- Division of Insurance
Warmer weather is just around the corner, and as Massachusetts residents begin planning vacations and road trips, the Division of Insurance is again reminding consumers to proactively review their automobile insurance policies to ensure that they have the coverage they need.
“As a general rule, consumers should review their insurance policies at least once per year, and especially following any significant changes,” said Jackie Horigan, Director of Consumer Services at the Massachusetts Division of Insurance. “By taking just a few minutes to review existing coverages and determine whether any changes are needed, consumers can help ensure that they have the right level of protection if a loss should happen.”
Get your auto policy road ready by doing the following:
- Check your coverage and limits. Over the last year, many consumers made adjustments to their auto insurance policies to align their coverage with any reductions in driving. While everyone must carry compulsory liability coverage in case you harm others or their property - at the level required by law - you may have had but dropped higher limits or optional coverages, such as comprehensive and collision coverage on your own vehicle to save money. It’s a good time to look at your coverage and consider optional coverages that you may not have previously purchased, such as substitute transportation or coverage for towing.
- If your car is financed, double check that you have all the coverages that the lienholder may require you to have. Because many coverages are optional, if you purchase insurance online or without an agent, you may not realize you don’t have certain coverages until an accident occurs. If you’re buying a new vehicle, it would also be a good time to discuss “gap insurance” to cover the difference between the amount you still owe the lender and the amount of money your insurance company will pay if the vehicle is a total loss.
- Review your declaration page. Be sure all household members who are of driving age are listed on the policy as operators or as excluded drivers and that the address where the vehicle is garaged is correct. The insurance company may deny claims if you omitted or misrepresented any information. Double check that the contact information that the company has on file for you is accurate as well.
- Ask for all of the discounts that might be available to you. While some discounts are required by law, such as discounts for passive restraint systems or other safety features, and discounts for drivers who are 65 years or older, different insurance companies offer many other discounts based on low annual mileage, coverage of multiple cars, or drivers who are good students.
- Shop around. You can shop around for a different automobile policy at any time and should obtain cost estimates from multiple insurers to find the best rate for your specific coverage needs. If you find a better price or a company that offers additional coverages or discounts, you can cancel your old policy and seek a refund of your unused premium. Insurance companies are required to have proof of new insurance or that the vehicle’s registration has been cancelled before canceling an existing policy, but cannot refuse to cancel a policy for any other reason. Insurance companies are also prohibited from requiring only a specific form, known as a 2A form, in order to process the transfer of insurance.
Consumers with questions or concerns about their insurance coverage are encouraged to contact the Division’s Consumer Services Unit at 617-521-7794 or visit the Division’s website at www.mass.gov/doi for valuable information regarding all lines of insurance.
About the Division of Insurance
The Division of Insurance is an agency within the Office of Consumer and Business Regulation. The primary mission of the Division is to monitor the solvency of its licensees in order to promote a healthy, responsive and willing marketplace for consumers who purchase insurance products. The Division is responsible for regulating Massachusetts’ $60 billion insurance industry and overseeing more than 1,600 licensed insurance companies and approximately 141,000 individual insurance producers. Protection of consumer interests is of prime importance to the Division and is safeguarded by providing accurate and unbiased information so consumers may make informed decisions and by intervening on behalf of consumers who believe they have been victimized by unfair business practice