According to a year-long study, drivers purchasing auto insurance during the winter time period in Massachusetts were more likely to pay more than if they bought their policies during summer months.
The study discovered that drivers could be shelling out as much as 20 percent more if the policies were purchased in March instead of in the summer.
The lowest price range was found from June to September. According to the most recent data available from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the average policy ran a Massachusetts driver an average of $1,011 in 2011. Compared to consumers who took out policies in July, these same policies could end up costing an average of $200 more if they were bought in March.
These seasonal differences in policy prices weren’t limited to Massachusetts—in fact, the price variations in the “Bay State” ranked as only the 15th largest across the country when compared to the other states. Hawaii came in first in the nation, with the largest difference, marking December as the cheapest month, which was a whopping 50 percent lower than March, the most expensive month.
Wyoming, the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania were next in line with wide variations. The states that registered the most constant prices throughout the year were South Dakota, Arkansas, and Utah.
The report examined data from the leading carriers in each state. Nationwide, the average difference between the most inexpensive and costliest month was 7.5 percent.
Companies are not prohibited from filing rate increases at any time during the year, however, they may make them effective beginning in January, resulting in steeper premiums during the first several months.
Other variables which may affect rates during the year:
- Changes in a state’s insurance laws
- Population shifts
- Extreme weather events (resulting in more accidents and claims)
The lesson for consumers: Shop around for your car insurance, get several rate quotes and be aware when choosing to buy your policy. Also, frequently check auto insurance prices throughout the year to ensure you are receiving the coverage and the price which is best for you.
Massachusetts Consumer Bill of Rights for Automobile Insurance
This informative guide for Massachusetts drivers is available from the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation. This is a summary of your rights for when you shop, purchase and own automobile insurance in Massachusetts’s new competitive marketplace.
Bill of Rights – At a Glance
- You have the right to purchase automobile insurance.
- You cannot be denied automobile insurance for unfairly discriminatory reasons.
- You cannot be denied automobile insurance based on your credit history.
- You have the right to know the basis for a company’s denial of your application for insurance.
You have the right to obtain automobile insurance even if an insurer declines to give you a policy.
- You have the right to seek the lowest prices available for automobile insurance in our market place
For detailed information, Massachusetts drivers can see the full Massachusetts Consumer Bill of Rights for Automobile Insurance
For a current list of all insurance companies offering auto insurance in Massachusetts, please visit the DOI’s website at www.mass.gov/doi.
Have you found that your insurance rates have changed with the weather? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below!