Massachusetts Safe Driver Insurance Plan explained
The Massachusetts Safe Driver Insurance Plan (SDIP) can be extremely complicated and confusing to understand. This is our basic introduction to how SDIP works, and how it will impact your insurance premiums.
The SDIP is a program created by state law that encourages safe driving with lower auto insurance premiums for drivers who do not cause accidents or commit traffic violations. It also ensures that high-risk drivers who do cause at fault accidents and have traffic violations pay a greater premium.
Types of surchargeable incidents:
- Accidents – 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.
- Traffic Violations – You also 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. *
The schedule of surcharge points is as follows:
|Major Traffic Violation (i.e., DUI)||5|
|Major At-Fault Accident (claim over $2,000)||4|
|Minor At-Fault Accident (claim over $500 to $2,000)||3|
|Minor Traffic Violation (i.e., speeding) *||2|
*No points will be assessed for the first non-criminal traffic violation; however, it will not be counted as an incident free year.
Many of our clients ask us how their new surcharge points will impact their insurance premium. There is no definitive answer to that until we have the policy. That being said, in our experience we have been able to approximate how much the impact will be. Generally speaking, surcharges cost about $100 per point. Again, this is not a hard and fast rule, simply what we’ve noticed in our agency experience.
Appealing an At-Fault Accident Surcharge
If you disagree with your insurer’s surcharge determination and believe that you are 50% or less at fault for the accident, you may appeal the surcharge to the Board of Appeals at the Division of Insurance. The filing fee for an appeal is $50. Appeals must be filed within 30 days of when you receive your Surcharge Notice. If you do not file your appeal within 30 days, you may lose your right to appeal the surcharge and the surcharge points will remain on your driving record.
Drivers with no at-fault accidents or moving violations will have zero surcharge points. Drivers with at least 5 years of clean driving receive a considerable discount. There are two “Safe Driver” discounts available:
|Excellent Driver Discount Plus||99||No accidents or violations in 6 years|
|Excellent Driver Discount||98||No accidents or violations in 5 years|
If you are curious as to how much savings you should expect, I can tell you that there is a 17% discount (only off parts 1, 2, 4 and 7 on your policy) for the Excellent Driver Discount Plus, and a 7% discount (only off parts 1, 2, 4 and 7 on your policy).
About the Author
Catie Smith is a Senior Client Service Manager at William Gallagher Associates (WGA) in the Private Client Group. She is responsible for managing high net worth accounts and helps design risk management programs for specialty clients. For more information on WGA’s Private Client Group, click here.