Recently I overheard someone ask why their driving record would affect their insurance premium. I asked my co-worker, Matt Boyle, to conjure up a relatively easy to understand answer for you.
Everyone in the State of Massachusetts is part of The Safe Driver Insurance Plan (or SDIP for short). This works on a 0-45 point system where you are graded by the Merit Rating Board, a state agency that maintains driving records (not your insurance company or agency). Points are determined by the number of violations or accidents on your driving record. The more points you accumulate, the higher your insurance premium will be. Each company determines the maximum number of points they will allow. If you exceed that number then you will have to be placed with another carrier, or in some cases will be assigned to MAIP (Massachusetts Auto Insurance Plan) that carries higher rates.
Any points you receive stay on your driving record for a period of 6 years. For every year these points remain on your record, you will receive a surcharge on top of your premium, increasing your insurance cost. The good news is that if you maintain a clean driving record for 3 years one point will be dropped. If however, you continue tohave violations, you will receive a surcharge for each of the 6 years the points remain on your record.
Here is a how points are assigned:
- Moving Violations 2 Points ( Speeding Ticket, Unregistered Vehicle, No Inspection Sticker, unrestrained passengers Etc…)
- Minor accident 3 Points ( Minor accident $501 or more paid out in a claim but under $2000 in total damage)
- Major Accident 4 Points ($2001 or more paid out in a claim)
- Major Violation 5 Points ( Typically a DWI, driving to endanger, or vehicular homicide)
In addition to looking at your points, the insurance carriers look at your driving experience. The highest rates are reserved for drivers with 0-3 years of driving experience. In the state of MA newly licensed operators have much higher insurance premiums. As they become more experienced their rates drop. Once you reach 3-6 years of experience your rates drop a little more and finally at the 6 year mark you will receive your experienced driver rates. Beyond this, people over the age of 65 are eligible for the mature driver credit.