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.
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!
Great news for Massachusetts metropolitan drivers, auto thefts decreased by 11.5 percent over the last couple years. However this does not mean Mass drivers should leave their car doors unlocked. The most-Stolen vehicle in Massachusetts last year was the 1995 Honda Civic. (Auto Thefts Down in Mass., U.S. in ’08, by Craig M Douglas)