Saving Money On Auto Insurance


How To Care For Your Car After Winter

With temperatures heating up into the 70s this week, we’re getting closer and closer to Spring! While Winter might not be over just yet, it’s time to start de-winterizing your car. From the snow, salt and freezing temperatures, your car has had a rough winter. Here are 6 ways you can care for your car after the winter season.

1. Wash your car! Many times people get lazy in the winter washing their car because they know it’s going to get dirty from the snow and salt the next day. Buy washing regularly, about every 7 to 10 days, you’ll prevent the corrosive salts used to de-ice roadways that can cause rust and damage to your paint. Pay extra attention to the undercarriage, where salt likes to hide and corrode the body of your vehicle.

2. Check your tire pressure. This is especially important to those of you who saw the tire pressure light pop on during the winter. Because air is a gas, it contracts when cold, and expands when heated. If you inflated your tires during the colder months, they could become over inflated during the warmers months.

3. Check ALL fluids levels. Your car engine works on overdrive during bad winter conditions. The can cause fluid levels to drop faster than usual. Be sure to check antifreeze/coolant levels, engine oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and power-steering fluid.

4. Vacuum your car mats. From snow, slush, rain, mud, and more dragged in your car, your interior mats could use a shampoo, or at least a vacuum, to keep your car in prime condition. Bonus** This will help with any allergies you may have.

5. Listen to your brakes. This may sound like an obvious one- if your brakes sound like they’re grinding or squeaking, get them checked. But this is double important after winter. Snowy driving conditions can result in salt and debris building up on your brakes, causing them to bind, and ultimately lead to premature wear. In very severe cases, rust from road salt can cause brake failure. If something sounds or feels off, consult a mechanic ASAP.

6. Rotate your tires. To extend the life of your tires, rotate them as the beginning of each season. Wheels tend to wear quicker in winter driving conditions. If you invested in snow tires, think about putting them away in the next few weeks until next winter. The special tread and rubbery consistency that make them perform great in snow, also make them wear much more quickly that all-season tires.

*Bonus tip: Don’t put off minor repairs! Many people wait with minor repairs if their car still gets them from A to B. But the longer you put off minor repairs, the more likely they will turn into most costly maintenance problems in the long run.

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Discounts & Saving Money on Auto Insurance

When shopping for auto insurance the ultimate goal is to find a reputable company and the lowest premium. While searching for insurance on the web or over the phone it is important to remember carriers will offer different discounts for various reasons. Saving money on your auto insurance is easy, when requesting a quote ask if the following discounts apply to you:

  • Low Mileage Discount: Those who drive less than the average driver are more often than not eligible for a low mileage discount. The magic number is commonly 7,500 miles or less per year however some carriers offer discounts for those who drive less than 10,000 even 12,500 per year. This key discount can make a significant difference and is important to ask about.
  • Auto Club Member: Drivers who belong to an auto club, such as AAA, are usually eligible for additional discounts and in some cases may increase your current auto policy limits with NO extra charge!
  • Good Students: Not only will good grades get a student into the college, graduate program, or aspired career – they can also give young drivers a discounted rate on their auto insurance.
  • Continuous Insurance: Drivers with a continuous record of auto insurance policies are often eligible for discounts.
  • Completed Defensive Driving: Once successfully completing a defensive driving course, motorists should be eligible for an additional premium discount.
  • Companion Policy: Drivers who purchase a companion policy, meaning those who bundle their auto and home, condo, or rental insurance together, are eligible for discounts on both policies. Drivers who sign companion policies through MassDrive may save up to 5% on their auto insurance and up to 20% on a home owners policy.

Make note of the above discounts. If your agent or the online quote generator does not ask about them, you may not be receiving the best quote. When receiving a quote it’s also important to realize your date first licensed and driving record have a great impact on your premium. If you have not been asked about your first licensed date or verified your driving record, you may not be receiving a final quote. Ask your agent if you are eligible for additional discounts and if they have verified your record to ensure you are receiving an accurate quote.

For a free quote comparison, give your friendly MassDrive agent a call today!

Massachusetts Makes Top 10 for Least Expesive Auto Insurance

A recent survey published by Insure.com has revealed the United States most and least expensive states for auto insurance. The study was based on the average auto insurance premium for more than 2,400 vehicles in 10 zip codes per state with six of the United State’s largest auto insurance providers.

With an average auto insurance premium of $2,510.87, Lousiana takes the lead for the most expensive state to insure a vehicle. Insure.com reasons Louisiana holds this title as a result of the state’s court system and the rough condition its roads are in. Not far behind is Michigan as the second most expensive state to insure an auto at an average premium of $2,098.29. Michigan’s high insurance rates can be attributed to a state medical law and a terribly high unemployment rate. With unemployment at a whopping 15% many are driving uninsured, which increases the burden on insurance companies and in turn a driver’s premium.

Maine however has nothing to complain about as it comes in as the least expensive state to insure a vehicle with an average premium of $902.85. Maine’s low rates can be attributed to a couple factors including less people on the road and less traffic congestion as well as a low number of accident claims. Additionally at least 30 insurance providers offer coverage in Maine, increasing competition and pushing premiums down.

When the Massachusetts auto insurance market was deregulated additional insurance providers entered the scene encouraging greater competition and gradually lower auto insurance premiums. Massachusetts holds out as at the 7th least expensive state to insure an automobile. The best way to find the lowest insurance premium is through comparing quotes through different carriers. MassDrive compares auto insurance premiums and coverages for you, saving you time and money. Give a friendly MassDrive agent a call for a free quote comparison today!

TOP TEN MOST & LEAST EXPENSIVE STATES FOR AUTO INSURANCE & AVERAGE PREMIUM

Top Ten Most Expensive:

1. Louisiana $2,510.87
2. Michigan $2,098.29
3. Oklahoma $1,869.39
4. Montana $1,857.96
5. California $1,774.41
6. South Dakota $1,772.83
7. Washington, D.C. $1,753.19
8. Georgia $1,751.42
9. Illinois $1,679.15
10. Connecticut $1,678.90

Top Ten Least Expensive:

1. Maine $902.85
2. Vermont $968.58
3. Ohio $999.86
4. Wisconsin $1,010.93
5. New Hampshire $1,011.23
6. Iowa $1,039.04
7. Massachusetts $1,043.80
8. North Carolina $1,130.45
9. Arizona $1,152.50
10. Tennessee $1,170.12

Recourse for Toyota Drivers & At Fault Accidents

Toyota drivers involved in recent recalls have worried about how this will affect their auto insurance coverage and premiums. Although a standard auto insurance policy does not exclude vehicles damaged while under recall, drivers may face additional surcharges and/ or costs if they were involved in an at fault accident. Thankfully Massachusetts residents have the option to appeal a court decision over an at fault accident, a privilege that was almost taken away by the former Massachusetts Commissioner of Insurance Nonnie Burnes.

Burnes felt, according to an article by William Lapointe, that with the newly deregulated market drivers would be able to shop around and find lower rates thus making no need for an appeals board as the driver may simply switch carriers. Massachusetts residents were weary of this measure to eliminate the Board of Appeals, however the final push to keep the Board came when the spot light focused on the fact that if a driver was assessed fault of an accident, although they have the ability to chose a different carrier their SDIP, or license point assessment, would remain the same. Pressure from the public, legislators and lobbyists was enough to force the government to maintain the Board of Appeals.

The Massachusetts Board of Appeals hears approximately 50,000 cases in a year from drivers who believe they were wrongly assessed the blame for an at fault accident. On average about half of the appeals are overturned and the at-fault-accident is removed from the driver’s record as well as surcharges by a driver’s insurance company.

The Massachusetts Division of Insurance issued a Consumer Alert announcing hearings for drivers who appealed a decision prior to the recall would be reopened. The Massachusetts Board of Appeals was not previously aware of the manufacturer’s defect and is looking to overturn any court decisions a Toyota driver may feel was wrongly determined with the new knowledge of the nation wide recall. After an at fault accident a driver should automatically receive a notice for their right to appeal the decision.

Appeal hearings are open to the public and for the most part informal. A written appeal is read by the hearing officer and after this is read the driver will proceed to make his or her case for the appeal. It is also good to be aware that a representative for the insurance carrier will also be present. A person’s driving record is one of the most important determinants of auto insurance premiums. Do not take it lightly if you have been wrongly assessed fault of an accident.

Managed Competition = Driver's Savings

Before 2008 Massachusetts auto insurance rates were set by the Massachusetts Commissioner of Insurance by the fix-and-establish system. The previous system relied on zip code and driving record to determine rates, in the new deregulated system carriers use their own methods of calculating rates and has in result increased competition saving driver’s money on auto insurance.

With managed competition new advantages have surfaced in the Massachusetts auto insurance market including: additional insurance companies, independent agencies have gained additional carriers to represent and the state has experienced a decrease in number of uninsured motorists. From the early 1990s through up to 2008 the number of insurance companies offering private passenger auto insurance had fallen from 35 to 19, however in the first year of managed competition nine companies entered Massachusetts’ auto insurance market. According to the Department of Insurance average premiums per vehicle on the road have decreased 8.2 % in the first year alone!

Under managed competition insurance providers can give additional discounts previously unavailable. For example an insurance carrier can give a driver discounts for holding a AAA membership or owning a home. It is important to also realize that providers may chose to or not to impose surcharges for traffic violations but cannot use at-fault accidents that took place more than six years prior to your policy effective date.

Although it is important to note auto insurance is under managed competition. This means although auto insurance companies may chose to set their own rates, the state of Massachusetts must approve them. Insurance carriers may also offer differing discounts, almost necessitating a driver shop differing carriers. Start shopping today by calling MassDrive where a representative will compare insurance quotes from multiple carriers for you!

Progressive Falls Behind

Flo, the popular Progressive personality, will bring higher premiums with her quirky commercials and price zapping gun this quarter. Progressive entered the Massachusetts auto insurance market two years ago with rates attractively lower than most competitors. The lower premiums however have not endured as Progressive raises their rates for a fourth time since their debut in 2008. The new price increase of 6.63% will raise prices a grad total of about 16% over the last two years.

Andrew Quigg, a Progressive executive in charge of the company’s Massachusetts business states,”We’re still very competitive… Thousands of consumers still shop around and find us to have the lowest cost for auto insurance.” Even so, Progressive has become less and less attractive to the Massachusetts driver as time continues to provided a history of constantly increasing premiums. If these price increases continue to follow their repetitive pattern, Quigg’s statement is unlikely to remain true for long.

Insurance commissioner Joe Murphy told the Boston Globe he believes the deregulated auto insurance market, “has been wildly successful.” And successful it has been. The Massachusetts Division of Insurance reports drivers saved $270 million in the first year of deregulation. Eleven new insurance carriers have entered the Massachusetts auto insurance market since the new system emerged. Before deregulation insurance rates were set by the government and depended upon the driver’s location and driving record only. The new market allows insurance carriers to offer discounts from holding a AAA membership to owning a home. Deregulation holds great potential savings for drivers state wide.

Some critics of the newly deregulated system find it difficult to compare prices through the plethora of new auto insurance carriers. Adjusting to a new system may difficult for some, however it does not have to be difficult for you. MassDrive Direct Auto Insurance understands you have better things to do with your time than compare auto insurance quotes while understanding it is an important process. Here at MassDrive we quickly gather your basic information and compare auto insurance quotes for you!

No longer will you need to worry about comparing rates, coverages between quotes, or stress about discounts – MassDrive has your back. We compare quotes through various Massachusetts insurance carriers helping you find the best price and saving you time. One carriers may offer discounts another does not, in comparing your information through various carriers we help you get the most bang for your buck. And the best part? The quotes are completely free! Give MassDrive a call, one of our friendly representatives will compare your quotes saving you time and money.

Check Insurance Before Driving Rentals

As the holiday season takes full swing many travelers find themselves in need of a rental car. When purchasing rental cars most businesses will offer the option of additional insurance. It’s important for a driver to check in with their current carrier  to find out what coverages would follow members of the policy.

Many drivers who already have an auto insurance policy will find their current coverage offers identical or better coverage than what rental companies offer. A number of drivers will decline the coverage without knowing what their own auto insurance policy covers leaving themselves under or uninsured. While on the contrary other consumers purchase the additional coverage which their current auto insurance would cover.

Not only is it important to consider current auto insurance, but other insurance policies held. For example someone with renters or homeowners insurance policies may cover burglary of things from inside the car. Also health insurance policies may cover the driver’s medical bills should an accident occur.

Another great alternative to checking with your current auto insurance policy is to check with your credit card company. Some credit card compaies will offer secondary auto insurance when you charge the rental. If they do offer secondary coverage, it’s still very important to call your auto insurance carrier to confirm between the two coverages damages would be paid for by them and not out of your own pocket.

Determining Auto Insurance Premiums

Auto insurance rates are generally determined by the same standard factors. In addition to your previous driving record your rates depend upon the following factors:

1. The type of vehicle you drive: Statistically some vehicles have a higher rate of accidents and may be more expensive to repair. Also some vehicles are stolen more often than others.

2. Use of the vehicle: If you use the vehicle for work your premiums will most likely be higher than if you used the vehicle for personal use.

3. Your age, sex, and marital status: Studies have shown older drivers, females, and married individuals are involved in fewer accidents, thus they will receive a lower premium.

4. Your neighborhood: Where you live will have a good effect on your premiums as well. More densely populated areas will be more prone to accidents, thus a higher premium.

5. Prior insurance: If you lack prior insurance or you’re a resonably new driver insurance companies see you as a high risk. With less experience than other drivers you’re premiums will be higher.

Life Events Affecting Your Auto Insurance

Ever wonder before those big changes, how exactly is this going to affect me and the rest of my life? Here’s the skinny on how a few life changes may affect your auto insurance…

Marriage: Many changes come with marriage from filing taxes to adjusting bank accounts and discounts on your auto insurance as well. Combining spouses on the same policy saves money on the plan itself, not to mention the multi-car discount couples receive.

Getting Older: Auto insurance tends to drop after the early 20’s. These years increase your driving  as maturity level and ability to make decisions. In fact the safest drivers seem to be ages 55 – 65 years.

Retirement: After retirement you’re no longer  driving Monday through Friday to and from the office. Your leisure diriving is likely to be less than it your total driving prior to retirement. Likely decreasing your annual mileage, and thus your insurance premiums as well.

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