Understanding How Insurance Points Work In North Carolina

Speeding Tickets in MecklenburgAs mentioned in the article Driver’s License Points, there are two separate point systems that are equally important to understand for North Carolina drivers charged with a speeding offense or traffic violation. This article will address the second of these point systems, insurance points.

Insurance Points

The North Carolina Department of Insurance regulates how much an auto insurance company can charge for auto insurance. This is primarily done through the North Carolina Safe Driver Incentive Plan (SDIP), which was created by state law (See N.C.G.S. 58-36-65 and N.C.G.S. 58-36-75) to give drivers a financial incentive to practice safe driving habits. Similar to accumulating driver’s license points, a driver may also accumulate points under the SDIP based on convictions of traffic violations and at-fault accidents. As seen in the chart below, drivers who accumulate points will see a substantial increase in their insurance rate.

(a) SDIP Points Based on Convictions

Unlike driver’s license points, if a driver is convicted of more than one traffic violation arising from the same incident, they may receive SDIP points for each violation. SDIP points are charged as follows for convictions of the mentioned traffic violations.

SDIP Points

Conviction Points

% of Rate Increase

1

Speeding 10 mph or less over a speed limit under 55 mph;
All other moving violations

30%

2

Illegal passing;
Following too closely;
Driving on wrong side of the road;
Speeding more than 10 mph over the speed limit at a total speed of more than 55 mph and less than 76 mph;
Speeding 10 mph or less over the speed limit in a speed zone of 55 mph or higher

45%

4

Reckless driving;
Hit-and-run resulting in property damage only;
Passing a stopped school bus;
Speeding in excess of 75 mph when the speed limit is less than 70 mph;
Speeding in excess of 80 mph when the speed limit is 70 mph or higher;
Driving by a person less than age 21 after consuming alcohol or drugs

80%

8

Driving during revocation or suspension of license or registration;
Aggressive driving

195%

10

Highway racing or knowingly lending a motor vehicle for highway racing;
Speeding to elude arrest

260%

12

Manslaughter or negligent homicide;
Prearranged highway racing or knowingly lending a motor vehicle for prearranged highway racing;
Hit-and-run resulting in bodily injury or death;
Driving with a blood-alcohol level of .08 or more;
Driving commercial vehicle with a blood-alcohol level of .04 or more;
Driving while impaired;
Transporting illegal intoxicating liquor for sale

340%

Exceptions: No SDIP Points will be charged in the following scenarios:

1.     A conviction for speeding 10 mph or less over the posted speed limit if:

o    The violation did not occur in a school zone; and

o    There is not another moving traffic violation for the experience period

Note: Experience Period = Three-year period preceding either the date an individual applies for coverage or the insurance company prepares to renew an existing policy.

2.     An isolated Prayer for Judgement Continued (PJC) during the experience period.

Note: A second PJC within the experience period will cause the first conviction's SDIP points to go into effect, along with the SDIP points from the new PJC

(b) SDIP Points Based on Accidents

In the event an insured is at fault in an accident and is convicted of a moving traffic violation in connection with the accident, only the higher total of points between the accident and the conviction shall be assessed on the policy. SDIP points are charged as follows for at-fault accidents.

SDIP Points

At-Fault Accident Points

% of Rate Increase

1

At-fault accident resulting in bodily injury (to all persons) of $1,800 or less; OR resulting in property damage (including damage to insured’s own property) of $1,800 or less. No Insurance Points will apply for bodily injury if medical costs were incurred solely for diagnostic purposes.

30%

2

At-fault accident resulting in total property damage (including damage to insured’s own property) over $1,800 but under $3,000

45%

3

At-fault accident resulting in death or total bodily injury (to all persons) of more than $1,800; OR resulting in total property damage (including damage to insured’s own property) of $3,000 or more. No Insurance Points will apply for bodily injury if the medical costs were incurred solely for diagnostic purposes

60%

No SDIP Points will be charged for an accident if:

1.     There is property damage only;

2.     The amount of damage is $1,800 or less;

3.     There is no conviction for a moving violation in connection with the accident; and

4.     No licensed operators in the household have convictions or at-fault accidents during the experience period. (An insurance company may require that the insured be covered by that company for six continuous months.)

(c) Example of how SDIP Points Impact Insurance Rates

The chart below demonstrates the increase in insurance premiums when a driver is charged with the corresponding SDIP points.

SDIP Points

Original Insurance Premium

% of Rate Increase

Insurance Premium After Rate Increase

0

$300

0%

$300

1

$300

30%

$390

2

$300

45%

$435

3

$300

60%

$480

4

$300

80%

$540

8

$300

195%

$885

10

$300

260%

$1,080

12

$300

340%

$1,320

From reading this article it should be clear that insurance points in North Carolina are complicated. Not only are the point systems complex, they can also be extremely costly to you if your violation is handled incorrectly. Don’t make a mistake in how you handle your speeding ticket or other traffic violation. Contact Todd Browning or Howard Long at Browning & Long, PLLC, two attorneys who are experienced in handling speeding tickets and other traffic violations.

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