What is the NC Safe Driver Incentive Plan and Insurance Points?
The North Carolina Safe Driver Incentive Plan (SDIP) is one of several state funded programs that are devoted to preventing motorists from violating traffic laws by instilling harsh punishments for those that do. Created by the General Assembly in 1957, this program assigns points to a person’s driving record for being convicted of certain offenses, which may then affect how much a person pays for automobile policies. Coverage providers are then permitted to increase premium prices up to a specific amount, depending on the number of points that the motorist has accumulated.
Motorists can receive points for multiple reasons, with more points given to those with more serious convictions. This means that a vehicle owner with various car related convictions could end up paying up to 400% more for North Carolina auto insurance than drivers with clean records. For example, speeding 10 mph or less in an area with a speed limit of 55 mph may result in a single point; reckless driving or passing a stopped school bus may result in 4 points; and driving while impaired is likely to amount to 12 points. These SDIP points are likely to remain on an individual’s record for a period of three years and are likely to make low cost car insurance difficult to find because of the rate increases associated with poor driving.
These points then correlate with a specific percentage that insurers may raise a motorist’s rate. This can range from 25% for one point, to 340% for 12 points. The effect that SDIP points may have on a driver’s coverage prices, however, can be fairly severe. In 2008, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) estimated that the average expenditure in the Tar Heel State to be roughly $595, which is a relatively small amount in comparison to the rest of the nation. Obtaining points, however, can quickly increase this amount. Based on the estimated average expenditure, a motorist with 4 points, for example, may receive an 80% rate increase amounting to $1,071; 8 points could lead to a 190% increase, and a premium of roughly $1,725; 12 points may even lead to a rate increase of 340% and a premium of $2,618.
To avoid these potentially costly rate increases, residents of the Tar Heel State are urged to obey traffic laws and strive to either remain or become exceptional motorists. Maintaining a clean driving record may also lead to a good driver discount from one’s coverage provider. Although low priced automobile coverage may be difficult to locate for a person with multiple points on their driving record, motorists can still complete an auto insurance comparison to assist in finding an insurer with the lowest available rates. By completing an online quote comparison a motorist can usually amass estimates from potentially dozens of insurers in a matter of minutes, which in turn can help a vehicle owner locate an adequately priced plan.