What do those “points on your license” actually mean?

We have this question asked many times over about how surcharges work. The answer is not an easy one. There are many different factors in that system but we can talk about some of the most common. The first factor is that if you are a new driver you start with a Merit rating of 00. That means that you do not have any surchargable offenses but, you have no good driving record either.

For someone who is an experienced driver (six years) and have never had any surcharges or violations you have a merit rating of 99, which is the best. If you have a 99 and you get a ticket you then go to a 00. That really means “no harm no foul”, like you had when you were a new driver. From 00 you go up with each of the following offenses.


Minor Traffic Law Violation: 2 Points (ex: Speeding, Failure to stop etc…)

Minor At-Fault Accident: 3 points (ex: At fault Fender Bender)

Major At-Fault Accident: 4 points (ex: At Fault accident with major damage)

Major Traffic Law Violation: 5 points (ex: DUI, Driving to endanger)


The reason this question gets asked so much is because, as many people know, when you receive surcharge points, your auto insurance premium increases. This is because most insurance companies are involved in the Safe Driver Insurance Plan (SDIP) this is a program that is an incentive for drivers to have a clean record. When you have a 99 you receive a credit and when you have surcharge points you are charged extra. Fun fact: If you look at your insurance policy and find the SDIP or Merit rating section you can see how much you are paying or saving!


One of the last things that most people ask is how long will I have to pay for this? All surcharges are associated with your license for six years, after five years you go back to a 00 and then at 6 they completely fall off.  They all fall off in the order that they were received. Let’s look at an example to sum everything up!

Jane has had her license for six years and has never had any offenses so she has a 99. In January 2015 she gets a speeding ticket, she is now a 00. In February 2015 she receives another speeding ticket, she is now a 2. In February 2020, she will become a 00 and in February 2021, the 2 points will fall off and she will become a 98. The difference between a 98 and a 99 means that you have no offenses but you have had then in the past. After the six years have completely past, February 2022 you will be back at a 99.


Now that you have a better understanding of how the system works and what is really means when you get violations, everyone drive safe and remember that we at Quincy Insurance Agency are always here to answer any questions that you may have!

May 6th, 2019 by Quincy Insurance Agency LLC