The New Jersey Merit Rating Program, created by N.J.S.A. 17:29A-35 requires Motor Vehicle Services to collect insurance surcharges from motorists whose driving records include certain motor vehicle offenses. The surcharges are in addition to any court-imposed fines and penalties, or any premium or surcharge fees assessed by insurance companies.
Surchargeable events include alcohol and drug related offenses, regulatory offenses such as driving without a license, driving without valid insurance or driving while suspended, and accumulating six or more points in a period of three years or less. These surcharges are assessed each year for three years. (Please note that point credits are not considered when assessing surcharges). All surchargeable offenses are billed as they appear on your motor vehicle record. Motor Vehicle Services does not have the authority to reduce your surcharge payments or change any court-reported violations.
Revenue generated is used to repay $705 million in bonds sold to eliminate the debt of the Market Transition Facility (MTF). The MTF provided auto insurance to those unable to obtain coverage in the voluntary market. Part of the revenue is also designed for alcohol rehabilitation for drunk drivers.You are responsible for paying the surcharge even if you move out of NJ. The surcharge is imposed regardless of your current license, registration and/or insurance status.
DRUNK DRIVING – A drunk driving charge costs a driver a significant amount of money in surcharges. The surcharge for a drunk driving violation is $1,000 a year for three years. A surcharge of $1,500 a year will be charged for a third or subsequent violations.
POINT VIOLATIONS – If a driver accumulates six or more points in a period of three calendar years or less, then the driver 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 the driver has six points on his driving records.
OTHER SURCHARGEABLE EVENTS;
Unlicensed Driver – $100 a year for three years.
Driving While Suspended – $250 a year for three years.
No Liability Insurance – $250 a year for three years.
SURCHARGES FOR POINT VIOLATIONS
If you accumulate six or more points in a period of three 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 posted in the immediate past three years. The accumulation is calculated from the posting date to your driving record, not when the violations occurred.
Once again, these surcharges are in addition to any surcharge that your insurance company might levy upon you. Any 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.
SURCHARGES AND DRIVING WHILE SUSPENDED
If your operating privileges are suspended as a result of failure to pay insurance surcharges and you are convicted of operating while suspended, the court is mandated to impose an additional $3,000 fine. Pay the surcharge in full before your court appearance to avoid this extra fine.
NOTICES AND DUE DATES
Surcharge bills are printed on State of New Jersey-Automobile Insurance Surcharge and Collections (NJ-AISC) letterhead. These notices are different from premiums due to your insurance carrier. A driver must pay NJ-AISC by the due date printed on the bill. If a driver fails to pay the surcharge in full, or begin an installment payment plan (IPP) by that date, then their NJ driving privilege will be suspended until the minimum requirement is paid to NJ-AISC and a separate $100 restoration fee is posted to your NJ motor vehicle record. Never operate a motor vehicle until you have received confirmation that your NJ driving privilege is in good standing.The failure to pay will result in the filing of a certificate of debt (judgment) in the NJ Superior Court to collect the unpaid principal, plus added collection costs and interest.If the judgment remains unpaid, MVS is authorized to use the provision of the Set-Off of Individual Liability program (SOIL) by setting-off potential refunds and rebates processed by the NJ Division of Taxation.
PAYING THE SURCHARGE
Payment can be made by:
If there is a mistake in your billing, or if you have any questions, you can write to: NJ-AISC Surcharge Billing Office Space, P.O. Box 4775 Trenton, NJ 08650-4775. You should include a daytime phone number and your NJ driver license number.
CHANGE OF ADDRESS
Surcharge notices are mailed to the last address of record. If you move, the law requires that you notify Motor Vehicle Services within seven days. Call 1-888-486-3339 toll free in NJ or 1-609-292-6500 from out of state or write to MVS Change of Address, P.O. Box 016, Trenton 08666-0016. You may also change your address by using the tear-off portion of the surcharge payment envelope and mailing it with your payment. If you move out of state, you must report all changes of address until you have satisfied the surcharge requirements.
For returned checks (insufficient funds) you will receive an indefinite suspension of your driving privilege and a notice for an additional $25 payment. This dishonored check notice or letter has instructions for satisfying the fee.