Safe Driver

Safe_driver_insurance_in_MA_Andrew_G_Gordon_IncWhat is the "Safe Driver Insurance Plan"?

The Safe Driver Insurance Plan (SDIP) is the Massachusetts program for reviewing your driving history. It rewards good drivers with lower premiums, and penalizes drivers with at-fault accidents, speeding tickets and other moving violations. There is a six year "look-back" period, so that any incidents that occurred more than six years ago won't affect your SDIP step. The best step (lowest premiums) is step 9.

I’ve just moved into the state, and I had a good record in my previous state. Does my good record transfer and will it affect my insurance costs?

Your record will transfer from many states if Massachusetts has established a reciprocity agreement with your prior state. If it hasn’t, you’ll need to obtain hard copy motor vehicle reports from your previous state to get credit. The difference between a good record and a "neutral" step are worth the trouble. If you had any incidents in your prior state, you’ll start in Massachusetts at a step 15 (neutral). If you're new to Massachusetts, simply contact our office for assistance in getting this information transferred properly. We've done it enough times for other 'newcomers', so we know how to get it done for you.

What’s a neutral step?

You start at rung, or step, 15 of the ladder. Step 15 is the neutral step, where you are neither penalized (surcharges begin at step 16), nor credited (step 14 is where you begin getting credits, or discounts). Every year you stay "incident-free" you go down one step. Since the look-back period is six years, the lowest you can be is step 9. (Starting at step 15, minus six years of incident free driving, 15 - 6 = 9). Lower step drivers qualify for state determined discounts plus additional discounts offered by all of our insurance companies.

Do accidents where I’m not considered at fault cost me any points?


Do comprehensive claims, such as glass, or vandalism, cost me any points?


I had a ticket last year. Will that cost me any points?

Actually, your first ticket does not result in points, but you won’t go down a step either, since you weren’t incident-free. After the first "free" ticket, they all count, at 2 points per ticket, or 5 for the big ones.

Other points are assessed:

2 points for a minor traffic violation (such as speeding).

3 points for a minor at-fault accident ("minor" means an insurance payment of $500 - $1,999 has been paid).

4 points for a major at fault accident (over $2,000 paid).

5 points for a major traffic violation (DUI, leaving the scene, vehicular homicide, etc.).

Determination of fault can be tricky, so getting good documentation after an accident is important. The company insuring the at-fault driver will ultimately pay most, or all of the damages from an accident; of course, the at-fault driver will get 3 or 4 points, as shown above, raising their insurance cost. For help in determining who's more than 50% at fault, visit the Standards of Fault link on our site.

Steps Summary (and what they cost):

Step 35: Highest step. Maximum cost up to 140% more for certain premiums.

Steps 16-35: Surcharge steps. Each surcharge step represents a 7.5% increase in Compulsory Bodily Injury (Part 1), Personal Injury Protection (Part 2) and Damage to Someone Else's Property (Part 4) and a 7% increase in Collision (Part 7).

Step 15: Starting or neutral step. No credit or surcharge. This is the starting step for all drivers. Your first minor motor vehicle traffic violation results in neither a surcharge, nor a credit.

Steps 10-14: Credit steps. Each credit step represents a 7.5% decrease in Compulsory Bodily Injury (Part 1), Personal Injury Protection (Part 2) and Damage to Someone Else's Property (Part 4) and a 7% decrease in Collision (Part 7).

Step 9: Best possible step. Maximum savings. Up to 45% off liability coverage and 42% off collision coverage, plus various insurance company discounts on all coverages.

For more information on auto insurance coverage descriptions, please view our auto coverages summary page.