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Understanding your auto insurance coverage

Auto insurance helps financially protect you and those you care about. Depending on the coverage options you select, your insurance can:

  • Pay for damage and repairs to your car in an accident.
  • Cover damage to another car or other property in an accident.
  • Cover medical expenses associated with an accident.
  • Pay for losses caused by underinsured or uninsured drivers.
  • Reimburse you for damages suffered because of vandalism, natural disasters or theft.
  • Pay for legal representation in case of an automobile-related lawsuit.

Auto insurance can seem confusing. But once you understand the different types of coverages that make up your policy, it’s not hard at all. 

Your car insurance is really made up of 12 distinct parts that divide into two categories: Compulsory Insurance and Optional Insurance. The first four parts are Compulsory coverages required by Massachusetts law. The other eight are Optional; however, they provide additional insurance protection.

A brief explanation of each coverage part is listed below.

compulsory (required) insurance:

bodily injury to others

This coverage pays for damages if you are legally responsible for an accident in Massachusetts injuring someone else other than guests in your auto. It also provides for legal defense and court costs.

personal injury protection

This is commonly known as “No-Fault” and provides benefits including medical expenses, lost wages, and replacement cost services. 

bodily injury caused by an uninsured auto

Pays damages for bodily injury resulting from certain accidents caused by uninsured autos or in a hit-and-run situation.

property damage

This coverage pays for damages to someone else whose auto or other property is damaged in an accident if you, a household member or someone using your auto with your consent is legally responsible. 

optional insurance:

optional bodily injury to others

Pays for damages to people injured or killed in an accident if you, a household member or someone else using your auto with your consent is legally responsible for the accident. Unlike the Compulsory part, this coverage does provide coverage for injuries to guest occupants and for accidents occurring outside of Massachusetts. 

medical payments

This coverage pays for reasonable expenses for necessary medical and funeral services to yourself and your passengers incurred as the result of an auto accident. It also covers expenses if you or a household member is struck by a vehicle or a passenger in another vehicle at the time of an accident.


This coverage pays for any direct and accidental damage to your auto caused by a collision regardless of fault. It also covers damage to other private passenger autos being used by you or a household member with the permission of the owner.

limited collision

This coverage will pay in some situations for direct and accidental damage to your auto caused by a collision. Coverage is only provided for multiple car accidents in which the driver of the auto we are covering was no more than 50% at fault.


This is not a substitute for Collision or Limited Collision. This will pay for direct and accidental damage to or loss of your auto in non-collision situations including vandalism, theft, fire, wind, hail, flood, hitting an animal and others. 

substitute transportation (rental reimbursement)

This coverage reimburses you for car rental costs, up to the limits shown on the Coverages Selections Page, in certain situations if your auto was in a collision and is being repaired or replaced.

towing and labor

This coverage pays for auto towing and labor due to a breakdown even if there isn’t an accident. Coverage is up to the limit shown on the declaration page,

bodily injury caused by an underinsured auto

This coverage pays for damages for bodily injury or death as the result of certain accidents caused by someone who does not have enough insurance.

NOTE: This information is only a general description of the available coverages and is not a statement of contract. All coverages are subject to all policy provisions and applicable endorsements. Some coverage may be subject to individual insureds meeting underwriting qualifications and to availability within a state. For further information contact a Murphy Insurance Agency Associate.