Massachusetts Auto Surcharge Threshold
What is the Massachusetts Auto Surcharge Threshold and how does it apply?
It’s a cold snowy New England morning and you are on a merry drive down Route 3. Suddenly, you hit a patch of black ice and slam on your brakes to come to a halt, but fail woefully. By the time the skid is over, your vehicle is pressed into the bumper of a brand new BMW. With both vehicles drivable, you exchange insurance information and drive off.
This scenario is one of many scenarios that play out on our roads every day in Massachusetts. It is usually followed by a notification of an accident surcharge a few weeks later from your insurance company. With the insurance carrier deeming you more than 50% at fault and the claim being in excess of the surcharge threshold, this will be included on your driving record, and your premiums will be adjusted accordingly.
Previous Auto Surcharge Threshold
Before July 2015, Massachusetts legislation placed the surcharge limits at above $500 for a minor accident, and above $2000 for a major accident. This implied that an at-fault accident that causes over $500 in damages to someone else’s property is considered a minor accident with 3 surcharge points added to your driving records. For damages to property or bodily injuries above $2000, the accident is classified as major. Four surcharge points are added to your driving record.
With vehicle production costs on the rise, the costs of basic accidents have also gone up. A simple fender-benders accident could cost into the thousands in repairs, easily exceeding the $500 mark, and even the $2000 point. With sensors and computers in all new vehicles, the cost of repairs continues to rise!
The previous thresholds did not properly reflect the current economy and inflation over the years. As a result, accidents previously considered to be minor could easily become major. As of July 2015, this legislation was revised, and the thresholds were revised.
Looking for more information on the Massachusetts Safe Driver Insurance Plan (SDIP)? Click here.
What is the Current Auto Surcharge Threshold?
The current Massachusetts auto surcharge threshold places a minor at-fault accident at between $1001 and $5000. Consequently, major at-fault accidents are those with damages anywhere above $5000. This new threshold will particularly appeal to drivers who could have received surcharges for minor accidents like fender-benders. The point system remains the same, but your chances of getting a surcharge on minor accidents has been reduced.
If it is determined that you are more than 50% at fault you will receive a surcharge notice from the insurance carrier. Of course, you also retain the chance to appeal any decisions. Black ice, wet leaves, and solar glare, if present at the time of the accident, can be considered when determining if you were more than 50% at fault.
In MA it costs $50 to file an appeal and a hearing will be set to state your case, with the chance of having the surcharge overturned. This hearings typically take place at the registry of motor vehicle.
An independent agent can find you the best option for your auto insurance. Writing with multiple carriers allows an agent to maximize your insurance premium savings.
Have any questions about how the surcharge applies to your auto insurance policy?
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