The Best Massachusetts Auto Insurance

The Bay State is a relatively safe place to get behind the wheel. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, in 2016 (the latest data available) there were 5.7 deaths in Massachusetts for every 100,000 people — the third lowest rate out of all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C. Still, car accidents happen out of nowhere, and every driver needs auto insurance to protect themselves and their vehicles. Massachusetts (like all states except Virginia and New Hampshire) legally requires auto liability insurance before a driver can rev up an engine.

How We Found the Best Massachusetts Auto Insurance

When we set out to find the best auto insurance providers in the Bay State, we went about it in much the same way we found the best nationwide auto insurance providers. First, we determined the five largest auto insurance providers in Massachusetts by market share. We then scored each company on their website tools, educational offerings, and customer service (for example, was live chat an available option on the website?). We evaluated the overall claims process and company reputation by examining J.D. Power scores and Consumer Reports ratings, and took a look at each insurer’s financial stability (after all, you want your insurance company to be able to pay out in the event of a claim). We also got sample insurance quotes for a 2012 Subaru Outback with 65,000 miles for a 45-year-old male driver to see how each company stacked up pricewise.

The 5 Best Auto Insurance Companies in Massachusetts

MAPFRE

Our favorite provider by a long shot, MAPFRE is a great place to start when you’re shopping for auto insurance. It’s the largest provider of auto insurance in Massachusetts, covering 24% of the market share.

It received high marks from A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s for financial security. J.D. Power was a bit less enamored with the brand, giving it a 2/5 for overall satisfaction in the New England region — it received dings for policy offerings, price, and billing process. However, it’s worth mentioning that MAPFRE has the most robust supplemental coverage options out of the five largest auto providers in Massachusetts. The J.D. Power ranking for the overall claims process satisfaction was more in line with what we suspected — a 4/5. Consumer Reports readers ranked both the simplicity of the claims process and the timely payment of claims as “very good.”

In addition to ratings, MAPFRE’s website is intuitive and easy to use, making it simple to decipher your coverage quickly. It also features a comprehensive list of both discounts and endorsements. The quote tool is also speedy — in less than five minutes, we received an estimate. MAPFRE has a live chat feature, too (one of only two providers that offer this), which makes speaking to an agent a snap.

Liberty Mutual

Liberty Mutual has a slick website — it’s well-designed, intuitive, and by far the easiest of all our picks to navigate. It makes sense, as it’s the second-largest auto insurance provider in Massachusetts, with almost 13% of the market share. It is the only one of our top five auto providers to receive ratings from all three financial institutions — Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s, and A.M. Best — varying from “good” to “very strong.” J.D. Power rated its overall satisfaction as 3/5, which is “about average,” and its claim satisfaction ratings were a bit lower at 2/5.

Still, Liberty Mutual received a big ding from us during the quote process. There are two ways to obtain a free quote on their website — you can either choose a quick estimate, which involves answering a few questions, or a personalized quote, which means answering more detailed questions. We hit a roadblock in both versions when we were required to enter our Social Security Number to continue with the quote process. No other insurer required that sensitive information in order to churn out a free quote.

Safety Insurance

Safety Insurance has a few standout features, including an endorsement for pet coverage, one of only two of our providers to do so. That means if your pet is seriously injured in a car accident, it will reimburse a certain amount of your vet bills. The company also offers an Auto Loan/Lease Gap endorsement, meaning in the event your car is totaled, the insurance company will pay any unpaid amount on the lease or loan of your vehicle. That’s a big deal for anyone who is financing or leasing their car.

However, one area where Safety Insurance disappointed is its online quote process — there is none. That’s needlessly inconvenient when you’re shopping around for price comparisons. The company didn’t rank as highly as the others in J.D. Power rankings, earning 2/5 for its overall satisfaction, lumping it unceremoniously with “the rest.” In terms of its financial stability, Safety Insurance only received ratings from A.M. Best, which gives it an A for a “very strong capacity to meet financial commitments.”

Arbella Insurance

Arbella Insurance is the fifth-largest auto insurance provider in Massachusetts, covering 8.8% of the market share. It received 3/5 from J.D. Power, meaning its customers were satisfied “about average” overall with their entire insurance experience. It garnered an A- rating from A.M. Best, which translates to a “very strong capability to meet financial commitments.” It’s definitely worthy of a look.

That said, Arbella’s website isn’t our favorite; there is no live chat capability and sparse educational tools regarding coverage options. It does offer a hefty list of discounts, though, including a few that not many competitors offer, such as one for active members of the military on deployment and drivers who are behind the wheel less than 10,000 miles per year. If either of those apply to you, you may be able to save on your premium by choosing Arbella. Much like Safety Insurance, there is no way to retrieve an online quote from Arbella, so you’ll have to call and speak to an agent.

Plymouth Rock Assurance Company

Plymouth Rock Assurance received 3/5 from J.D. Power, giving it a ranking of “about average” for overall customer satisfaction. Like Arbella, Plymouth Rock also received an A- (“very strong capability to meet financial commitments”) rating from A.M. Best.

Plymouth Rock doesn’t have all the coverage options of its competitors; notably missing were vanishing deductible and accident forgiveness, both of which are offered by all of the other providers on our list. While the company does offer roughly a dozen various discounts, the website doesn’t list them all, making it hard to tell how much you’ll be able to save.

The first time we attempted to get an online quote, we got an error message and the site suggested we “try again in a few hours.” When we did, it was a seamless process, with its quote generator churning out a price for us within less than five minutes. Aside from that initial hiccup, Plymouth Rock’s quote generator was our favorite out of all of our providers — quick and painless.

Guide to Massachusetts Auto Insurance

Urban residents will pay more

We wanted to see how our home address would affect our auto insurance premiums, so we got quotes from different addresses in three counties ranging from the lowest to the highest population density. We used the same car and driver for each: a 2012 Subaru Outback with 65,000 miles and a 45-year-old unmarried male driver.

The results weren’t shocking — folks in urban areas are likely going to pay higher auto insurance premiums due to the increased population density and higher likelihood of crime. By contrast, the more rural an area, the lower insurance premiums you’re likely to pay.

COUNTY MAPFRE PLYMOUTH ROCK
Franklin (lowest population density) $64 per month $104 per month
Barnstable (average population density) $84 per month $121 per month
Suffolk (highest population density) $121 per month $159 per month

Smartphones are raising premiums

Smartphones have done a world of good for e-commerce but there’s one industry that’s not thrilled about their ubiquitousness — and that’s the auto insurance industry. According to a 2017 Boston Globe article, drivers distracted by their smartphones are crashing more often, leading to a spike in auto insurance premiums, even for drivers who have not had any accidents recently. In 2017, auto insurers raised their premiums on average 3-6%, making it the second straight year of steep increases. (MAPFRE, one of our top picks, raised its premiums by nearly 4% in May 2017.) And, they might not go down anytime soon.

TrueMotion, a Boston-based company that produces an app to track how much drivers are on their phones, found that drivers spent nearly 20% of every driving trip talking on the phone, holding it, or texting. Until recently, traffic-related fatalities were on a steady decline. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that fatalities attributed to distracted driving jumped nearly 9% in 2015.

Compare quotes

There are many things that factor into auto insurance premiums (your driving history, your age, your marital status, what kind of car you drive, and so on). Thus, it’s important to shop around for premiums to see who can give you the best deal. We recommend getting quotes from all of our top five picks to see how they stack up.

Massachusetts Auto Insurance FAQ

What are average auto insurance rates in Massachusetts?

Due to its high concentration of urban areas, Massachusetts’s car insurance rates are on the higher side — on average $1,129 per year, compared to the nationwide average of $1,009. That said, how much you’ll pay can vary a lot depending on your car, your coverage, and your address, so it’s worth shopping around for the best rates.

What are the minimum liability requirements in Massachusetts?

Liability essentially means “responsibility,” and there are two kinds of liability when it comes to auto insurance: bodily injury and property damage. If you are at-fault in an accident, your auto liability insurance will pay the other driver’s medical and vehicle repair costs.

Minimum liability refers to the minimum amount of insurance coverage the state of Massachusetts requires you to purchase. Massachusetts’ minimum liability coverage breaks down like this:

$20,000 bodily injury coverage per person
$40,000 bodily injury coverage per accident
$5,000 property damage coverage per accident

Does Massachusetts require Personal Injury Protection (PIP)?

In Massachusetts, like all other no-fault states, you’re also required to have Personal Injury Project, or PIP for short. (In a no-fault state, policy holders can recover financial losses from their own insurance company, regardless of fault.) This includes coverage for medical, rehabilitation, lost wages due to missed time at work, and even funeral expenses. In some states PIP also includes essential services such as child care.

The Best Massachusetts Auto Insurance: Summed Up

MAPFRE
Liberty Mutual
Safety Insurance
Arbella Insurance
Plymouth Rock Assurance Company
A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating
A
A
A
A-
A-
J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction Score
2/5
3/5
2/5
3/5
3/5
Consumer Reports Reader Score
86/100
88/100
N/A
N/A
N/A