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Insurance Surcharge

The New Jersey Merit Rating Plan, created by N.J.S.A. 17:29A-35, requires New Jersey Motor Vehicle Services to collect insurance surcharges from motorists whose driving records include certain motor vehicle offenses.

The bulk of the money collected is used to help in providing coverage for motorists who cannot obtain insurance on the open or voluntary market.

The surcharges are in addition to any court-imposed fines and penalties; or any premium/surcharge fees assessed by insurance companies.

Notice Of Proposed Suspension

If you are surcharged, the bill you receive is also an official Notice of Proposed Suspension of your driving privileges. The surcharge payments are due in full by the date printed on the bill. If you fail to pay the surcharge by the payment due date, your driving privileges will be indefinitely suspended. You will then have to pay a $50.00 restoration fee in addition to the full surcharge payment before your driving privileges can be restored.

If your license is already suspended for some other reason, and if you are suspended for failing to pay a surcharge, you must satisfy all suspensions before being restored.

Surchargeable Events Alcohol and Drug Related Offenses

Events Occurring on or after:

  • February 10, 1983 In-State “Operating Under the Influence of Liquor or Drugs” (DWI) violations
  • January 26, 1984 Out-of-State DWI violations
  • January 26, 1984 All “Refusal to submit to Chemical Test” violations

The surcharge for a drunk driving violation or refusal, whether occurring in New Jersey or another state, $1000 a year for three years for both a first and a second violation. A surcharge of $1,500 for three years will be imposed for a third or subsequent violation which occurs within three years of the first violation. If you are convicted of both a drunk driving and a refusal violation resulting from the same arrest, only one of the convictions will be surcharged.

Point Violations

(Occurring on or after February 10, 1983)
If you accumulate six or more points in a period of three calendar years or less you must pay an insurance surcharge of $100 for the first six points and $25 for each additional point. The point surcharge will remain in effect as long as you have six or more points on your record resulting from violations committed in the immediately preceding three-year calendar period.

Point Assessment Example:

If you accumulate two points in 2000 and two more in 2001 and an additional two in 2002, you would be subject to a $100 surcharge payment in 2003, because your record totals six points for the immediately preceding three calendar years. However, if you do not incur any additional point violations in 2001, you will not be surcharged in 2002, because your record for the immediately preceding three calendar years is now only four points (two points in 2000, two points in 2001, and zero points in 2002).

POINT REDUCTIONS ISSUED FOR ONE YEAR OF VIOLATION OR SUSPENSION – FREE DRIVING OR FOR COMPLETION OF A DRIVER IMPROVEMENT SCHOOL OR DEFENSIVE DRIVING COURSE ARE NOT CONSIDERED IN REVIEWING THE THREE-YEAR RECORD FOR SURCHARGE PURPOSES.

Your bill may include a “CATCH-UP” assessment if all surchargeable offenses were not recorded on your driving record at the time of your previous billing. If applicable, this will be noted on your bill.

Other Surchargeable Events)

(Regulation N.J.A.C. 13:19-13.1 ET SEQ

Events occurring on or after March 19, 1984                                          Yearly Assessment*

Unlicensed Driver                                                                                                $100

Driving While Suspended Court or DMV Reported                                        $250

No Liability Insurance on Motor Vehicle                                                           $250

*These surcharges are assessed each year for three years.

By Ronald P. Mondello