Right To Auto Insurance In Massachusetts
Have you ever been denied automobile insurance but you don’t know why? Some states have laws that designed to protect individuals against insurance discrimination. Massachusetts is one of those states.
Massachusetts has enacted the Consumer Bill of Rights for Automobile Insurance. Not only does the bill protect against discrimination with regards to securing auto insurance, it has other measures attached to protect the consumer for unfair pricing and billing practices. Check with your state’s Division of Insurance to see if your state has laws enacted to protect the automobile insurance consumer.
Massachusetts states you have the right to buy insurance. This seems rather odd, of course you should be able to buy insurance, but it means you can’t be denied for no substantial reason. You can’t be unfairly discriminated against for insurance based on obvious factors such as race, religion, gender, but it goes further to state no discrimination with regards to marital status, occupation, income, garaging, home ownership and education. If you are denied insurance you have the right to know why, if you are denied an answer, or you feel the answer is discriminatory, you may file a complaint with the Division of Insurance. Massachusetts has a “pool” for drivers denied insurance in the open market. If after several attempts to secure insurance you are continuously denied for sufficient reason, you may apply to the state and be placed in pool, called the Massachusetts Automobile Insurance Plan. The rates are typically higher, and these are considered higher hazard drivers for one reason or another, so be sure to shop before applying to MAIP. Massachusetts actually publishes the rates for all carriers operating in their state, and this information is available to the general public for research and shopping around.
The state goes even further to protect the consumer. You cannot be forced to purchase coverage’s that are not mandatory or not required by your lien holder. If you want only basic coverage by law, and what is required by your bank, you may do so, an agent cannot force you to buy higher limits. The rates you do purchase must be subject to legitimate underwriting criteria and not unfairly discriminatory, such as the reasons for denying coverage that are discriminatory. As long as you have not failed to pay policy premiums in the past, you cannot be forced to pay more than a 30% deposit when a new policy is written or renewed. You must be notified with regards to policy cancelation or non-renewal within a specific time frame, and adequate reason must be given, you also have the right to appeal this decision. You also have the right to cancel the policy yourself at any time, but the insurer does have the right to issue a fee or penalty is the policy is canceled after inception. Fair claim handling and notice of claim decisions is also a right. Claims must be handled fairly, and if it is determined you are at fault you have the right to be notified as to why you were at fault. Your insurance company must keep your personal information private, and it is their duty to make sure your date is safe from hackers or others trying to secure confidential information.
Finally, a consumer can always filed a complaint with the Insurance Division, it is also a right. Again, be sure to check your specific state with regards to rules and regulations to do with automobile insurance and your rights.