The holidays! What’s not to love? There’s great music, pretty lights, parties aplenty and, if you’re lucky, a great gift waiting for you under some adorable holiday-themed paper. The holiday season does come its share of challenges amongst the joy, and one of my least favorites is holiday travel in Massachusetts and its surroundings, and all the traffic that goes along with it.
Like any good journey, the holiday travel season requires some thinking ahead and preparation. Make sure you’re prepared to hit the road with these Massachusetts holiday travel and safety tips.
Be Mindful of Massachusetts Law
In the state of Massachusetts, all occupants of your vehicle are required to wear seat belts. Make sure you have a seat and working belt for every passenger and yourself when traveling this holiday.
The speed limit on most Massachusetts highways is 65mph, however, some can be as low as 55mph. Leave with plenty of time to get where you’re going this holiday season and pay attention to the speed limit – nothing says “Bah Humbug!” like shelling out for a speeding ticket.
If you hit any rotaries on your journey, remember to yield to those already in the rotary when entering and always enter to the right.
Texting while driving has been banned in Massachusetts. Let it wait until you get there or you could face $100-$500 in fines, depending on whether it is your first offense. This applies to when you’re stopped at red lights. Again, nothing says “Bah Humbug!” like a hefty ticket. Or a crash, for that matter.
Be Ready for the Road
Sign up to get a free FAST LANE transponder and cruise through the tolls on the Turnpike, the Sumner and Ted Williams Tunnels, and the Tobin Memorial Bridge on the way to Grandma’s. If you’re heading out of state, your FAST LANE transponder can be used anywhere E-ZPass is accepted.
New England weather is unpredictable, so make sure you’ve winterized your car. Snow tires, an ice scraper, and perhaps a foldable shovel will keep you safe on wintery roads.
With a lot of people on the road, wintery conditions and the stress of the holidays, anything can happen. Make sure you’re covered with auto insurance.
Have Fun! But Not Too Much Fun…
Turn up the Christmas music while you travel! Most stations will play Christmas music mixed in with their standards, but there are a few stations that play strictly holiday themed music. In Massachusetts, Oldies 103.3 and 105.7 WROR play Christmas music round the clock, and WROR has an adorable segment where kids can call into Santa.
Plan ahead if you plan on drinking, and make sure have a designated driver for when you need to get home. The legal limit is a blood-alcohol content under .08. Drunk driving increases over the holidays, and Massachusetts police will be on the lookout for drunk drivers. Not only does driving under the influence put you in danger of getting arrested, it puts everyone you pass on the road in danger. Err on the side of safety and avoid a drunk driving accident by making sure you have a sober ride home.
Regardless of what you’re celebrating or where you are celebrating, we wish you safe and easy travel and a very happy holiday season!
Shopping for an auto insurance policy can be overwhelming when looking over all the possible coverages. Knowing what these coverages will repair or replace in case of an accident can help settle many of the fears auto insurance shoppers carry.
Bodily Injury Liability: This coverage will protect you from injury and death claims made against you when your auto injuries someone else.
Property Damage Liability: Covering any property you or your auto may damage when involved in an accident.
Medical Payments: This coverage will pay for medical bills should you or any passengers in your vehicle be injured.
Collision Coverage: Covers damages to your auto up to its value the day of the accident. With this coverage a deductible applies should the insured make a claim.
Comprehensive Coverage: Covers damages to your auto other than from accidents such as theft, vandalism, wind, etcetera.
What will my auto insurance When applying for auto insurance it’s important to understand just what and who your coverage will cover…
Who holds the policy?
The owner of the vehicle will generally hold the insurance policy. When applying for a policy the insurance company will look mostly into the person’s record who’s purchasing the policy and the primary drivers. An insurance company will also look into the records of secondary drivers. If these secondary drivers are teens or have many citations expect your insurance rates to be a bit steeper.
When purchasing an auto insurance policy it’s important to understand who’s covered. The policy application will ask for the names of all persons living in the house that will be operating the vehicle, how much they’re going to use it, etcetera. It’s important that you list all these drivers on the policy. If someone living in your house is involved in an accident who is not listed on the policy, your auto insurance may deny your claim.
Can another person borrow your car?
If a driver outside of your household borrows your car and is involved in an accident, your insurance should still cover the damages. Even if this person has their own car and even their own insurance. This is because insurance follows the auto and not the driver.
What’s covered and what’s not?
When purchasing an auto insurance policy, it’s important to read over the coverages you have. Getting a policy with only the state minimum coverages is risky and ill advised. Before buying it, look over the coverages and make sure they’re adequate and affordable should you be at fault in an accident.
Driving with out insurance is illegal. Should anything happen while you’re driving, not only will the violation be added to your driving record with a citation, raising your insurance rates – if you’re at fault for an accident, all damages your insurance company would have paid will come straight out of your pocket.
You don’t need to wait for renewal time to cancel a policy. Shopping around to find another policy with better rates is a great idea. No need to wait until your current policy is up to start saving.
Never ever ignore your insurance bill. Ignoring your insurance bill may be cause for cancellation due to non-payment. When this occurs not only will future insurance companies see you as a higher risk, they may ask you to pay the full insurance amount up front.
Cancellation must be done in writing. When you notify your current insurance company of your cancellation allow a reasonable amount of time for cancellation. When notifying the company, be sure and include the date you would like cancellation to take place giving yourself peace of mind for when you’re old coverage is up and your new one is to begin.
Auto insurance is anything but optional. Not only should you want to have car insurance, the sate requires drivers to purchase it. Two important coverages, among others, Massachusetts requires drivers to have are Property Damage and Liability Coverage.
Property damage covers damages the insured has caused to someone else property. Massachusetts state minimum for property damage is $5,000. This covers everything from street lamps and stop signs to other vehicles. Maybe you didn’t realize you were speeding when an oil spot sent you spinning into that Bentley… you’re still responsible for the damages and that $5,000 of coverage isn’t gong to do much. To be safe you should consider at least $100,000 of property coverage.
A second minimum coverage set by the state is Liability coverage. This includes bodily injury and property damage to others. Maybe the state minimum will cover one person in a minor accident. But what if it was more than a fender bender? Or maybe there were passangers in the car you collide with? When multiple people are involved, or even just one in a decent accident – the $40,000 minimum state coverage isn’t likely going to cover all of the hospital bills, operations, medications, and therapy your accident incurred.
If you choose to only insure yourself to the state minmums, remember you are responsible for all expenses past what your insurance covers. Find out more about Massachusetts state minimum insurance requirements on the Massachusetts Division of Insurance Webpage.