A few observations (or, put more aptly, nagging questions) that I’ve come up with while planning for the move to Boston:

  • Why don’t most of the major car insurance companies provide policies in the state of Massachusetts? Part of me suspects that it’s a legislative thing, like maybe that the state rules make it hard to offer affordable insurance. The other, more realistic, part of me feels that it has to do with the absolutely freaking insane drivers of Boston, and the fact that carriers need to factor in the reasonable chance that the entire right side of your car will be demolished by one of them as he swerves down the shoulder at 100 miles an hour.
  • Is there a good way to find someone that I can pay to help me unload the truck when I get to Boston? Thanks to Alaina and Anil, I have people for this end (of course, I haven’t called or e-mailed them yet), but thinking about the flight of stairs at the other end has already made my back start hurting.
  • How likely is it that a single 15-foot truck is going to hold all my crap? I mean, I feel like my computer shit alone is gonna fill that puppy. (What, did you think that the MetaFilter server was small or something?)
  • Is there a cellphone provider that’s particularly good in Boston? One whose coverage is so bad that I’d be better served by a roll of quarters and a box of alcohol wipes to sterilize the payphone handsets? T-Mobile has decided to treat new customers better that current (eight-year veteran) customers, so I’m going to dump their service at the end of my contract next month; so far as I can tell, I can get good deals and great handsets through AT&T, but I have no clue if I’ll have reception worth a damn in the Brookline area.
  • Is there any chance whatsoever that I’ll just come home towards the end of June and find my entire apartment boxed up and ready to go? Do I have to actually participate in the process of making it so?

That’s just a little bit of what’s whizzing through my head as I enter full-on panic mode…

Postscript: Don’t even think about buying a car outside the state of Massachusetts and registering it in Massachusetts; it ain’t gonna happen. Ever. (Oh, and that was two hours of my life that I’d like back, please.)


Change your mind and move to Philly, I’ll help you unpack!

• Posted by: Michelle on May 27, 2003, 9:17 PM

Insurance: MA has got to be the worst state for auto insurance. My understanding was that it was legislation based on the crazy-ass drivers. ;^)

Mobile phone: I had good luck w/ AT&T while I was in Boston. Didn’t spend a ton of time in Brookline with that, however.

• Posted by: Jake on May 27, 2003, 9:49 PM

Call big D, he really is like renting a forklift. He is a genius at truck loading, full 3D tetris. You would need to get him back from Boston.

• Posted by: Phil on May 27, 2003, 9:59 PM

Michelle, you don’t want to come up to Boston for the weekend? Seriously? I can put you up, and it’s not like you don’t need to come up and see the place anyway… :)

• Posted by: Jason on May 28, 2003, 6:34 AM

Insurance: We are the only state in the country that has fully-regulated insurance rates. Meaning that any company who sells insurance in MA simply charges what the Commonwealth tells it to charge.

This, of course, means there can be no competetion among insurers based on price. When I moved to MA, my hometown insurer, USAA, told me to just go to a local agent and take whatever they gave me, as it’s all the same.

The purpose of this insane system is to keep insurance costs for city drivers down. Good for people in Boston (who might have to pay almost twice as much in an unregulated system) and too bad for the folks out in the Berkshires who subsidize my rates.

It’s a system that will likely remain for years to come because there are guaranteed profits for agents and insurers built into the system. (I once met a local insurance lobbyist whose full-time residence was the Four Seasons.)

When you move here, you’re in luck, because Stacy’s dad owns an insurance agency and he’ll set you up.

Car: You’re right. It’s a hassle, but your insurance agent does most of the legwork. (E.g. they have runners who take the stuff to and from the registry for you, etc.) So, if you buy a car in NY, just bring it up and meet with an insurance agent. They’ll do the rest.

Phone: I have Cingular; works as good as anything else, so far as I can tell.

Let me know if there’s anything I can do.

• Posted by: Steve Riden on May 28, 2003, 10:38 AM


On behalf of Jason, thank you. I know that all of your information will make him feel much better! (Not to mention the thanks we owe you for the whole apartment thing! :) )

• Posted by: shannon on May 28, 2003, 11:21 AM

hi jason -

i’m moving from SF to LA right now and i have a lot of the same questions as you do. why isn’t there some kind of web site where people review cell phone coverage? I’ve used epinions and letstalk.com, but they both seem spotty and crank-dominated.

here’s what may be good news: i found some folks to unload my (possibly too small 14ft) truck in LA through emove.com, which the emove people liken to e-bay for movers. it’s reasonably priced. it seemed to work for me, although i haven’t seen the results yet.

best of luck with your move,


• Posted by: holly on May 28, 2003, 1:49 PM

Why not just hire a moving company? Fully insured, no back breaking labor, no hassle with friends, and they know how to pack a truck.


• Posted by: Sam Greenfield on May 28, 2003, 3:40 PM

mobile phone: We’re on Verizon and it’s the best as far as I can tell as far as coverage is concerned. (Although figure it as a love-hate relationship with them - because I think they know this and their customer service sucks). AT&T was good - but coverage was spotty, and our entire town was in one of it’s “dead zones” :| BUT they do have a “trial” period - so you can try it in the areas you’ll most likely spend your time in - see if coverage is good and if not, get your money back. Welcome to MA :D

• Posted by: Jennifer on May 28, 2003, 5:39 PM

As far as finding someone to unload, post an odd-job ad at http://boston.craigslist.org/ … and if you’re moving in Cali, Holly, you’ve got many more craigslist choices than that.

• Posted by: Karl on May 29, 2003, 11:38 AM

I have AT&T and live in Brookline. I used to have a TDMA phone and it was fine everywhere except my apartment. I would have to stand by the window to make a call with it. Also, calls would cut off regularly. I just got a Nokia GSM phone from them and it works much better. I can actually make a call while sitting on my sofa. That said, I’ve heard Verizon had the best coverage around here, but they know it. You should really use the 30-day trial period to test the phone everywhere.

• Posted by: David Han on May 29, 2003, 4:23 PM

One thing that always surprises new car owners in Mass is the excise tax. This is a tax that your town asseses annually for the privilege of owning a car. It’s based on the value of the car ($15 per $1000 I think), so expect to be hit for a few hundred on the new Subaru the first year.

And speaking of towns… You do have a place to park Suzie, don’t you? Brookline doesn’t allow overnight street parking.

We use Verizon and are pretty happy with it. In Brookline you shouldn’t run across many dead spots no matter which carrier you choose.

The good news about Mass is that you’ll come to love it. It may take a dozen years, though.

• Posted by: Philip on May 30, 2003, 8:08 AM

I love Boston so much, I’m almost tempted to offer to fly up there just to help! Unfortunately, my current plans are to visit Boston in late July. As for cell phones - I absolutely LOVE my Sprint Sanyo 8100. Just in case you were looking for one with a camera built in.

• Posted by: Christine on Jun 1, 2003, 8:14 PM


Don’t worry, one of my fellowship applications is to a group in Boston. You will be expected to provide ample housing and entertainment for my time up there :)

• Posted by: Michelle on Jun 2, 2003, 8:39 PM


• Posted by: jenny on Jun 8, 2003, 4:32 AM

www.deadcellzones.com has a somewhat comprehensive review of major cell companies and their coverage nationwide.

• Posted by: jenny on Jun 8, 2003, 4:33 AM

www.deadcellzones.com has a somewhat comprehensive review of major cell companies and their coverage nationwide.

• Posted by: jenny on Jun 8, 2003, 4:33 AM

www.deadcellzones.com has a somewhat comprehensive review of major cell companies and their coverage nationwide.

• Posted by: jenny on Jun 8, 2003, 4:33 AM

www.deadcellzones.com has a somewhat comprehensive review of major cell companies and their coverage nationwide.

• Posted by: jenny on Jun 8, 2003, 4:34 AM

I’m getting mixed reviews about T-Mobile’s reception in the Boston area. They lock you in for 1 year, so if you don’t like it, you’re stuck.

• Posted by: Greg on Dec 12, 2003, 11:38 AM
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