Mass. Regulators Offer Advice to Drivers Who Are at Fault in Accidents
The Massachusetts Division of Insurance recently published a guideline for drivers who are found to be at fault in an auto accident.
The guideline, in a frequently-asked-questions format, covers topics including: the insurance coverage for at-fault drivers in auto accidents; premium hikes for those who are found to be at-fault; and the determination of who is at-fault in an accident.
Regulators explain that the amount of money an insurer is obligated to pay in an accident is partly determined by who is at fault. If an operator’s actions were more than 50 percent of the reason for an accident, that operator’s insurance company must cover all of the losses and expenses incurred by others who were affected by the accident.
However, if all individuals involved in the accident were partly the cause of it, and no single individual was more than 50 percent at fault, insurers are only responsible for restoring other injured parties to the extent they did not contribute to the accident.
Regulators also point out that in many instances, the driver’s premium will go up if he or she is found to be at-fault in an accident.
However, Massachusetts state law prohibits insurers from increasing premiums based on at-fault accidents or traffic violations that occurred more than five years prior to the effective date of the policy.
Also, if an insurer determines that a driver is at-fault in an accident, but the driver believes that he or she is not more than 50 percent at-fault for an accident, an appeal can be filed with the Board of Appeal at the Division of Insurance within 30 days of the date shown on the at-fault notice.
The at-fault drivers guideline can be found on the Massachusetts Division of Insurance website.
1. Keep the tires inflated properly. This one is simple and a potential lifesaver. Underinflated tires waste fuel and wear out the tire tread. Also, check tires regularly for alignment and balance.
4. Buy the lowest grade (octane) of gasoline that is appropriate for your car. Check your owner’s manual for this information. As long as your engine doesn’t knock or ping, the fuel you’re using is fine. You can save hundreds of dollars a year.
12. Tighten up that gas cap. Make sure it’s on securely. Buy a new one if your current cap doesn’t fit snugly. Gas easily evaporates from the tank if it has a way to escape.
A. Whether you sell your vehicle, or take it off the road, you need to turn in your Massachusetts (MA) plates to the Registry of Motor Vehicles and forward to us your Plate Return Receipt. For your convenience you can bring them in to our office and we can cancel them for you. If you move to another state, you must make arrangements for new plates and insurance in that state within 30 days then return your MA plates to us in order to cancel your MA policy.
A. Your son/daughter needs to be added when they receive their driver’s license. Note they do not need to be added while they drive on a learners permit. Once they pass their license exam, please contact our office with their license number.
A. All household members with driver’s licenses must be included on your policy as well as any customary operators. A customary operator is anyone who uses the vehicle on a regular basis whether a household member or not.
A. Your MA Automobile Policy does follow you in the continental U.S., Puerto Rico & Canada as long as your vehicle is left at home and not driven while you are traveling or on vacation. However, we do recommend you purchase the coverage for the following reasons:
A. The basic AAA membership only allows a certain number of miles per tow. Your MA Automobile policy offers two limits of coverage $50 per disablement at a cost of $8.00 and $100 per disablement at a cost of $16.00 (these are annual premiums). Please note this coverage is a reimbursement not an actual towing service like AAA.