How to Lower the Cost of your Drivers License

July 20, 2016 5 min read
Auto Insurance

One of the ways that Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) encourages safe driving is through their Driver Safety Rating (DSR) system. The DSR scale has 36 levels and your position on the scale depends on your driving history.

Driving safely will move you up the scale, which in turn will save you money on the cost of your driver’s license. According to MPI’s website, drivers can save up to 33% on vehicle premiums and an additional $30 in savings on their driver’s license premiums. High risk drivers can end up paying $2,500 for their driver’s license premium if they consistently demonstrate high risk driving behaviour.

See MPI’s DSR scale below:

How your Driver Safety Rating is Set

You live in Manitoba and hold a valid Manitoba Driver’s License

Your DSR and premiums will change based on your driving record each year. Your driving record includes traffic convictions, at-fault claims, or drug related administrative suspensions. You will save between 5% – 33% on your vehicle premiums and an additional $30 off the full $45 on your driver’s license premiums.

You’re a new Manitoban driver with your first Driver’s Licence

If you are a new driver, you start at the ‘base’ level on the DSR scale for both your vehicle and driver’s license premiums. After that, for each incident free year of safe driving, you will move your way up the scale and see more savings. Unsafe driving will cost you – driver’s who demonstrate high-risk driving behaviors will move down the scale and be charged a higher premium.

How the DSR Scale Works

Each year, MPI will send driver’s a notice showing you where you are on the scale and what your premium will be the following year. A year is a 12-month assessment period that ends 47 days prior to your anniversary day. Your anniversary day is four months after your birthday. You can start your annual Autopac coverage any time during the year but it will always expire at the end of the day before your anniversary day.

It Pays to Drive Safely

Each year of safe driving = one level up the scale. Starting at the base level, each year of safe driving will move you one level up the scale and save you even more on your driver’s licence and vehicle premiums.

Changing to safe driving moves you way up the scale. If you’re in the negative on the scale and you’ve had a history of high-risk driving, changing your driving behaviour will raise your DSR substantially. For example, a driver with an active licence who is at level –20 will move up the scale by seven levels for one year of safe driving.

Questions & Answers

This section was taken directly from the Driver Safety Rating page on the MPI website. The DSR brochure can be viewed on the MPI website here

How will an at-fault claim affect my Driver Safety Rating?

Each at-fault claim in the past year lowers your DSR by five levels.

Is there anything I can do to prevent it from affecting my Driver Safety Rating?

Depending on the circumstances, you may choose to “buy back” your claim so that it doesn’t affect your DSR. A buy back is like undoing your claim by reimbursing any money paid by Manitoba Public Insurance for repairing your vehicle and other vehicles and property damaged in the accident, and for injuries from the accident. People buy back their claims for several reasons:

  • to keep their vehicle premium discount
  • to avoid additional driver’s licence premiums
  • to maintain a claim-free record before moving out of the province

Sometimes it’s more cost-effective for you to pay to have the vehicle fixed rather than file a claim. You can buy back any claim at any time and your adjuster can assist you.

How will traffic convictions affect my Driver Safety Rating?

It depends on how serious the conviction is. The more serious the conviction, the more you’ll move down the scale. Here are some examples:

  • not obeying a traffic sign: two levels down the scale
  • speeding at 30 to 49 km over the allowable speed limit: two levels down the scale
  • driving without wearing a seatbelt: two levels down the scale 6
  • using a hand-held electronic device while driving: two levels down the scale
  • impaired driving: 10 levels down the scale
  • speeding more than 49 km over the allowable speed limit: 10 levels down the scale
  • leaving the scene of an accident: 10 levels down the scale
  • impaired driving causing death: 15 levels down the scale

How will an alcohol- or drug-related administrative suspension affect my Driver Safety Rating?

If you receive either a Tiered Administrative Licence Suspension or a three-month Administrative Licence Suspension, you will move down the scale five levels. Some examples of why you would receive an administrative suspension are:

  • operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration over .05
  • refusing to provide a breath or blood sample
  • refusing to perform a physical coordination test or drug recognition evaluation
  • failing a physical coordination test or drug recognition evaluation

If I purchase a vehicle after my anniversary day, how will my vehicle premium discount be determined? 

Your vehicle premium discount is determined by your DSR, which is based on your driving history and driving behaviour for the year prior to your anniversary day. Any at-fault claims or traffic convictions since your last anniversary day will not impact your DSR — or your vehicle premium discount — until your next anniversary day.

Want to know your DSR? Try MPI’s new Driver Safety Rating Calculator. It only takes a few minutes to see how your driving behaviour can affect the premiums you pay.

Written by

Alex Harms is part of our marketing team at MIG Insurance and she specializes in writing content to make insurance easier to understand for our clients. She obtained her Bachelors in Commerce (Hons.) at the Asper School of Business and worked with MIG as a broker during her studies and now fulltime in a Marketing & Operations role. She has taken on many tasks her at MIG but enjoys the challenge. Outside of work she enjoys spending time with her family as well as her dog Murphy, out at the lake which is their favourite spot!