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Q

How long will an accident stay on my record in Massachusetts? The damage was over $500, so it was deemed a major accident. When can I expect to see these points off?


A

Starting with auto insurance policies effective on or after January 1, 2006, the Massachusetts' Safe Driver Insurance Plan (SDIP) converted from being a step system to a point system. This change makes the system of discounts and surcharges easier to understand and comparable to what is in place in other states.

With this new system, if you have at-fault accidents or traffic violations on your driving record you will accumulate surcharge points, depending on the nature of the incident. For accidents a driver can receive surcharge pints if you are more than 50% at-fault that results in damage to property or bodily injury of more than $500, which your accident was.

A minor at-fault accident is considered a claim over $500 but under $2000 and is worth 3 surcharge points. A major At-Fault Accident is a claim over $2,000 and is worth 4 surcharge points. Insurers determine if a driver is more than 50% at fault by applying Standards of Fault. For example drivers are presumed to be more than 50% at fault when operating a vehicle which collides with the rear section of another vehicle.

If your insurance company determines that you are at fault for an accident, you should receive a surcharge notice. If you have no more than 3 surchargeable incidents over the last 5 years, the point value for each of those incidents will go down by 1 when you have 3 years of incident free driving. So for many drivers, 3 years of safe, clean driving could lead to reductions in surcharges.

For more information on the MA points system contact Division of Insurance.

As for your driving record, the MA driver's manual states that any at-fault accidents charged to you will be listed on your driving record with any motor vehicle violations you committed and will count toward possible license suspension. It does not say how long the offense will stay on your record so to find out contact the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV).


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