The Safe Driver Insurance Plan (SDIP) is a program created by state law that encourages safe driving by rewarding drivers who do not cause an accident, or incur a traffic law violation and by making sure that high-risk drivers pay a greater share of insurance costs. The SDIP premium adjustment is the last step in the rating process after all discounts and rating factors have been applied.
Beginning with policies effective on or after January 1, 2006, the Massachusetts SDOP is converting from a “Step” to a “Point” system. This change will make the system of discounts and surcharges easier to understand and comparable to what is in place in other states. More importantly, drivers in Massachusetts will have even greater control over their premium through safe driving
Your Driving Record Affects Your Point Value, Which Determines Your Rates
If you’re a good driver you will save money with significant discounts. If you have an at-fault accident or commit traffic violations, your driving record will accumulate surcharge “points” depending on the nature of the incident. You accumulate surcharge points if you are responsible for an accident or commit a any type of traffic violation.
- Start At 0: Drivers with no at-fault accidents or moving violations will have zero (0) surcharge points.
- 5 Years Safe Lowers Points: Drivers with a least 5 years of clean and safe driving will receive a considerable discount on their annual rates.
- Accidents Will Add: You receive surcharge points if you are more than 50% at-fault for a motor vehicle accident that results in damage to property or bodily injury of more than $500. If you disagree with the determination that you are at fault for an accident, you may appeal the surcharge to the Board of Appeals.
- Traffic Violations Cost You: You’ll receive surcharge points if you are convicted of, or pay a fine for a traffic violation; or are assigned to a drug or alcohol education program. If you disagree with a traffic violation you must appeal it through the court system. Traffic violations cannot be appealed to the division of Insurance Board of Appeals or the Merit Rating Board.
The Surcharge Point Values Per Incident Are As Follows
- Major Traffic Violation (i.e. DUI) 5 points
- Major At-Fault Accident (Claim over $2000) 4 points
- Minor At-Fault Accident (Claim over $500 up to $2000) 3 points
- Minor Traffic Violation (i.e., speeding, no inspection sticker) 2 points
No surcharge points are assigned to the first non-criminal minor traffic violation in the 5 years immediately preceding the effective date of your policy.
Surcharge Points Cost You Money And Increase Your Premiums
The more points you have, the higher your premium. Points can accumulate quickly and each new incident increases the number of points on your record. Each point increases the premium paid for 4 coverages in your policy:
- Part 1 – Compulsory Injury
- Part 2 – Personal Injury Protection
- Part 4 – Property Damage
- Part 7 – Collision
Each point accumulated is 15% of the above coverages. If you are an inexperience operator (licensed less than 6 years) each point is 7.5% of the above coverages. The total number of points you can accumulate are 45.
As you can see, your premium will increase dramatically if you have accidents or moving violations. On the contrary, you will receive a discount if you are considered:
- an Excellent Driver (no incidents in the last 5 years) with a point of 98
- an Excellent Driver Plus (no incidents in the last 6 years) with a point of 99.
Options For Operators New To Massachusetts
The SDIP system allows drivers new to Massachusetts to get credit for their safe driving in other jurisdictions. If a driver new to Massachusetts was licensed in another state or country within the last 6 years, the driver will initially have zero “0” SDIP surcharge points. However, the new driver will not be eligible for any safe driving discounts.
If a new driver’s Motor Vehicle Report (MVR) is electronically available, the insurer will be responsible for obtaining it from the state or country where the driver was previously licensed. If an MVR is not electronically available, the driver can obtain an officail driving record or a record from a previous insurer and submit it to the current insurer.