you do NOT have to throw any Hail Marys!

This guide will break down your seemingly endless policy options, talk about why coverage is essential, and be the thesaurus for terms insurance agents throw around.

We aren’t here to push anything on you. We’re just experts on the topic of car insurance, and we would like to help you!

We’ve gone through and explained you’re going to want to know to help you make the best decision possible.

– Minimum Car Insurance Requirements in Massachusetts

Massachusetts requires minimum liability coverage to drive legally. According to Mass DOT (Massachusetts Department of Transportation), it is illegal to drive a car in Massachusetts without at least the minimum amount of liability coverage required by law.

Liability insurance pays all individuals — drivers, passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists — who are owed compensation for property damage and/or injuries resulting from a car accident that you or anyone under your policy causes.

The minimum liability you must have to drive in Massachusetts is as follows:

  • $20,000 to pay for bodily injury per person.
  • $40,000 to pay for bodily injury per accident.
  • $5,000 to pay for property damage per accident.

This minimum liability coverage is referred to as 20/40/5.

You are also required, by law, to carry Personal Injury Protection insurance, in the amount of $8,000 per person AND per accident.

Also, according to the Massachusetts government site:

Your auto insurance policy must list all licensed drivers living in your household who are related to you by blood, marriage, or adoption, including drivers already covered by their insurance policies. It would help if you also listed any person who occasionally drives your car.

Massachusetts ranks at 49th in the United States for uninsured drivers – with about 6 percent of motorists uninsured. This number is extraordinarily low, and premiums are reasonable. This might lead to a fair amount of the state being insured. But the Insurance Center of New England (ICNE) wants you to remember:

These minimum requirements might initially sound quite broad and generous; however, it’s critical to understand that these minimums haven’t changed for over 20 years, while medical and legal costs, as well as car prices, have continued to rise exponentially. Which means that in the event you are ever involved in a car accident, just having the minimum required coverages could leave you in a big financial hole.

Keep in mind that 20/40/5 is just the MINIMUM amount you need to carry. That means that if you were to get into an accident and you only have the minimum, you may quickly run out of money. You will then have to pay for the rest out of your pocket.

So it is advisable to purchase MORE than the minimum amount!

Massachusetts is a “no-fault” accident state, and it is only one of the dozen states that have no-fault. No fault means, if you are in an accident, your Personal Injury Protection pays for medical treatment and other out-of-pocket losses incurred by anyone covered under the policy, up to coverage limits (which is a minimum of $8,000), regardless of who caused the accident.

There are additional coverage options you can add to your insurance policy (which we will talk about later).

For now, let’s dive on up to Massachusetts and find out more about what’s required when it comes to car insurance!

– Required Forms of Financial Responsibility in Massachusetts

Massachusetts law requires you to have at least the minimum auto insurance (remember, it’s 20/40/5). Also, you must list all persons who use your vehicle on your insurance policy, even if they have car insurance. Failure to do so might lead to your insurance company refusing to pay your claim.

Massachusetts law also requires that every driver has some form of proving financial responsibility (also known as proof of insurance). However, you do not need to show your insurance card as your proof of insurance. This is because your car registration doubles as your proof of insurance. Keep your car registration in your car at all times and be ready to show this when you:

  • Are asked for it by a police officer.
  • Get into a car accident.
  • Register or renew your car’s registration.
  • Apply or renew your driver’s license.
  • Have your car inspected.

If you are caught driving without insurance in Massachusetts, it can result in fines between $500 and $5,000, can land you in jail for up to a year, or both. Once convicted, your driver’s license can be suspended for 60 days, along with your registration and plate tags.

– Premiums as Percentage of Income in Massachusetts

In 2014, the annual disposable personal income in Massachusetts stood at about $50,366.

Clarification: disposable personal income (DPI) is the total amount of money available for an individual to spend (or save) after all taxes are paid. 

Annual minimum coverage car insurance in Massachusetts costs about $1,100 a year, which is 2 percent of the average DPI.

The average Massachusetts resident has about $4,200 each month to spend on the necessities. The car insurance bill alone will deduct about $100 a month out of that – and much more for anything over the minimum coverage and/or with a less-than-perfect driving record.

American Consumer Credit Counseling suggests saving 20 percent of every paycheck.  With Massachusetts’ DPI, that’s a whopping $840 each month! How much are you putting aside for savings?

– Core Car Insurance Coverage in Massachusetts

The data below comes from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, a leading source on the matter.

Coverage Type Annual Costs
Liability $606.04
Collision $388.28
Comprehensive $134.96
Combined $1,129.29

Keep in mind, these rates are likely to increase for 2019 and on.

Don’t forget: Massachusetts has minimum requirements for liability coverage, but experts suggest drivers purchase more than what state law requires, especially in the case of Massachusetts and the low minimums of 20/40/5.

Listen to the experts. You’ll thank them, and us, later for the extra coverage.

–  Additional Liability Coverage in Massachusetts

Loss Ratio 2012 2013 2014
Personal Injury Protection 62% 61% 65%

FactPersonal Injury Protection (PIP) is required in the state of Massachusetts.

In 2015, 6.2 percent of motorists in Massachusetts were uninsured. If you’re caught without insurance, remember those fines!

Massachusetts is ranked 49th in the nation, which means most of the state has insurance. The only states below Massachusetts are New York (50th) and Maine (51st). In these rankings, Washington, D.C. is included.

– Add-ons, Endorsements, and Riders in Massachusetts

We know getting the complete coverage you need for an affordable price is your goal.

Good news: there are lots of bargain extras you can add to your policy.

Just take a look at the list of the useful extras that are available to you in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts has an incentive for you to drive safe, which in turn can save you money on auto insurance! It is called the Massachusetts Safe Driver Insurance Plan.

– Massachusetts Safe Driver Insurance Plan

The Massachusetts Safe Driver Insurance Plan (SDIP) is a program that aims to decrease traffic accidents by requiring unsafe drivers to pay higher insurance premiums and offering discounts to safe drivers.

SDIP rate discounts and increases specifically affect your liability and optional collision coverages. Your driving history affects your SDIP rating, and the  MA RMV provides a chart that shows how ratings affect your premium.

Under the SDIP merit-based rating system, new drivers are automatically assessed higher premiums due to their lack of experience. Additionally, you will receive surcharge points for incidents such as car accidents or traffic violations.

– Massachusetts Automobile Insurance Plan (MAIP)

The Massachusetts Automobile Insurance Plan, or MAIP, helps provide insurance to drivers who cannot get it through the usual channels. The MAIP is not an insurance company, but it is a way that you can receive insurance if you are having trouble finding it on your own.

And while the MAIP helps you if you are having trouble finding auto insurance, what might not sound so attractive are the unfair prices in terms of car insurance.

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– Male vs Female Annual Car Insurance Rates in Massachusetts

Popular myth:  men pay more for car insurance.

Loss Ratio 2012 2013 2014
Personal Injury Protection 62% 61% 65%

Car insurance rates in Massachusetts do not differ for men and women. This is because car insurance companies are not allowed to factor gender into their calculations.

But other information, such as age and location, can affect your rate.

– Massachusetts Car Insurance Rates by Zip Code

Where you live also contributes to your car insurance rates. We’ve gone through and collected data on some of the most expensive, and least expensive, zip codes. Check below to see where your zip code falls!

Company Married 35-year old female Married 35-year old male Married 60-year old female Married 60-year old male Single 17-year old female Single 17-year old male Single 25-year old female Single 25-year old male
Allstate Insurance $2,272.30 $2,272.30 $2,272.30 $2,272.30 $7,606.60 $7,606.60 $2,546.37 $2,546.37
Geico Govt Employees $1,982.01 $1,982.01 $1,834.98 $1,834.98 $5,423.66 $5,423.66 $2,048.23 $2,048.23
Liberty Mutual $2,879.48 $2,879.48 $2,508.74 $2,508.74 $8,950.89 $8,950.89 $3,012.24 $3,012.24
Progressive Direct $2,252.65 $2,252.65 $2,160.74 $2,160.74 $8,484.75 $8,484.75 $2,436.98 $2,436.98
State Farm Mutual Auto $954.11 $954.11 $954.11 $954.11 $2,583.18 $2,583.18 $954.11 $954.11
Standard Fire Ins Co $2,813.43 $2,813.43 $2,485.69 $2,485.69 $5,731.25 $5,731.25 $3,118.46 $3,118.46
USAA CIC $1,424.10 $1,424.10 $1,402.61 $1,402.61 $3,320.22 $3,320.22 $1,573.41 $1,573.41

– Massachusetts Car Insurance Rates by City

We’ve also gone through and provided you with a list of the most expensive, and least expensive, cities for car insurance. Enter your city into the search box to see where your city is on the list.

Most Expensive Cities Annual Average Cost Least Expensive Cities Annual Average Cost
Mattapan $4,932.12 Nantucket $2,378.90
Readville $4,875.75 Siasconset $2,378.90
Brockton $4,786.09 Chatham $2,382.38
Chelsea $4,784.05 North Chatham $2,382.38
Revere $4,690.58 East Orleans $2,395.53
Hyde Park $4,593.55 Orleans $2,395.53
Everett $4,536.67 Northfield $2,398.18
Lynn $4,407.06 Gill $2,406.50
Malden $4,371.72 Erving $2,416.96
Randolph $4,356.13 Deerfield $2,419.45
Roslindale $4,353.81 South Deerfield $2,419.45
Charlestown $4,228.12 Brewster $2,426.70
Winthrop $4,155.31 Eastham $2,426.81
Milton Village $4,139.60 Ashfield $2,434.92
Springfield $4,027.19 Adams $2,440.33
Boston $4,022.15 Rowe $2,441.98
Indian Orchard $3,995.20 Petersham $2,445.46
Lawrence $3,943.76 Bernardston $2,446.65
Worcester $3,901.71 Millers Falls $2,448.40
Jamaica Plain $3,894.59 Montague $2,448.40
Saugus $3,860.14 Turners Falls $2,448.40
Fall River $3,841.69 Cheshire $2,452.70
Stoughton $3,809.42 Cummington $2,454.99
New Bedford $3,790.43 Williamstown $2,455.41
Medford $3,747.70 Buckland $2,458.33

Nantucket dwellers have the lowest annual rates, while Mattapan people have the worst luck when it comes to high annual rates.

Now that you have all that background information on car insurance requirements and rates in your state, let’s find out which insurance providers in Massachusetts have the best –and worst–ratings and reviews.

Read on to find out the true reputation of the insurance provider who would be lucky to have your business.

Massachusetts Car Insurance Companies

With the hundreds of car insurance providers out there, it’s nearly impossible to know who you can trust or when is the right time to switch (if ever!).

Let us help you figure that out!

Read on to find out who the best providers are (and why) across Massachusetts.

– How Massachusetts Car Insurance Companies Compare

Let’s dive right in and begin with the financial strength of the car companies in Massachusetts.

– The 10 Largest Massachusetts Car Insurance Companies’ Financial Ratings

Check out where the largest insurance companies in Massachusetts rank based on their AM Best Rating, which is a financial rating car companies use to measure their financial strength.

Company Rating
Mapfre Insurance Group A
Liberty Mutual Group A
Geico A++
Safety Group A+
Arbella Insurance Group A-
Plymouth Rock Insurance Group A-
Progressive Group A++
Metropolitan Group A
USAA Group A++
The Hanover Insurance Group A

What’s just as important as how financially secure they are? How they treat YOU, the customer! Let’s see what the car insurance customers in Massachusetts have to say.

– Massachusetts’ Car Insurance Companies with the Best Customer Ratings

A grand total of 879 out of 1,000 possible points puts Amica Mutual as the best auto insurance provider in Massachusetts to win J.D. Power’s 2018 Study.

2018 U.S. Auto Insurance Study

It’s good to know the positives, but it’s also good to know the negatives, and when customers are unhappy. A bad review every once in a while? You can’t please everyone.

Multiple bad reviews? You should start paying attention!

– Massachusetts’ Car Insurance Companies with the MOST Customer Complaints

Coverage Type: Average Cost, Illinois (2015) Average Cost, Nationwide (2015)
Liability $446.72 $538.73
Collision $309.71 $322.61
Comprehensive $128.13 $148.04
Combined $884.56 $1009.38

With 92 complaints in 2017 alone, Commerce Insurance Company is not thought well of by the people of Massachusetts.

– Massachusetts’ Car Insurance Rates by Company

Company Average
Allstate Insurance $3,674.39
Geico Govt Employees $2,822.22
Liberty Mutual $4,337.84
Progressive Direct $3,833.78
State Farm Mutual Auto $1,361.37
Standard Fire Ins Co $3,537.21
USAA CIC $1,930.09

Liberty Mutual has one of the most expensive annual rates. In this case, cost may be related to overall customer satisfaction.

– Coverage Rates in Massachusetts by Company

Company Coverage Type Annual Average
Liberty Mutual High $4,561.58
Liberty Mutual Medium $4,394.25
Progressive High $4,082.03
Liberty Mutual Low $4,057.68
Progressive Medium $3,905.26
Allstate High $3,892.29
Travelers High $3,808.99
Allstate Medium $3,732.43
Travelers Medium $3,608.06
Progressive Low $3,514.05
Allstate Low $3,398.46
Travelers Low $3,194.57
Geico High $2,993.07
Geico Medium $2,872.94
Geico Low $2,600.65
USAA High $2,039.69
USAA Medium $1,961.62
USAA Low $1,788.95
State Farm High $1,460.72
State Farm Medium $1,385.33
State Farm Low $1,238.07

Liberty Mutual is the company with the highest coverage rates, regardless of level of coverage. State Farm has the lowest coverage rates, regardless of the level of coverage.

You have to decide, as the consumer, if less coverage means better coverage. Lots of factors may go into deciding between low and high coverage, such as price and what is covered.

But you may be wondering:  what does full coverage (high coverage) pay on your car?

– Commute Rates in Massachusetts by Company

Depending on the company, how far you drive each day can influence your insurance rates.

Company Commute Rate and Annual Mileage Annual Average
Liberty Mutual 25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage. $4,507.13
Liberty Mutual 10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage. $4,168.55
Progressive 10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage. $3,833.78
Progressive 25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage. $3,833.78
Allstate 25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage. $3,792.54
Travelers 25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage. $3,705.29
Allstate 10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage. $3,556.25
Travelers 10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage. $3,369.13
Geico 25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage. $2,875.42
Geico 10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage. $2,769.02
USAA 25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage. $1,983.40
USAA 10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage. $1,876.77
State Farm 25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage. $1,393.36
State Farm 10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage. $1,329.38

Liberty Mutual tops a lot of the lists as being the most expensive, and this list is no exception. It is up to you, as the consumer, to decide if expensive means the same thing to you as quality. 

– Credit History Rates in Massachusetts by Company

In the state of Massachusetts, providers cannot factor your credit history into determining your annual rates.

– Driving Record Rates in Massachusetts by Company

Your driving record can work for you, or against you when it comes to the cost of your car insurance in Massachusetts.

Company Driving Record Annual Premiums
Allstate With 1 DUI 4770.08
Allstate With 1 accident 4239.63
Allstate Clean record 2843.93
Allstate With 1 speeding violation 2843.93
Geico With 1 DUI 3545.26
Geico With 1 accident 3104.81
Geico With 1 speeding violation 2382.22
Geico Clean record 2256.59
Liberty Mutual With 1 DUI 5614.34
Liberty Mutual With 1 accident 4668.12
Liberty Mutual With 1 speeding violation 3651.9
Liberty Mutual Clean record 3417
Progressive With 1 accident 4538.99
Progressive With 1 speeding violation 3974.6
Progressive With 1 DUI 3601.17
Progressive Clean record 3220.36
State Farm With 1 DUI 1745.31
State Farm With 1 accident 1467.8
State Farm With 1 speeding violation 1154.69
State Farm Clean record 1077.7
Travelers With 1 DUI 4078.44
Travelers With 1 accident 3812.67
Travelers With 1 speeding violation 3500.48
Travelers Clean record 2757.25
USAA With 1 DUI 3026.22
USAA With 1 accident 1783.42
USAA With 1 speeding violation 1536.81
USAA Clean record 1373.89

– The 10 Largest Car Insurance Companies in Massachusetts

In the state of Massachusetts, Mapfre Insurance Group has a big hold on the state in terms of market share. The Hanover Insurance Group holds the lowest.

Company Premiums Written Loss Ratio Market Share
Mapfre Insurance Group $1,239,686 66.64% 23.89%
Liberty Mutual Group $603,974 54.01% 11.64%
Geico $578,476 69.56% 11.15%
Safety Group $454,424 61.11% 8.76%
Arbella Insurance Group $408,350 57.89% 7.87%
Plymouth Rock Insurance Group $350,475 62.97% 6.75%
Progressive Group $218,901 61.95% 4.22%
Metropolitan Group $214,443 56.44% 4.13%
USAA Group $157,593 68.42% 3.04%
The Hanover Insurance Group $154,607 59.73% 2.98%

– Number of Insurers in Massachusetts

When it comes to insurers, there are domestic insurers and foreign insurers.

What is the difference?

Say you live in Massachusetts and you get your insurance policy from a provider in Massachusetts. You purchased from a domestic insurer, as your policy is tailored to Massachusetts’ laws.

Now let’s say you moved from New York to Massachusetts. Your insurance policy was purchased in New York. Your policy is considered foreign insurance as it was formed under New York laws and not Massachusetts’.

Massachusetts has 48 domestic insurers and 697 foreign insurers.

Geico, for instance, is a major insurance provider that provides coverage all across the United States. They would be considered a foreign insurer because they are a chain located in multiple states.

Meanwhile, there might be a small-town provider located only in Massachusetts. They would be considered domestic because they don’t have any other locations in any other states.

Now that you’re an expert on car insurance in Massachusetts, let’s get you up to speed on the laws!

Laws in Massachusetts

In order to keep your car insurance rates low, you need to know the laws in your state so you don’t get a fine. Don’t worry! We’re here to help.

Keep reading to learn about the laws specific to the state of Massachusetts.

– Massachusetts’ Car Insurance Laws

Massachusetts has specific laws unique to their state, so be aware (especially if you’re a new resident or just passing through!).

You can read up on the specifics of some of their laws and fining procedures here to avoid incurring fees and possible insurance rate increases.

– High-Risk Insurance in Massachusetts

Massachusetts does not have a high-risk program.

However, the state of Massachusetts does have procedures for reinstating your license for in-state and out-of-state suspensions.

To reinstate your license in Massachusetts, you must do/have the following:

  • Check your license status.
  • See if you have any specific requirements for your case.
  • Pay the reinstatement fee, which can range from $100 to $1,200.
  • Pass a road test/exam if required.

If you live in Massachusetts and had a license suspension after a violation or legal judgment in another state, you’ll have to file an SR-22 certificate in that state to obtain license reinstatement.

– Low-Cost or Low-Income Insurance in Massachusetts

There are no programs in Massachusetts for low-cost or low-income car insurance, so it is up to you to make sure you are getting the best rates!

You can ask your provider if they offer discounts for various services, such as a “good driver” discount.

– Massachusetts’ Windshield and Glass Repair Laws

According to Windshields Info:

If you have comprehensive insurance, the repair/replace is either at no cost to you or there is a $100 deductible (only if you opted in to it), regardless of your normal comprehensive deductible. If your car has less than 20,000 miles (15,000 for policies from 2003 or earlier) you can have OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts.

– The Statute of Limitations in Massachusetts

If you are in an accident, you only have a certain amount of time to file a claim. If you don’t file a claim in time, you won’t receive the money you are owed. This time begins running out the day of your accident. This amount of time is known as the statute of limitations. Here’s the amount of time you have to file claims:

  • Personal Injury: Three years.
  • Property Damage: Three years.

– Automobile Insurance Fraud in Massachusetts

In the state of Massachusetts, auto insurance fraud is considered a crime.

The Massachusetts government lists four types of insurance fraud:

  • Fake insurance companies.
  • Unlicensed insurance companies.
  • Fraud by individuals.
  • Fraud by consumers.

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– Massachusetts’ Laws Against Insurance Fraud

The government in Massachusetts WILL help if you find yourself to be the victim of insurance fraud, but they also want you to be proactive and do three things:  STOP, CALL, and CONFIRM. 

  • STOP before signing any paperwork or writing a check,
  • CALL the Massachusetts Division of Insurance,
  • CONFIRM that the company or agent is legitimate.

You can file a complaint online if you believe you’ve been the victim of insurance fraud.

– Massachusetts’ Vehicle Licensing Laws

Are you frustrated with expensive car insurance in Massachusetts? You aren’t alone!

But better to pay for the coverage than break the law and drive without car insurance, because the fines are seriously steep!

The fines amount to:

  • 60-day license suspension and fines of up to $500.
  • $5,000 for subsequent offenses and license suspension up to one year.
  • Six-month suspension of driving privileges.

You decide if driving without insurance is worth the fines.

– Massachusetts Real ID

All Massachusetts residents must have a REAL ID.

Now, I know it’s annoying to go to the RMV to renew your license, but a Real ID allows you to use your ID to enter federal buildings, military buildings, and fly without additional documentation domestically.

Wait a minute…one ID does all this? That seems worth the wait in line at the RMV!

Note:  if you are going to travel internationally, you will still need a passport.

You need the following to apply for your ID:

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

Your current license is valid if it has not expired, but once it expires, you must apply for a Real ID.

– Teen Driver Laws in Massachusetts

Massachusetts is a state that strives to keep its teen drivers safe, and its licensing process, with multiple stages, “allows teens to gradually gain exposure to complex driving situations, easing them into driving over an extended period of time.”

According to the Massachusetts government site, “In 2016, teenage drivers in Massachusetts accounted for 7 percent of all drivers involved in fatal crashes and 5 percent of all driver fatalities reported.”

Here are the license processes for teens in Massachusetts:

  • Learner’s permit at the age of 16.
  • Junior Operator’s License at the age of 16 1/2.
  • Full license at the age of 18.

There are certain restrictions at each stage:

  • Have to have 40 hours of supervised driving time.
  • 16 1/2 years old before you can get a Junior Operator’s License.
  • Cannot drive from 12:30 a.m.-5 a.m.
  • Cannot have passengers younger than 18.
  • Cannot use a cell phone or text while driving.

Note:  between the hours of 12:30 a.m.-1:00 a.m. and 4 a.m.-5:00 a.m. nighttime and passenger restrictions are secondarily enforced. The rest of the time, they are primarily enforced.

The leash will be loosened eventually: any restrictions listed above (with the exception of the texting ban) expire at the age of 18.

– License Renewal Procedures and Older Drivers in Massachusetts

No matter how old you are, every driver in Massachusetts must get their license renewed every five years.

In addition:

  1. You can renew through online with every other renewal (not permitted for 75 and older).
  2. You must provide proof of adequate vision with every renewal if you are renewing in person or if you’re 75 and older.

These procedures are a small price to pay for the freedom and mobility of driving a vehicle!

– New Residents of Massachusetts

If you have just moved to Massachusetts, you must apply for registration within 30 days of moving to the state.

You have to title your vehicle as well, which you can do at the same time you register. Here is what’s required:

  • Proof of Massachusetts insurance through the RMV-1 application.
  • Title (if a lien exists, your registration from your previous state).
  • Fees and correct payment (depending on plate type).

Something to know:  You must obtain a vehicle inspection sticker within 7 days of registering your vehicle.

Also, remember you’ll need car insurance.

Massachusetts requires you to have the following minimum liability insurance:

  • $20,000 to pay for bodily injury per person.
  • $40,000 to pay for bodily injury per accident.
  • $5,000 to pay for property damage per accident.

If you move to Massachusetts from another state, here are the steps for what you must do to register your vehicle and update your license.

– Lemon Laws

The Lemon Laws “protect you if you buy a vehicle in Massachusetts that have serious defects”.

If your car is new, you have to try to have the repairs at least three times before it is declared a “lemon”.

– Massachusetts’ Rules of the Road

After reading through all of the violations, penalties, and ways you can pack on the points, don’t you want to follow the laws?

We’re here to help! Scroll down to quickly learn the must-know laws in Massachusetts that every driver needs to follow or else they’ll pay – in more ways than one.

– Fault versus No-Fault

Massachusetts is a “no-fault” state.

This means, if you are in an accident, your Personal Injury Protection pays for medical treatment and other out-of-pocket losses incurred by anyone covered under the policy, up to coverage limits (which is a minimum of $8,000), regardless of who caused the accident.

The liability limits are as follows:

  • $20,000 to pay for bodily injury per person.
  • $40,000 to pay for bodily injury per accident.
  • $5,000 to pay for property damage per accident.

Keep in mind:  Experts recommend that you purchase more than the minimum requirements.

– Keep Right and Move Over Laws in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, you are required to move over for stopped vehicles, such as:

  • Emergency vehicles.
  • Highway maintenance vehicles.
  • Tow trucks or recovery vehicles.

The best rule of thumb is that whenever you see a stopped vehicle, slow down to a safe speed and move over.

– Speed Limits in Massachusetts

Massachusetts has the following speeds you must keep in mind:

  • 65 mph on rural interstates.
  • 65 mph on urban interstates.
  • 65 mph on limited access roads.
  • 55 mph on all other roads.

Be careful when it comes to speeding violations or any traffic violations in Massachusetts! You will rack up the points, which are DIRECTLY connected to your insurance premium.

– Seat Belt and Car Seat Laws in Massachusetts

Since February 1, 1994, seat belt rules in Massachusetts have been secondary laws, meaning that officers need another, bigger reason to pull you over.

When it comes to children, Massachusetts residents MUST put their child in a car seat if they are 7 years and younger. There is no preference for the rear seat.

– EZDriveMA

Massachusetts makes it easy for people to drive through tolls, with the use of EZDriveMA.

– Automation on the Roads in Massachusetts

Massachusetts is testing the use of automated vehicles on the roads, and right now, autonomous vehicles require an operator to be in the vehicle.

The World Economic Forum, in collaboration with The Boston Consulting Group, is exploring a shared vision for Boston as the City of the Future, which includes automated vehicles.


– Massachusetts, Operating Under the Influence, and Marijuana-Impaired Driving Laws

Massachusetts comes in at number 29 for states with the most drunk driving incidents. And in 2017, Massachusetts had 120 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities.

Something else you need to know:  the look-back or washout period is the amount of time an offense remains on your record.

Massachusetts is one of about a dozen states where if you are caught Operating Under the Influence, it is on your record for the rest of your life.

A blood alcohol content of .02 is enough to impair your ability to drive, so think about whether it’s worth it to get in a car if you are intoxicated.

The penalties for operating under the influence? Hefty.

Penalty First Offense Second Offense Third Offense Fourth Offense Fifth Offense
License Revocation One year after date of conviction; may apply for work/education provisional license after three months Two years after date of conviction; may apply for work/education provisional license after one year; may apply for hardship license after 18 months Eight years after date of conviction; may apply for work/education provisional license after two years; may apply for hardship license after four years 10 years after date of conviction; may apply for work/education provisional license after five years; may apply for hardship license after eight years For life
Imprisonment No minimum up to two and a half years 30 days to two and a half years 180 days to five years Two to five years two and a half to five years
Fine $500-$5000 $600-$10,000 $1000-$15,000 $1500-$25,000 $2000-$50,000
Other May be granted two year parole with two week treatment program Must have IID for duration of hardship license Must have IID for duration of hardship license N/A N/A

How about marijuana? Surely that’s safer than alcohol, right? Don’t even think about it. Possession of marijuana and its use is illegal in the state of Massachusetts.

Important to know:  Massachusetts has a law of implied consent. This means if you are stopped for OUI or suspicion of OUI, you give the officer permission to test your breath/blood for the presence of alcohol.

– Just Drive New England

Crash data proves that driving distracted can be just as deadly as driving impaired.

And unfortunately, crash rates in Massachusetts have been increasing. According to the Office of Grants and Research,

In Massachusetts, traffic deaths jumped 12.8 percent (from 345-389), more than double the national rate (5.6 percent).

Massachusetts has a state-wide texting ban, but no handheld ban. Governor Charlie Baker introduced a bill earlier in 2019 to ban the use of handheld phones while driving.

Massachusetts Can’t-Miss Facts

You now have a good understanding of the laws in Massachusetts, and you know how car insurance works and the laws governing drivers, but do you know the risks involved with driving and owning a car in Massachusetts?

As much as we want you to have insurance for when things go wrong, it’s more important to us that you know how to avoid having things go wrong in the first place.

The section below will give you quick, clear facts to help you know what dangers to look out for as a responsible car owner and operator.

– Vehicle Theft in Massachusetts

Penalty First Offense Second Offense Third Offense Fourth Offense Fifth Offense
License Revocation One year after date of conviction; may apply for work/education provisional license after three months Two years after date of conviction; may apply for work/education provisional license after one year; may apply for hardship license after 18 months Eight years after date of conviction; may apply for work/education provisional license after two years; may apply for hardship license after four years 10 years after date of conviction; may apply for work/education provisional license after five years; may apply for hardship license after eight years For life
Imprisonment No minimum up to two and a half years 30 days to two and a half years 180 days to five years Two to five years two and a half to five years
Fine $500-$5000 $600-$10,000 $1000-$15,000 $1500-$25,000 $2000-$50,000
Other May be granted two year parole with two week treatment program Must have IID for duration of hardship license Must have IID for duration of hardship license N/A N/A

Hondas seem to be the car of choice, as it takes up three spots on the list.

What cities are the hot spots for vehicle theft in Massachusetts? Here are the totals provided by the FBI for 2013:

City Number of Thefts
Boston 1,610
Lawrence 828
Springfield 735
Worcester 399
New Bedford 335
Lowell 320
Lynn 253
Brockton 224
Fall River 223

It is no surprise that Boston takes the top spot, as it is the most populated city in Massachusetts (685,094) and the most populated city in New England.

– Traffic Fatalities in Massachusetts

Let’s take a look at traffic fatalities in Massachusetts when it comes to rural areas and urban areas:

  2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Rural 36 35 30 44 50 50 37 22 17 22
Urban 328 305 317 330 333 300 317 321 370 328

Okay, we have covered the WHERE, now let’s move on to WHO.

What were these people doing when they were killed?

Here’s a five-year trend for Massachusetts traffic deaths by who exactly was killed:

Vehicle 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Passenger Car 152 161 131 166 121
Light Truck - Pickup 15 15 14 22 27
Light Truck - Utility 37 27 28 41 50
Light Truck - Van 13 13 12 12 7
Light Truck - Other 1 2 2 4 2
Large Truck 4 3 3 2 5
Bus 0 0 0 1 0
Motorcycles 42 47 56 44 51
Pedestrians 79 74 79 78 74
Bicycle and other Cyclists 6 8 12 10 11

Now let’s answer another big question: “What types of crashes are killing all these people in Massachusetts?”

Check out this very telling five-year trend for Massachusett’s traffic fatalities:

Crash Type 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Single Vehicle 235 250 222 250 237
Involving a Large Truck 31 27 28 27 28
Involving Speeding 89 85 92 126 98
Involving a Rollover 53 55 51 62 65
Involving a Roadway Departure 208 208 180 197 186
Involving an Intersection (or Intersection Related) 104 76 74 94 93

Look below to see where specifically in Massachusetts speeding is the biggest problem.

County 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Barnstable 4 5 3 3 5
Berkshire 2 5 2 4 2
Bristol 8 11 11 13 11
Dukes 1 0 0 0 0
Essex 6 8 8 11 13
Franklin 3 0 6 3 2
Hampden 12 14 5 21 12
Hampshire 2 4 2 2 0
Middlesex 12 9 10 12 7
Nantucket 0 0 0 0 0
Norfolk 10 7 12 8 13
Plymouth 8 9 8 15 15
Suffolk 5 2 11 11 2
Worcester 16 11 14 23 16

Shaving a few minutes off of your commute isn’t worth killing someone! 

– Drunk Driving Deaths in Massachusetts

Michael Delsignore, a Massachusetts lawyer, makes clear that under the Massachusetts OUI law,

“a drunk driving charge can be brought against you even if your breathalyzer test results are below .08. The District Attorney’s office in Massachusetts will still prosecute a case even if your test results are .06 or .07.”

Drunk driving is not worth the injury and/or death of yourself and others.

Another major contributor to crash fatalities is drunk driving. Below, we’ve taken a look at the fatalities involving an alcohol-impaired driver:

County 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Barnstable 6 6 4 8 5
Berkshire 3 2 5 2 3
Bristol 16 15 15 23 17
Dukes 1 0 0 0 0
Essex 11 10 6 11 8
Franklin 3 1 2 3 3
Hampden 12 20 7 19 14
Hampshire 2 5 3 0 0
Middlesex 12 14 15 17 12
Nantucket 0 0 0 0 0
Norfolk 12 20 12 12 9
Plymouth 17 22 11 16 20
Suffolk 11 12 8 12 9
Worcester 18 18 17 25 20

A sobering fact of drunk driving is that a percentage of these drivers are teens. In 2016, law enforcement arrested 46 underage drivers for drunk driving.

Massachusetts’ fatality rate for underage drunk driving is 1.0 fatalities per 100,000 people, which is below the national average of 1.2 fatalities, but not by much.

– EMS Response Time in Massachusetts

Let’s see how fast The Office of Emergency Medical Services in Massachusetts are to arrive on the scene of an accident, or how fast they’d get to your home.

Location of Incident Time of Crash to EMS Notification EMS Notification to EMS Arrival EMS Arrival at Scene to Hospital Arrival Time of Crash to Hospital Arrival
Rural 4 min 7 min 30 min 36 min
Urban 5 min 6 min 29 min 37 min

When you are injured in an accident, you need help to arrive quickly. Massachusetts’ EMS response times are listed below, and the numbers look good, no matter where you live!

The average EMS response times in Massachusetts listed above were provided by the NHTSA for fatal car crashes in 2016.

– Massachusetts Transportation

When it comes to how many cars you own, over 40 percent of residents in Massachusetts own two cars or more:

People in Massachusetts have a longer commute time than the national average of 25.3 minutes:

Commute time Massachusetts

The average commute time for Massachusetts is 28.1 minutes, and 3.4 percent of the Massachusetts workforce have “super-commutes” of 90 minutes or more.

Massachusetts is committing to go green, so carpool or use public transport when you can.

On the topic of commutes, Massachusetts residents seem to like to go at it alone:

Commuter Transportation in MA

Seventy percent of Massachusetts residents put themselves first and drive to work alone, but 10 percent take public transport and about 8 percent carpool.

– Massachusetts Cities with the Most Traffic Congestion

Only one city in Massachusetts made it onto INRIX’s scorecard for global traffic, and that is Boston.

It holds honors no city wants to hold:  traffic congestion expecting to increase by 2040, and the city with the WORST traffic congestion in the United States, beating Los Angeles for the most traffic congestion.

Want to get a taste of what it’s like to drive in Boston? Take a gander at these videos and see for yourself:


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