When you’re driving your car, how many times do you leave the key in the ignition or the engine running if you’re not there? Never, right? So why do people leave the keys to their boats in the ignition, or leave their boat running while they go to grab fishing poles from their car?
What is the Danger?
If I’m wondering it, then thieves are wondering it as well. Boat theft is one of the most underrated forms of vehicular theft in the United States. But just because it’s underrated doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen frequently. Experts estimate that at least 1000 boats are stolen per month, less than half of which are recovered.
Here are some steps you can take to keep the harbor hooligans away from your beautiful boat:
Never leave the keys in your boat.
Keep your boat in a well guarded, well lit area – This one is common sense.
Consider investing in an emergency kill-switch or alarm for your boat – this is one of the most straightforward and effective ways to protect against boat theft.
Consider also prop locks and wheel locks.
Scratch your Driver’s license number in a hidden place (such as under the engine cover) – This will give the police a way to identify the boat as yours if stolen.
Have you considered damage to the frame of your car after a collision? It may surprise you to know that most cars today don’t actually have frames; most cars today use what is known as a ‘unibody,’ a technology that originated for use in aircraft design but was adopted by automobile companies in the late 20th century. The idea is that a strong exterior shell is more sturdy and impact-resistant than using an internal frame with structures around it.
However, what’s important with unibody design is that it must be repaired very meticulously to perform as well in a second crash. Any car manufacturer or engineer will tell you that you don’t want to be in a car that has incomplete structural repairs.
Improper chassis repairs can severely affect the drivability, tire wear, and structural performance of your car. Further, improper chassis repairs can prevent your airbags from deploying correctly. Get a second opinion after taking your car to an auto-body shop. Just because it looks good doesn’t mean it’s ready to head into battle again.
Learn more about your auto insurance options here.
Have you ever wondered how your car insurance rates are calculated? What affects that number on the bottom of the page? Here’s the answer:
What type of car you drive- some cars cost more to insure than others do. Your rate can be affected by how likely your car is to be stolen, its age, the cost of any future repairs, and how safe it is (or isn’t).
Your driving record- your driving record largely determines how well you drive (at least in the eyes of your insurance provider). The fewer incidents you’ve been involved in, the lower your premium will be. If you have a slew of accidents and driving violations on your road resume, expect to pay significantly more than if you have a clean record.
Where you live- Outside of your own driving ability, some areas are simply safer to drive in than others, both in terms of crime and accident statistics. Your rate can vary depending upon where you garage your car as well.
The number of miles you drive each year- Statistics says by the law of large numbers that the probability of an accident increases with the amount that you drive. Therefore expect a higher rate if you put hefty mileage onto your vehicle each year.
Your age- Young drivers (especially males) will have to pay augmented rates. Generally insurance providers divide the “steps” into drivers who have been on the road for under three years, three to six years, and more than six years.
Your credit- for many insurance providers, your credit score can have an impact on your insurance rates.
Coverage- like any other insurance rate, the price is partially determined by the coverage you already have. Make sure you shop around and get the best possible price for the coverage you need.
Many of our clients call us to let us know that they are getting a new car. At some point we’ll ask if they are trading in a car &/or transferring plates from that car to the new one. Some clients mention that they plan to transfer their plates from the old car to the new car but that they will try to sell their old car on their own. We always tell clients that if they are still in possession of the old car and trying to sell it, to get new plates for the new car. This allows the old car to remain registered and insured so that prospective buyers can take it for a test drive. And wouldn’t you rather have new, shiny plates on your new car anyhow!
Once you sell the old car, the plates will need to be cancelled with the Registry. You can do this one of three ways. On-line with the RMV: https://secure.rmv.state.ma.us/platereturn/intro.aspx; turn them in at a local Registry office or bring them to our office and we can cancel them for you. If you cancel them on your own, be sure to let us know when you do this so that we can then remove the car from your policy the day after the plates are cancelled. The Registry will give you a Plate Return Receipt when you cancel your plates and you can use that to file for a rebate on your excise tax (if you no longer have the car) and a rebate on your registration fee (if you qualify).
It is important to remember that you must have at least one of the old plates in your possession to go through the process online. Otherwise, if your plates have been lost, or even stolen, during the vehicle transfer, you must fill out an Affidavit for Cancellation of Registration for Lost Plate(s).
There are also more than a dozen different options for vanity plates in Massachusetts; these cover themes ranging from New England sports team to cancer research funds to the state's rich ecology. Additionally, specialized plates are available for veterans, ex-POWs, and recipients of various military honors. Visit http://www.dmv.org/ma-massachusetts/license-plates.php to find out more!
It's that time of year again. The grass is growing, the buds have burst out into full-fledged leaves, and motorcycles are on the roads again. As an avid motorcycle passenger myself, I am asking that everybody “check twice”.
I know, we have all heard it and seen signs and bumper stickers. But we all really need to remember to practice that extra safety step. Please take your time and look twice (or maybe even three times) before you pull out or change lanes. It is very often hard to see something depending on your car’s blind spots, other traffic, or even something you have no control over like the bright sunshine. Most motorcycles travel with their lights on all the time which does help, but nothing is failsafe.
Also, while on the lookout for motorcycles, please be aware of bicycles on the road. Bicycles without a motor make less noise and can go even more unnoticed that motorcycles.
The weather is getting wonderful, more people are outside, so let’s try to keep everybody safe!
If you would like to get some free bumper stickers, click here. These stickers are free, so there's no reason you shouldn't get one for yourself, your family, and your friends to have. You can also order yard signs and help resonate the message even further by clicking here.
We would be glad to get you a quote. You can call us at 781-659-2262 or click the button below and someone will get back to you. We'll quote you for free; we just want you to have the most adequate insurance for your personal needs.
Let’s all have a fun and safe spring! Learn about motorcycle insurance here.
“To file or not to file a claim?” That is the question. But fear not, there is a surprising option to consider if you are involved in a single vehicle accident.
Filing an auto insurance claim
Filing an auto insurance claim is a conundrum for many drivers as the resulting premium surcharge may equal or exceed the cost of the repairs to their vehicle. A typical example is when someone backing out of his/her garage scrapes and/or dents the side of the vehicle. They discover they are faced with a $1800 auto body shop repair bill.
Faced with a large repair bill, the driver typically calls his/her agent to explore filing an auto insurance claim.
What filing a claim could do
At our agency, we explain that the collision damage will be covered after the deductible, which is commonly a $500 deductible. However, the driver will be surcharged 3 points under the current Massachusetts Safe Driver Insurance Plan. For a driver with an excellent driving record of 99, this means he/she loses the excellent driving credit, plus the addition of 3 surcharge points. Each point averages $150. It can easily cost between $450-600 in surcharge a year for up to 6 years under the current state guidelines for a $1800 repair.
You can see this is not an appealing solution for the driver. He/she still incurs out of pocket expenses, and he/she will be surcharged for a number of years However, sometimes drivers cannot afford the out of pocket repairs and will opt to file the claim and pay the resulting surcharge. Drivers may appeal a surcharge after it is issued. We have seen a good percentage of drivers with good driving records be successful with this appeal, but there is no guarantee.
There is one unexpected option to consider if you find yourself in this situation. If you are nearing the point that you are considering trading in your vehicle, it may be a good time to stop at your local auto dealer for a quote. In recent months, I’ve suggested this to several customers trying to avoid a costly surcharge. The majority of these cases were stunned to learn that they could still get an excellent trade-in on the vehicle even with the damage. They opted for the trade. It was a win-win situation. The customers avoided a costly surcharge and/or out-of-pocket repair expenses, and they drove off in a newer model vehicle with attractive financing.
The success stories with successful trade-ins were with vehicles that were well-taken care of, and many of the vehicles were serviced by the dealer. Of course, a trade-in may not always work in the driver’s favor, but the option is certainly worth keeping in mind.
You’ve just had a fender bender and then find out your insurance company won’t go to bat for you to avoid the dreaded ‘at-fault’ tag for the accident. Aren’t they supposed to? Isn’t that what you’d expect from a risk partner?
Yes, they are.
In fact, it’s always in your insurance company’s interest to have the other driver considered at-fault. And having your financial interests and the insurance company’s financial interests both trying to find the other driver at-fault is the best alignment possible.
Here’s why your interests align:
The insurance company for the at-fault driver ends up paying most or all of the cost of the accident. That’s a big incentive. If you’re at-fault, they’ll pay your collision AND the repairs to the other driver’s car, even when the other driver goes through his own insurance. (This is a process known as subrogation, where the non-at-fault company gets paid after the fact by the at-fault driver’s company).
So why don’t they fight harder?
In short, legal reality. Massachusetts traffic law has been litigated and argued for about a hundred years. That’s a lot of case law. And even the most skilled lawyering can’t get you ‘not at-fault’ if the case law is against you (excepting documented extenuating circumstances).
Massachusetts traffic law has been summarized in the “Standard of Fault”. Distilled down to the very basics, the at-fault driver was usually in one of these situations:
Not yielding to oncoming traffic
-Crossing traffic to turn left
-entering a main road from a side road
Hitting someone in the rear
–not stopping in time
While in reverse
It’s always good to get fresh information at the accident, to avoid ‘description drift’. See our tips on right after an accident to understand how to protect your interests. Or call us at 800-649-3252. Learn more about auto insurance here.
Looking into buying a new car? Debating between the reliable mini-van or that indulgent sports car? If insurance factors into your budget, keep in mind the type of car you drive will affect how much your insurance costs.
So if you’re looking to go the sports car route, you might want to think twice. The way those cars are driven and who’s driving them statistically produces more accidents. Therefore, it makes sense that companies would charge more if there is greater risk.
Top 10 least expensive cars to insure
1. Toyota Sienna LE
6. Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Regular Cab
2. Toyota Sienna 4 cyl
7. Dodge Grand Caravan SXT
3. Jeep Patriot Sport
8. Ford Escape XLS
4. Jeep Compass Sport
9. Toyota Sienna 6 cyl
5. GMC Sierra K1500 Regular Cab
10. Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Extended Cab
The converse is also true. People who drive safe, reliable family vehicles are more likely not to get into an accident; therefore, not costing the companies replacement prices. So what are the reasons these cars are placed in their own category above? Safety, top speed, anti-theft, and cost all factor into the bill you’re sent.
Performance: how can it drive on the autobahn?
Engine size is a large factor in insurance price. If you can produce 1.21 gigawatts (the equivalent of a bolt of lightning according to Back to the Future) you may be able to travel in time, but it will cost you more on your insurance.
How many miles your car logged just getting to the dealership can adversely affect your costs. Foreign/ exotic parts are harder to come by and therefore more expensive should you need them.
Is Bigger Better?
Not necessarily. You’re not always safer in a larger vehicle. Rollover rates and other inherent safety flaws exist within SUVs and trucks. Even if the SUV is safer than an alternative, large vehicle still cause more damage in accidents, leading to higher liability coverage rates.
A fast performing, poorly protected auto in a parking lot is more likely to catch someones eye if they're in the market for a free vehicle. Since that type of car is more desirable to thieves, they will cost more to protect on your insurance.
Cars involved in routine and safe driving will be less money on your insurance. Insurance is a game of numbers and those "soccer mom" vehicles are in less accidents statistically.
“Remember: insurance companies play a game of numbers; if your car is going to cost more to replace, then you’re going to pay more for it. With that in mind, go forth and buy the right car for you and your insurer.”- Corbin Foucart
The weather is getting nicer which means there are more people out on the road driving, walking, running, riding… We have many equestrians in our area and most drivers seem to be courteous when approaching them on the road. Unfortunately, there are fewer trails around than there were 20 years ago which translates to equestrians having to use the roads more to reach a trail. Please use caution when passing a horse since they can spook easily. Here is a section from the Massachusetts Drivers Manual for guidance.
Always give the right-of-way to an animal that someone is leading, riding, or driving. Animals are easily scared by motor vehicles. When you get near an animal or horse-drawn vehicle, be careful and do the following.
• Slow down.
• Stop if the animal or vehicle is coming toward you or is crossing your path. Allow the animal to pass.
• If the animal or vehicle is traveling in the same direction as you, allow plenty of room for passing safely. Drive at a reasonable speed.
• Do not honk your horn or make a loud noise.
• If the animal you are passing looks scared, you must pull your vehicle to the side and stop.
• Proceed only when it is safe.
• You must stop if a rider or driver signals you to do so.
The law applies to horses, cows, and any other draft animals.
In rural areas, take extra care when passing hay rides. These are usually animal drawn and full of passengers.
Although the arrival of fall has pushed many riders to put their bikes away, there are still a few motorcycles out on the roads. Here are some tips for sharing the road with our fellow drivers of the two-wheeled variety:
Because of their small size relative to cars, motorcycles look much farther away than they actually are. When at an intersection or when being passed by a motorcycle, assume that the motorcycle is closer than it looks.
Also because of their size, motorcycles can be completely hidden in blind spots. Check both blind spots thoroughly when switching lanes. Motorcycles can also be obscured by other moving objects, especially SUVs.
Motorcycles commonly slow down by downshifting rather than using the break. Therefore a motorcycle may slow down without its break lights coming on. Allow extra following space when behind a motorcycles to account for this.
Unlike cars, motorcycles do not have self-cancelling turn signals; sometimes a rider’s signal will remain on even when they are not making a turn. Keep this in mind and be patient (especially with young, less experienced riders)
Although portrayed differently in action movies, motorcycles can not stop “on a dime”. In fact, in poor weather conditions, motorcycles generally take longer to stop than cars, as it is easy to lose control with only two wheels. Never tailgate a motorcycle, even on town roads.
Before you use your car’s spray-clean feature to clean your windshield on the road, check to see if there is a motorcyclist behind you. They will not appreciate suddenly entering a rainstorm of dirty windshield fluid that will form behind your car.