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. Safe driving will result in a positive number on the scale, and alternatively, high risk drivers will have a negative spot on the scale. Driving safely will move you up the scale, which in turn will save you money on the cost of your driver’s license.
Manitoban drivers can save a maximum 33% on vehicle premiums and an additional $30 in savings on their driver’s license premiums. High risk drivers can end up paying up to $3,000 for their driver’s license premium per year if they consistently demonstrate high risk driving behaviour. High risk driving includes at-fault claims, traffic convictions, or alcohol/drug related offences. Simply put, improving your driving will lower your premiums. Want to know your DSR, find out here!
By driving safe year after year, you will be able to move up the scale and in turn, the discount available to you will increase. Each year of safe driving will advance you up the scale with each merit earned. Alternatively, any at-fault claims or convictions will result in a negative move on the scale.
For example, if you are caught driving distracted not only will you receive a substantial fine, $672 to be specific, but you will also move down 5 merits. Depending on where you are on the scale that can put you into demerit territory causing an increase in your driver’s license premium and saying goodbye to your vehicle premium discount.
It pays to drive safe!
Long story short, safe driving behaviour will result in substantial money saved. If you are in the merit zone on the scale, level 0 to +14, you will move up one level with each year of safe driving. If you find yourself in the negatives on the scale with a history of high-risk driving behaviours, making changes towards safer driving will have a substantial impact. For instance, if you have a DSR rating of -20 and had a year of safe driving, you will move up seven levels to -13. In other words, that is a savings of $1,400 on your driver’s license premium. Changing to safer driving behaviours is not only a positive move for your safety and those around you but also for your wallet.
With each claim that you are deemed at-fault, you will be bumped down five levels on the scale. This can cause an increase in the cost of your licence as well as a decreased or lack of discount for your auto insurance.
Each claim is different, but in some instances, you can have the option to buy back your claim. This means that the claim won't negatively impact your position on the scale. Why would someone buy back their claim? Well, it's like undoing your claim since the money paid will go towards repairing vehicles, property and any injuries involved in the accident. Benefits of doing so are to keep insurance and licence discounts, low premiums as well as the maintenance of a claims-free record (if relocating outside of Manitoba). Deepening on your situation, it may be more cost-effective to buy back your claim rather than pay your deductible and lose discounts. If you have a claim, you can choose to buy it back at any time by speaking with your adjuster.
It all depends on what the conviction is and the severity of it. The following examples can help you understand how convictions can negatively affect your position on the scale as well as your wallet.
If you run through a stop sign, speeding over the posted limit (varies at what speed) and driving without a seat belt will all move you down two levels on the DSR scale. If you are driving distracted on your cell phone, for example, you will see yourself move down five levels, which can mean the difference between a 33% discount down to 26%. You will drop down ten levels if you are convicted of driving impaired, speeding more than 49 km/h over the posted limit and leaving the scene of an accident. Finally, a conviction of impaired driving resulting in death will move you 15 levels down the scale.
Another reason you would move down the scale is if you are convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs resulting in receiving either a Tiered Administrative Licence Suspension or a three-month Administrative Licence Suspension. In addition to a suspended licence, you will also move down the scale five levels. Examples include the failure of a drug screening test, refusal of samples or tests/evaluations. Also, a blood alcohol concentration when driving of over .05 or .08 depending on your where you are in your licensing, a drug concentration in the blood of over 5 mg of THC or the combination of .05 of alcohol and 2.5 mg of THC.
It's important to understand how the scale works and make a goal for yourself to move up through the practice of safe driving behaviours. Discounts for your licence and insurance is much better for you and your wallet than driving with a heavy foot and paying higher drivers licence costs and insurance premiums. By changing or continuing towards working on your safe driving habits, will not only keep yourself safe, but it will also keep your wallet happy upon renewal time. If you're now curious to see where you are on the scale or have any other questions regarding your auto insurance, talk with your MIG broker today!