The best Massachusetts auto insurance should do more than just cover your car. When we reviewed auto insurance providers in the Bay State, we looked at educational resources, online tools, and customer service, along with coverage options. In the end, we came up with six top companies, some of which you can only find in Massachusetts. While it’s true that Massachusetts had the third-lowest rate of fatal crashes in 2017 (5.1 deaths for every 100,000 people), you still don’t want to skimp when it comes to auto insurance, and the companies below are a great place to start your search.
The Best Massachusetts Auto Insurance Companies: Summed Up
|MAPFRE||Liberty Mutual||Safety Insurance||Arbella Insurance||Plymouth Rock Assurance Company||USAA|
|Our review||Our review|
|Compare rates||Compare rates||Compare rates||Compare rates||Compare rates||Compare rates|
How We Found the Best Massachusetts Auto Insurance Companies
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 six largest auto insurance providers in Massachusetts by market share. We then scored each company on its 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, then 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 price-wise.
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.
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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 — 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 premiums on average 3% to 6%, making it the second straight year of steep increases. 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 close to 13.6 minutes of every hour using the phone, holding it, or texting. Until recently, traffic-related fatalities were on a steady decline. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that fatalities attributed to distracted driving jumped nearly 9% in 2016.
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), cell phone usage while driving has been going down for younger drivers, with only 3.9% of drivers aged 16-24 using their phones while driving as of 2018. This is in stark comparison to 7.6% of the same demographic using their phones while driving in 2009. Lower cell phone use is attributed to laws banning texting, calling, and cellphone use while at the wheel, meaning overall distracted driving seems to be trending down as a risk factor. Regardless, always keep your eyes on the road and you won’t have to worry about your phone raising your premium.
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 picks to see how they stack up.
The 6 Best Auto Insurance Companies in Massachusetts
- Liberty Mutual
- Safety Insurance Group
- Arbella Mutual Insurance Co.
- Plymouth Rock Auto Insurance
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 auto insurance provider in Massachusetts, covering 23.3% of the market share.
It received high marks from A.M. Best and S&P Global for financial security. J.D. Power was a bit less enamored with the brand, giving it a two out of five for overall satisfaction in the New England region — it received dings for policy offerings, billing process, and the overall claims experience. However, it’s worth mentioning that MAPFRE has the most robust supplemental coverage options out of the six largest auto providers in Massachusetts. Consumer Reports readers also ranked both the simplicity of the claims process and the timely payment of claims as “very good,” so your own experience with the company may vary.
MAPFRE’s website is intuitive and easy to use, making it simple to decipher your coverage quickly, and it 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 has a slick website — it’s well-designed, intuitive, and by far the easiest of all our picks to navigate. That makes sense, as it’s the second-largest auto insurance provider in Massachusetts, with 10.7% of the market share. It is one of only a few of our top six auto providers to receive ratings from all three financial institutions — Moody’s, S&P Global, and A.M. Best — varying from “good” to “very strong.” However, J.D. Power gave the company an overall satisfaction score of two out of five. This puts it a little below average as a whole, but it’s worth noting that its claim satisfaction rating was a bit higher at three out of five.
Liberty Mutual also received a big ding from us during the quote process. There are two ways to obtain a free quote on its 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 Group
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, the company will reimburse a certain amount of your vet bills. The company also offers an Auto Loan/Lease Gap endorsement, meaning in the event that your car is totaled, Safety 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 was its online quote process — there is none. That’s needlessly inconvenient when you’re shopping around for price comparisons. The company didn’t rank highly in J.D. Power rankings, earning two out of five for overall satisfaction. 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.” We still recommend getting a quote from Safety, especially if its coverage options appeal to you, but know that it doesn’t have the same financial assurance or customer satisfaction as our other picks.
Arbella Mutual Insurance Co.
Arbella Insurance is the fourth-largest auto insurance provider in Massachusetts, covering 7.7% of the market share. 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 received a two out of five from J.D. Power, meaning its customers were satisfied “below average” overall with their entire insurance experience. Arbella’s website also isn’t our favorite; there is no live chat capability, and educational tools regarding coverage options are sparse. 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 Auto Insurance
Like Arbella, Plymouth Rock Assurance received two out of five from J.D. Power and 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 are 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 in 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 — so we recommend including the company in your quote-gathering process to see what it can offer you.
USAA has the lowest market share out of all our top picks, occupying 3.1% of the Massachusetts auto insurance market. There’s a very good reason for this: You can’t get coverage from USAA unless you’re in the military, a veteran, or married to a service member. However, for those eligible, you’ll find an auto insurance provider with a perfect five out of five from J.D. Power, “excellent” marks in all categories from claims process to timeliness from Consumer Reports, and the highest possible A.M. Best financial strength rating of A++.
Discounts are fairly standard fare with USAA, including those for multi-car policies and good students. While we were unable to get a quote from the company, it’s definitely worth considering if you are eligible.
Massachusetts Auto Insurance FAQ
What are average auto insurance rates in Massachusetts?
Due to its high concentration of urban areas, Massachusetts’ car insurance rates are on the higher side — on average $1,129 per year, compared to the nationwide average of $1,009. Factors that can affect your insurance premium include but aren’t limited to:
- Make and model of your car
- Your coverage limits and add-ons
- Amount of drivers for each car
- Number of cars covered
- Years spent driving
- Marital status
- Claims history
Everyone’s rate will be different based on certain factors like these, but shopping around means you can find the best coverage, and best price, for you and your needs.
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 Protection, or PIP for short. (In a no-fault state, policyholders can recover financial losses from their own insurance company, regardless of fault.) This includes coverage for medical services, 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.
Does the high amount of snow storms affect premium pricing in Massachusetts?
Massachusetts residents are no strangers to heavy snow and winter storms, which means insurers and drivers need to be prepared for the worst. As with most weather events the Insurance Information Institute reports that in the event of a snow storm related claim you’re usually covered. If you end up in an auto accident with another driver, your liability will kick in. If you hit a stationary object like a tree or a road barrier, optional collision coverage will take care of it. And lastly, if your car is damaged by fallen tree limbs, flooding, or high winds, then optional comprehensive coverage will cover you. All-in-all, if you’re worried about weather affecting your car, it pays to opt for comprehensive and collision coverage on your policy.
What is a no fault state? Is Massachusetts a no fault state?
A no-fault state is one where drivers are covered by their provider regardless of who is “at fault” for an auto accident. This means that each driver will file a claim to their insurer in order to pay for damages to their vehicle, persons, or property that has been damaged in transit. Massachusetts is a no-fault state, so rear ending someone isn’t an insurance disaster, provided you have the necessary coverage to pay off the costs.