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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.

These 15 tips will help you cut fuel consumption.

Car Maintenance

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.
2. A well-tuned engine burns less gas. Get regular tuneups and follow through with routine maintenance. The right parts and fresh oil keep your engine happy and less thirsty for gas.
3. Get the junk out of the trunk. A weighed-down car uses more fuel. For every extra 250 pounds your engine hauls, the car loses about one mile per gallon in fuel economy. Carry only the basic emergency equipment and items you really need.
Gas Shopping

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.
5. Pay cash at stations that charge extra for credit cards.
6. Don’t top off the gas tank. Too much gas will just slosh or seep out. Why waste those extra pennies?
Driving

7. Drive intelligently; don’t make fast starts or sudden stops. You’re just overexerting your engine and burning extra fuel. Gradual acceleration also helps automatic transmissions run better. Engine-revving wastes fuel, too.
8. Lighten up on the accelerator. The faster you drive, the more gas you use. Speed limits have gone up around most of the nation, but you don’t have to see your fuel consumption go up drastically as well. For example, driving at 55 mph rather than 65 mph can improve your fuel economy by two miles per gallon.
9. Avoid long warm-ups. Even on cold winter mornings, your car doesn’t need more than a minute to get ready to go. Anything more and you’re just burning up that expensive fuel.
10. Combine errands into one trip and plan your stops for the most efficient route. You’ll save yourself time and money.
11. Do not rest your left foot on the brake. The slightest pressure could cause a drag that will demand additional gas use — and wear out the brakes sooner.
Other Good Habits

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.
13. Buy a fuel-efficient car. When pricing cars, factor in long-term fuel costs. Keep in mind that sunroofs add to wind resistance, lowering the mileage per gallon.
14. Be smart with the air conditioning. On the highway, closed windows decrease air resistance, so run the air conditioner. But in stop-and-go traffic, shutting off the air conditioning and opening the windows can lighten your fuel use. Air conditioning can lower your fuel economy by 10 percent to 20 percent.
15. Remove snow tires in good weather. Deep tread and big tires use more fuel.

Don’t stop there!  Save money on your Massachusetts car insurance as well, call us today (508) 653-3131 or get an online auto insurance quote here.

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about Massachusetts Auto Insurance:
Q. How do I cancel my Insurance/Delete a vehicle?

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.

Q. When do I have to add my son/daughter to my Auto 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.

Q. Who should be listed on my MA Automobile policy?

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.

Q. When I rent a vehicle while on vacation, do I need to purchase the rental companies insurance?

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:

1.     The Collision and Comprehensive deductibles on your own policy apply unless you purchase the rental company coverage which will waive your deductible.
2.     In the event of an accident your MA Automobile Policy does not cover “loss of use” of the rental vehicle while it is being repaired.
3.     If you do not carry collision and comprehensive coverage.

Q. Do I need towing if I have AAA?

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.

Q. I moved, what should I do?

A. Contact us with your new address and you also need to contact the Registry of Motor Vehicles to change both your drivers license as well as your vehicle registrations you can do this on line at www.mass.gov/rmv or we can send you a card to complete and mail to the Registry.

Q. What discounts are available for the MA Automobile Policy?

A. Each company offers different discounts they include but are not limited to Low Mileage, Multi-Car, Anti Theft, Senior Citizen, Public Transit, Group Discounts, Account Credits, Good Student, Student away at school (if over 100 miles), Hybrid Vehicle, Pay in Full, Loyalty Discounts, Advanced Driver Training and more.

Q. Should I keep a copy of my MA Automobile policy in my vehicle?

A. If you are traveling with your vehicle out of state, or in Canada, we do recommend that you keep a copy of your Insurance Policy with you.

Q. I no longer want my Social Security number on my MA Driver’s license, how do I change it?

A. You can log onto www.mass.gov/rmv and go to the Replace Your Driver’s License section. The registry will send you a replacement license with a state assigned “S” number.

Q. How does my odometer reading effect my insurance rates?

A. With the new Massachusetts Managed Competition odometer readings are an important part of your rates. Your odometer reading comes directly from your MA safety inspection; therefore it is of the utmost importance that this information is accurate.

As such you should always verify with your service station at the time of the state inspection that the odometer reading they enter is accurate… It could save you money!

More information can be found at http://www.fyins.com/