Boston, Massachusetts (PRWEB) June 26, 2012
A new report from the New England Center for Investigative Reporting showing a shrinking number of motorists appealing coverage surcharges in Massachusetts highlights the unique process through which drivers in that state can fight additional costs to their policies, according to Online Auto Insurance.
When drivers are ticketed or cause crashes, surcharges are added to a policy that can make coverage much pricier even at cheap insurance companies. In Massachusetts, motorists can take what they believe are improperly applied surcharges to the Insurance Board of Appeal (IBA) to potentially have them overturned, an option not available to motorists of every state.
Surcharges are managed under the state’s Safe Driver Insurance Plan (SDIP), which will impose surcharge points that can lead to costlier premiums for policyholders who are responsible for accident, are convicted of or pay a fine for a traffic violation or are assigned to an alcohol education program.
SDIP points are incurred when the policyholder is determined to be more than 50 percent responsible for a crash or when he or she files a claim of more than $500.
The report found that, since 2006, the IBA has seen its caseload drop by almost 20,000, signifying a 36 percent decrease.
In addition, data from the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles showed that, in 2011, there were 31,000 fewer drivers appealing traffic tickets than in 2010. In 2010, there were almost 60,000 fewer appeals than in 2009.
Massachusetts is “unlike many comparable jurisdictions,” according to state officials, because it offers the right to a hearing in which an impartial IBA officer presides over the case. But the report emphasized that fees and court costs are a major deterrent to motorists who want to fight their surcharges.
Drivers seeking surcharge appeals are required to pay a $50 court fee to bring their case initially before the IBA, according to a state guide to the appeals process. But the recent report says that motorists could be looking at hundreds of dollars in fees if they make multiple appeals.
For more on this and related insurance issues, head to http://www.onlineautoinsurance.com/cheap/companies/ for access to an easy-to-use quote-comparison generator and informative resource pages.