Forget the Pilgrims and the Boston Tea Party and the whole start of the American Revolution thing: The Bay State’s real notable contribution to history came back in 1927, when car insurance in Massachusetts became a requirement, marking the first time a state had ever mandated auto coverage in the U.S.
Still today, Massachusetts drivers are legendary, but not in a good way. They’re regarded as terrible drivers. Allstate has the proof in its “America’s Best Drivers Report,” which kicks three Massachusetts cities (Worcester, Boston and Springfield) to the worst for collisions among 200 cities nationwide.
But it’s not all bad news. On average, Massachusetts drivers will spend $1,118.59 a year for car insurance, only slightly more than the national average of $1,099.71. Personal driving record, mileage and years of driving experience will have a large impact on your insurance costs. Your location can also play a big role in determining your insurance premium. Drivers in areas with more people, traffic and higher car theft rates will likely face costlier insurance.
NerdWallet crunched the numbers to find out how much the average insurance premium in Massachusetts can range by location.
Location matters. Depending on where you live in Massachusetts, you could be paying $1,047.75 more for car insurance. Folks in Chelsea pay the most for car insurance at an average of $1,875.25 annually. In contrast, drivers in Nantucket and Greenfield pay the least at $827.50 a year.
Drivers in Suffolk County pay the most. Car owners living in Suffolk County can expect to pay $1,418.78 each year for car insurance, over $300 more than the average Massachusetts driver.
More people, higher costs. Higher car-theft rates and population density are linked to higher insurance premiums in Massachusetts.
According to FBI data, Massachusetts has 1.44 car thefts per 1,000 residents. Higher rates of car theft usually lead to more expensive insurance premiums. Chelsea has the highest average insurance premiums out of all Massachusetts locations and also experiences one of the highest car theft rates, at 4.98 thefts per 1,000 people. Seven out of the top 10 most expensive places for car insurance have higher-than-average car theft rates.
In contrast, nine locations in the top 10 cheapest places for car insurance, including Northborough and Maynard (both at No. 3) and Franklin (No. 7) have lower-than-average car theft rates.
Areas with high population density often suffer traffic congestion, which leads to crashes and in turn to higher insurance premiums. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 839.4 people per square mile in Massachusetts. Chelsea, which has the highest average insurance premium, has a population density of 15,901.6 people per square mile, nearly twice the state average. All of the locations that made our top 20 most expensive places for Massachusetts car insurance have higher-than-average population density.
On the other hand, car owners in areas like Greenfield, which has a population density of 814.7 people per square mile, enjoy the lowest insurance costs in the state.
Minimizing car insurance costs
The car you drive also has a big impact on your insurance premiums. Talk to your insurance carrier to find out which cars are cheaper to insure.
MORE: NerdWallet’s car insurance comparison tool.
Most expensive places for car insurance in Massachusetts
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Cheapest places for car insurance in Massachusetts
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To determine the average insurance premium increases, we retrieved quotes for two different driver profiles in Massachusetts locations with populations over 6,000: 27-year-old and 40-year-old men and women each driving a Toyota Camry and a Ford Escape. The 27-year-old profiles have a driver’s personal liability coverage limit of 30/60/10 and uninsured motorist coverage for the same amount. The 40-year-old profiles have a liability coverage limit of 100/300/100 and uninsured motorist coverage for the same amount. Both profiles have personal injury protection of $8,000 per person in an accident. All profiles have a comprehensive and collision deductible of $500.
We averaged premiums from the three cheapest carriers.
The estimated costs are for illustrative purposes only. Your own rates will be different.
Downtown Boston, Massachusetts, image via iStock.