Whether you’re travelling across the country for holiday or business purposes, or simply commuting down town for work, you’re most likely aware that Singapore Traffic Police has a system in place to grade drivers’ performance abiding the law.
This system is called the Driver Improvement Points System (DIPS) and it’s primarily used to create a track record of traffic violations of every registered driver. Although the points system in place may seem like it is used only to punish repeat offenders, it also offers tangibles benefits to responsible drivers such as a discount on auto insurance premiums.
Let’s have a quick look at the current implementation of the DIPS, and how you can use a Certificate of Merit to save big on car insurance.
What is the Driver Improvement Points System?
The DIPS is a scoring system that was first introduced in 1983, its main purpose being that of keeping a driving record for each driver on the road in Singapore. With it, Singapore Traffic Police can assign demerit points to drivers who commit traffic violations. This way repeat offenders can be identified and retrained wherever necessary.
Why should I worry about it?
Depending on the severity and type of violation, different amounts of demerit points will be assigned for every infraction. For example, a motorcycle rider caught not wearing his safety helmet will be given 3 points, meanwhile, a driver caught using his cell phone on the wheel will be given 12 points (as well as a fine or even possible jail time).
When a predefined threshold of points has finally been reached, drivers will incur on certain penalties, such as:
New drivers that have obtained their license less than a year ago will have their driving privileges revoked if they amass 13 points. This is due to new licensees being under a probation period that lasts a year.
• Drivers with no prior suspensions that happen to amass 24 points within a 2 year lapse will receive a suspension lasting 3 months.
• Drivers that, having received a prior suspension, amass 12 points within a year will also receive a new suspension, with each consecutive penalty higher than the previous one up to a full 3 years of suspended license.
• Starting with the 1 year suspension, a driver will have his license revoked, meaning that he will have to retake his driving exams after the suspension is over.
What sort of rewards can the DIPS give me?
While the system in itself is used to give traffic police a clear idea of a motorist’s driving habits, it also rewards them for driving carefully. These rewards come in the form of:
• Erasing previous demerit points if the driver successfully goes through a 12 month period free of traffic violations after his suspension has ended.
• Erasing all previous records of any suspension if the driver successfully goes through a 24 month period free of traffic violations after his suspension has ended.
• A Certificate of Merit (COM) which makes the driver eligible for a Safe Driver Discount in most auto insurance companies in Singapore.
What is a Certificate of Merit?
A Certificate of Merit (COM) is a document issued by the Traffic Police to attest that a motorist has been driving safely in Singapore for a period of time, and is, as a result, a low risk driver. In most motor insurance companies, this entitles you to a Safe Driver Discount.
How to receive a merit certificate to start saving big on car insurance
In order to qualify for a Safe Driver Discount when buying car insurance, your driving record must be free of traffic violations for at least 3 years prior to the moment of purchase. After 3 years of safe driving, you will be awarded the Certificate of Merit (given by the Traffic Police of Singapore through the EDDIES) which can be used to claim said discount of 5% on auto insurance premiums.
Upon hiring car insurance, insurance companies will verify your eligibility for a Certificate of Merit through the EDDIES (or Electronic Driver Data Information and Enquiry System). As such, this certificate doesn’t need to be printed out, nor is it transferable to a third party, meaning that your spouse, son or daughter cannot make use of your COM or vice versa.
The Safe Driver Discount will be calculated in addition to whichever No-Claim Discount you’re currently entitled to.
Keep in mind that you also have to have maintained a claim-free record with your motor insurance of no less than 3 years, meaning that, for a private car owner, you have to be entitled to a No-Claim Discount of 30%.
So, if you want to save on car insurance, always remember that keeping a good and clean driving record is the most reliable way of qualifying for discounts, whether it be a Safe Driver Discount for driving safely on the road and having a Certificate of Merit, or a No-Claim Discount for not having any insurance claims on your vehicle for over a year.