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Auto Insurance FAQs 

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What is the Safe Driver Insurance Plan?
What is a Surcharge?
What is an At-Fault Accident?
What is Considered a Traffic Violation?
How Can I Improve Driver Safety?


What is the Safe Driver Insurance Plan?

The Safe Driver Insurance Plan (SDIP) is a program mandated 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.

What is a Surcharge?

You incur surcharge points if you:

  • Cause an at-fault accident, or are
  • Convicted of, or pay a fine for a traffic law violation, or are assigned to an alcohol education program

What is an At-Fault Accident?

You incur surcharge points if you are more than 50% at fault for an accident. You incur three surcharge points for Minor At-Fault Accidents. A claim payment of over $500 up to and including $2,000 for Collision or Damage to Someone Else's Property is considered a Minor At-Fault Accident. If the claim payment is over $2,000, it is a Major At-Fault Accident.

What is Considered a Traffic Violation?

If you are convicted, and/or pay a fine for violating certain motor vehicle laws in MA or out-of-state, or you are required to participate in an alcohol education program, the court will notify the Merit Rating Board. The violation and surcharge points will be added to your driving record. Minor traffic violations include infractions such as: speeding, operating a vehicle without a valid inspection sticker and failure to obey traffic lights. Some examples of major traffic violations include operating under the influence of liquor or narcotics, leaving the scene of an accident and refusing to stop for a police officer. If you disagree with a traffic violation, you must appeal it through the court system, as indicated on the back of the citation violation. Traffic violations cannot be appealed to the Division of Insurance Board of Appeal or the Merit Rating Board.

How Can I Improve Driver Safety?

A new driver can send a parent's stress-level soaring. So let's focus on ways to control a young driver's impact on your peace of mind.

  • Consider a course in defensive driving as a tool for avoiding accidents and increasing confidence
  • Require your young driver to understand, sign and comply with the Youthful Operator Driver Safety Agreement
  • Be a role model by using seat belts and never using alcohol or drugs
  • Provide a well-maintained vehicle, equipped with safety devices such as air bags and anti-lock brakes
  • Avoid vehicles that are vulnerable to serious damage during collisions or to "rolling over"
  • Control your child's driving privileges...don't hesitate to curtail or revoke them
  • Set high driving standards and test your young driver
  • Be certain they can properly pass vehicles, maintain a correct distance, park, merge and exit, change lanes, make turns, obey speed limits and be aware of pedestrians
  • Make sure your child understands traffic laws and has a respect for the power of a car
  • Don't let your child become licensed until he or she passes YOUR driving test which must include the ability to drive under adverse conditions (dark, fog, rain, ice, snow, rush-hour traffic, etc.)

Talk to us about other strategies to keep your new driver safer.


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