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Massachusetts Auto Surcharge and how the system works???

Purpose of the Massachusetts Safe Driver Insurance Plan

The Safe Driver Insurance Plan (SDIP) encourages safe driving by providing incentives to drivers with clean driving records and ensuring that drivers who collect surcharge points pay more for auto insurance.

If your insurer uses the SDIP, you have an Operator SDIP Rating. Any surchargeable incidents with surcharge dates that fall within your 6-year policy experience period are subject to surcharge points. Your SDIP Rating is the last factor used by your insurer to adjust the premium of your policy.

Four insurance coverages are subject to the SDIP premium adjustment:

Compulsory coverages Bodily Injury to Others (Part 1)
Personal Injury Protection (Part 2)

Damage to Someone Else's Property (Part 4)
Optional coverage Collision (Part 7)

For more information on the four parts of coverage on a Massachusetts private passenger auto insurance policy impacted by the SDIP, go to Insurance Coverages Impacted by SDIP.

Compute Your Operator SDIP Rating

The Safe Driver Insurance Plan is a point-based system. Each operator is assigned an Operator SDIP Rating based on the operator's driving history record within the 6-year policy experience period.

Operator Surcharge Point Range: 00 through 45
An operator's SDIP Rating is the sum of the surcharge points of the surchargeable incidents in the operator's 6-year policy experience period.

The total number of surcharge points is 00 if there are no surchargeable incidents in the 6-year policy experience period, unless the operator is eligible for one of the following discounts:

Excellent Driver Discount Plus: Credit Code (99)
This discount is for operators who have been licensed and incident-free for 6 or more years.

Excellent Driver Discount: Credit Code (98)
This discount is for operators who have been licensed and incident-free during the most recent 5 years.

An operator may be eligible for the Excellent Driver Discount (98) with one surchargeable incident. Learn more in SDIP Incentives and Your Policy.

An incident-free year is a year in which your driving record contains no surchargeable incidents. This is different from a year that contains no surcharge points. For example, you may have a year with a surchargeable incident, but there are no surcharge points assigned to this incident because an SDIP incentive or forgiveness factor applies.

For the purposes of the SDIP, you are considered an experienced operator if you have been actively licensed for the 6-year period immediately preceding your policy effective date. Experienced operators with clean driving records benefit from SDIP incentives. To learn more about SDIP incentives, go to SDIP Incentives and Your Policy.

Premium Adjustment Charts
If you have a valid driver's license and 6 years or more of driving experience, visit the Premium Adjustment Chart for Experienced Operators section.

If you have fewer than 6 years of driving experience, visit the Premium Adjustment Chart for Inexperienced Operators section.

Value of Surcharge Points Assigned to Surchargeable Incidents
The number of surcharge points assigned to each surchargeable incident is determined by the incident classification defined in the Safe Driver Insurance Plan:

Minor Traffic Law Violation..............
2 points
Minor At-Fault Accident.................. 3 points
Major At-Fault Accident.................. 4 points
Major Traffic Law Violation.............. 5 points

Policy Effective Date
Most private passenger auto insurance policies are written (or renewed) for a 12-month period. The policy effective date refers to the date on which your policy takes effect.

Policy Experience Period
The experience period of a policy is the 6-year period that immediately precedes the policy's effective date.
In this example, January 1, 2010, is the policy effective date:

Chart showing policy experience period beginning on 01/01/2004 for a policy with effective date 01/01/10

Note: Year 6 in the policy experience period is referred to as the oldest year.

Surcharge points are applied to only surchargeable incidents that fall within the policy experience period. No surcharge points are assigned to any surchargeable incident in the sixth (oldest) year of the policy experience period. The surcharge date, not the incident date, determines if the incident falls within the experience period.

Surcharge Date
The surcharge date of a surchargeable incident is the date used to determine
if the incident falls within the 6-year policy experience period. The surcharge date
is not the incident date. It is:
  • the date of notice entered by an insurer on the at-fault accident Surcharge Notice,
  • the disposition (judgment) date entered by a court on a citation for a traffic law violation,
  • the date the Registry of Motor Vehicles applies the payment of the fine assessed for a civil traffic law violation,
  • the fine payment default date, or
  • the conviction date of an out-of-state incident from an out-of-state driving record

Multiple Surchargeable Incidents
When an operator has two or more surchargeable incidents that resulted from the same incident, only one incident is assigned surcharge points. The incident with the highest surcharge point value is assigned surcharge points. The remaining surchargeable incidents will be assigned 0 (zero) points.

For example, assume you were involved in a major at-fault accident
(4 surcharge points). At the same time, you also received a citation for violating a minor surchargeable traffic law (2 surcharge points). Both incidents are added to your driving record. The incident with the highest value-in this case, the major at-fault accident-is assigned surcharge points.

Incident Count
Incident count refers to the number of surchargeable incidents. Even though surcharge points may not be assigned to a surchargeable incident, the incident is still counted when determining an operator's eligibility for these incentives:
  • Excellent Driver Discount - 5-Year Credit with 1 incident
  • Surcharge Points Reduced by 1 - "Clean in 3" Provision
Incident count for traffic law violations
  • Any citation that contains 1 or more traffic law violations is counted as 1 surchargeable incident if at least 1 of the violations on the citation is surchargeable.
  • Two separate citations that occur on the same date, and in the same location, are counted as 2 surchargeable incidents if at least 1 traffic law violation on each citation is surchargeable.
  • A citation is counted as a separate incident even if it is assigned 0 (zero) surcharge points because the citation occurred on the same incident date and in the same location as an at-fault accident.
Incident count for at-fault accidents
  • Each at-fault accident is counted as 1 surchargeable incident.
  • An at-fault accident is counted as a separate incident even if it is assigned 0 (zero) surcharge points because it occurred on the same incident date and in the same location as a major traffic law violation.
Out-of-state incidents
Each out-of-state incident (traffic law violation or at-fault accident) is counted as one surchargeable incident.

Assignment of Operators to Vehicles
The assignment of operator SDIP points to insured vehicles is made in accordance with the provisions of Rule 28 of the Massachusetts Private Passenger Automobile Insurance Manual. The following are general guidelines. If you have questions about your specific policy, contact your insurer.

If only one operator is listed on the policy, all automobiles on the policy will be assigned the same principal operator classification and SDIP surcharge points or discounts.

When there is more than one operator listed on the policy, drivers with the highest combined operator classification and SDIP points shall be assigned to the auto with the highest base premium. Each remaining operator listed on the policy shall be assigned in the order of the highest combined operator classification and SDIP points to the remaining autos with the highest base premium until all operators are assigned to an auto.

If you have further questions about the Safe Driver Insurance Plan, you can reach a Customer Service Representative at the Merit Rating Board any weekday from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM by calling 857-368-8100. Or always feel free to call us at our office  800-550 INSURE (4678).

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