Insurance News


Bigger Isn’t Always Better When Choosing a Car Insurance Agency

Have you ever called up and insurance agency an gotten a great rate but never heard of the carrier? Here at MassDrive we work with multiple carriers, some of them being more well-known than others. Quotes are different for every person and every situation, depending on their application and each carrier has different metrics to evaluate a potential policy, which is why you may get a price from one company that is significantly lower than another.

As an agency we have the benefit of running an application through different insurance companies to give our customers the best possible rate. However, sometimes the best rate may come from a company that some customers have never heard of. Unfortunately, this does sometimes sway their decision and result in them opting for a higher quote from a company that is more well-known.

However, just because you may not have necessarily heard of an insurance company doesn’t mean that they are any less reliable than the bigger names. In fact, choosing a small company often has major benefits that go along with it. One of the pros of a small company is that they typically have less clients, and therefore more time to focus on existing accounts. This typically results in better customer service because the person you are talking to is likely to already have a relationship with you and an understanding of your situation. It is important to understand that the reason they have a smaller amount of clientele isn’t because their performance is inferior to larger companies, it’s because they may not have a budget that allows for as much advertising.

Not only may a smaller company have better customer service, they are also more likely to work harder to keep your premium down. Larger companies have so many clients that losing one because of a price increase may not be a big deal to them. For a smaller company, the fact that they have less customers and no money to advertise encourages them to keep their customers as happy as possible. This could result in them putting more effort into maintaining a lower price for their customers in hopes of encouraging them to stay.

This is not to suggest that smaller companies are always less expensive, the price of insurance depends on each individual’s situation, however once you are a customer of theirs you may find them more helpful when it comes to maintaining the best possible rate. When the time comes for you to shop around for an auto quote, keep these benefits in mind if you haven’t heard of certain carriers, it may end up saving you more money in the long run.

Commerce Insurance Provides Vehicle Donations & Educational Development

Commerce Insurance, a MassDrive insurance carrier, is at it again. The insurance carrier has always been committed to teaching new drivers safe driving techniques and is now providing vocational technical students an opportunity to improve their auto repair skills. As a participant in their Division of C.A.R.E.S. in the Community, Commerce is donating two vehicles to be repaired by the Bay Path Regional Vocational Technical High School in Charlton, Massachusetts.

The two cars donated to the program, a 2010 Toyota Camry and 2010 Toyota Corolla, are to be repaired by students at Bay Path in cooperation with the Long Subaru in Webster. Once repaired the vehicles will be raffled and proceeds from the raffle distributed to four local schools. The local schools will not only reap the financial benefits of the raffle but the students are to take part in the marketing and selling of the raffle encouraging further development of student’s buisness skills.

Commerce Insurance, one of MassDrive’s many carriers, is committed to its Massachusetts residents in working to improve safety and enrich communities with participation in programs such as C.A.R.E.S.

For a free insurance quote comparison call your MassDrive representative today.

Progressive & Liberty Mutual Lawsuit Initiated

A federal lawsuit has been filed by Progressive, the nation’s fourth largest auto insurer, against Liberty Mutual for a patent infringement on a vehicle monitoring system. Progressive claims Liberty’s OnBoard Adviser and Rewind programs are copyright infringements of Progressive’s MyRate program monitoring insured’s driving habits.

According to the lawsuit Progressive was issued a patent in 2000 for the MyRate program. This patent is being used as the grounds for lawsuit against Liberty’s Rewind and Onboard Adviser programs.  The Rewind program waives surcharges for qualifying drivers who receive a speeding ticket or are involved in an accident. The Onboard Advisor program is more intense as it reports your fuel score, indicates driver performance as to correct risky driving habits, keeps a location lock on the vehicle and creates a driver trend analysis. These systems are utilized by Liberty Mutual to transmit data used to calculate the driver’s safety score.

According to an article from Business Insurance a Progressive spokeswoman stated:

“Our extensive research, development and investment in usage-based insurance dates back to the mid-1990s. We filed this suit to protect intellectual property rights we have spent more than 15 years investing and developing.”

The Liberty Mutual Spokesman Gleen Greenberg has relayed to the press as of now the company has no comment on the litigation.

Are You Being Overcharged For Your Auto Insurance?

This past May the state attorney general announced four additional insurance companies to pay fines and compensate 10,000 auto insurance customers who were being charged auto premiums with inaccurate accident reports indicating they had not been at fault. The four companies to re-pay customers unfairly determined premiums are: Abrella Mutual, Norfolk & Dedham, United Service Automobile Association and Electric Insurance.

Some Massachusetts insurance companies were practicing outsourcing. When the auto insurance industry deregulated about two years ago the major insurers began using private databases to rate customers. There is a fear this outsourcing was careless in its record practices and drivers were being wrongly assigned at fault accidents and thus being charged higher premiums. These errors were found and investigated when a consumer complaint was sent to the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office regarding overcharges based upon an inaccurate driving record.

Along the same lines as a credit report, your driving record in the RMV can contain mistakes by way of anything from a misspelling error and software glitches to poor handwriting on the original accident report. To protect yourself from paying higher premiums for accidents you were not involved in or determined not at fault with, it’s a good idea to review your driving record every do often.

A great way to do this is to ask your auto insurance agent what accidents, tickets, or violations are on record and affecting your rates. If you find you have one of these on your record that you were not involved in the first step is to seek out the source of the information. If the information was submitted by a company, contact the company and request a copy of the accident report they have on file. When you receive a copy of the accident report, compare it to the original police report. You will next need to file an appeal to either your current auto insurance carrier or the Massachusetts Court of Appeals.

Plymouth Rock Customers Receive MORE Benefits!

Plymouth Rock Assurance Corporation announced last week it has made an agreement made with some of the nation’s top auto service providers and part retailers to provide Plymouth Rock policy holders with additional Savings Pass Program benefits. Plymouth Rock has partnered with Sears Auto Center, Meineke Car Care Centers and Maaco to name a few, offering discounts saving up to 15% on auto-related products and services when customers use their Savings Pass.

Meineke Car Car Centers and Maaco will offer a number of discounts on auto parts and repairs at to those within the Plymouth Rock Savings Pass Program. Meineke will offer Plymouth Rock customers 5% off new tires and batteries – instillation included – and a 10% discount on all other products and services. It has also been announced Maaco will be offering 10% off their services and products. Sears Auto Center will provide Plymouth Rock customers a 5% discount on regular priced products and a $7.00 discount on oil changes. According to the carrier’s website, the Plymouth Rock Savings Pass offers additional discounts at: Auto Anything, Hertz, Enterprise, Sullivan Tires, Auto Sound, In Control, Driven – Advanced Driving School, Jiffy Lube, and more auto service and parts providers.

The Savings Pass is free and given with all Massachusetts Plymouth Rock insurance policies. In addition to the free Savings Pass Plymouth Rock offers a number of services in the MYLES – Make Your Life Easier Services including:

  • Online payment options, electronic billing and e-mail document delivery
  • Easy and convenient Internet-based claim viewing, a new feature that allows Plymouth Rock customers and their agents to view the progress of an auto claim online
  • Email reminders for inspection sticker, license and registration renewals for every car and driver on a customer’s policy

MassDrive is a proud broker of Plymouth Rock Assurance Auto and Home insurance. For more information about Plymouth Rock or a free quote call a friendly MassDrive agent today!

Auto Insurance for Rental Vehicles

When picking up a rental vehicle the concierge, more often then not, will offer additional auto insurance through the rental business for an additional fee. Many drivers blindly decline or accept this coverage without checking into their own auto insurance policy. Depending on the coverages you’ve chosen for your own auto insurance policy, you may or may not already be covered.

If you’ve purchased collision coverage on your own policy, it should cover the damage you cause to any car you’re driving. Many auto insurance policies however state that your auto insurance policy is in excess to any other coverage present. Meaning if you were to purchase auto insurance from the rental dealership, your own policy would kick in after the purchased rental auto insurance. It is also important to remember your own auto insurance policy will require a deductible to be paid out before your insurance company starts paying the bills.

Comprehensive coverage will also likely cover you while driving a rental vehicle and include fire, theft, vandalism and accidents involving an animal. It’s important to remember yet again that your insurance policy requires a deductible and is in excess to any other insurance, such as additional rental insurance if you choose to purchase it.

If you are involved in an accident and found at fault while driving a rental vehicle, your own policy’s liability insurance will most likely pay damages you caused someone else as well as medical expenses accruing in direct result of your negligence. Much like collision and comprehensive coverage, your own auto insurance policy will be in excess of any other auto insurance present.

If you do not carry your own auto insurance policy, or have no comprehension or collision coverage, purchasing insurance from the rental dealership is a good idea. If you choose to purchase insurance through the rental business be sure to ask about discounts. If you are a member of a public radio station, AAA or another type of club you may be eligible. Drivers may also be eligible if they will be keeping the rental vehicle in a garage or driving in a safer neighborhood with less traffic.

Always play it safe, give your local auto insurance agent a call and ask what will and will not be covered while driving a rental. If you’re looking for auto insurance give MassDrive a call where we compare quotes through various carriers finding you the best policy for the best price.

Liberty Mutual Settlement

Martha Coakley, Massachusetts Attorney General, has announced approximately three million dollars has already or will be returned to Massachusetts motorcyclists who were overcharged by Liberty Mutual. The insurance company is required by terms of a settlement reached in December to complete the process of issuing the refunds by May 1. Refunds range from amounts of $250 to $9,200 with an average refund of $334.

According to an article published in Legal Newsline, refunds of less than $250 will be distributed to 5,851 Massachusetts residents and 1,560 residents will receive refunds of between $250 and $499. Refunds of between $500-$999 will be sent to 1,136 residents while 740 will receive refunds of between $1,000-$9,200.

Liberty Mutual Customers who are eligible for a premium refund must have purchased insurance with either comprehensive or collission coverage for a motorcycle between January 1, 2009 and March 30, 2009. The Attorney General stated that Liberty Mutual has overcharged motorcycles during this time period.

Massachusetts rejects health care hikes

The state Division of Insurance denied 235 of 274 increases proposed by insurers.  The requested premium increases were for plans covering individuals and small businesses.

The denial of the insurers proposal marks the first time the state has turned down health premium increases.

Jay McQuaide, vice president of the state’s largest health insurer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield released this statement,

“We share the concern about rising health costs, but we don’t think government price controls will solve the problem”

Insurance Commissioner Joseph G. Murphy found that most of the base rates proposed by state health plans were “unreasonable relative to the benefits provided,” according to a statement issued by the agency.

Further information on this story can be found in the original article in the Boston Globe.

March Pending Home Sales Soar!

Pending single family home sales are up 27% and condos 38% from the same time last year according the the Massachusetts Association of Realtors. This March pending home sales have increased for the 9th consecutive month for year-over-year comparisons. Although these are pending sales, meaning the buyer and seller have agreed on the terms of the sale and have signed an purchase and sale agreement however not yet closed. These sales can be a forecasting of where the local housing is heading. The more definite and better measure of the market is the completed sales, which will be released later this month.

The published sales for February have local real estate agents hopeful, but cautious. The federal home buyer’s tax credit is to expire later this year which has been credited with a good portion of the housing market boost. This raises concerns that a rise in interest rates combined with the loss of the federal tax credit will cause sales to fall.

The figure release on the pending March sales today included a statement from the president of the Massachusetts Association of Realtors:

“It appears that the record rains in March didn’t keep buyers from taking advantage of the market conditions and making offers on homes. Whether the rain will impact how many of these deals close is still a question, but the buyers are out there and that is a good sign for the market.”

–Kevin Sears

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!

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