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Q

I received a $50 citation for an expired inspection sticker in Massachusetts. Until this, I had a perfect driving record and am a step 9 on the SDIP system. Will this citation cause a surcharge to my insurance rate or increase my SDIP points and if so for how long?


A

In Massachusetts driving with an expired inspection sticker can result in a $50 fine and an insurance surcharge according to the information we were able to find.

As you are probably aware beginning with policies effective on or after January 1, 2006, the Massachusetts SDIP converted from a "step" system to a "point" system. 

If you have at-fault accidents 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 traffic violation.

  • 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. If you disagree with the determination that you are at fault for an accident, you may appeal the surcharge to the Board of Appeals. For details, please read the appeals section on page 13.
  • 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. 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 schedule of surcharge points is as follows:

  • Major Traffic Violation (i.e. DUI) is 5 points
  • Major At-Fault Accident (claim over $2000) is 4 points
  • Minor At-Fault Accident (claim over $500 to $2000) is 3 points
  • Minor Traffic Violation (i.e. speeding) is 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. So if this was your first violation, since you had a perfect driving record, it would appear that you may have zero surcharge points assigned this time but will for any future traffic violations.

You can discuss this offense and the potential of a surcharge with your insurance agent. For a MA auto insurance quote follow this link. For more information on the insurance surcharge system in Massachusetts contact the Division of Insurance.


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