How do penalty points impact your car insurance?

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How does it work?
Driving offences
Insurance premium
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How to get cheaper insurance

Almost three million people in the UK have penalty points on their licence – yikes!

Getting points on your driving record can make your car insurance more expensive. And you might also find that there are less car insurance products available to you.

There are things you can do to help lower the cost of your insurance, though.

Here’s everything you need to know 👇

How do driving penalty points work?

If you commit a driving offence, like speeding, you might get penalty points on your licence.

How many you get depends on how serious the offence is. Once you’ve been given points, they stay on your driving record for between four and eleven years.

You can get between one and eleven points for a single offence.

If you reach 12 points within three years, you can get disqualified from driving. A court will decide how long you’re disqualified for. The worse the offence, the longer it’ll be.

Getting penalty points will almost certainly increase your insurance bill. If you get 12 within 3 years, you could be banned from the road.

What are the main driving offences?

Penalty points can be given for any situation where you break the law when you’re driving.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the main driving offences:

  • Speeding and generally neglecting road regulations.
  • Committing some kind of fraud – for example, driving without a licence or insurance, forging insurance documents, or driving when disqualified.
  • Dangerous, careless and drunk driving – which includes driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and using your phone while you're driving.
  • Driving a vehicle that’s not legally fit to drive or hasn’t passed the proper tests.
  • Driving a stolen car.
  • Not stopping after an accident, or not reporting an accident that legally should be reported.
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Why do penalty points affect your insurance premium?

Insurers see people who have penalty points as ‘riskier’ because they’re statistically more likely to make a claim.

The riskier you are seen, the higher your premium. Which is why getting points on your licence can see the cost of your car insurance go up quite steeply.

A quick note on how insurers work out your premium

Insurers work out the cost of car insurance based on loads of different factors. These include things like your age, job title, the type of car you drive, how long you’ve been driving for, and where you live.

Insurers use these different factors to decide how risky you are to insure. This is all based on tons of data they gather about their customers.

For example, the data might show that people who live in a certain area are more likely to make a claim. Or that people of a certain age are less likely to claim.

How much will penalty points make my insurance go up by?

Because so many factors go into deciding your car insurance premium, it’s impossible to say exactly how much it’ll go up for having points on your licence.

But research shows that the more points or convictions you get, the more your insurance will cost.

For example, some research by MoneySupermarket shows that, on average, car insurance premiums go up by:

  • 16% when you go from having 0 to 3 points (a £160 median price difference)
  • 13% when you go from having 3 to 6 points (a £110 median price difference)
  • 30% when you go from having 0 to 6 points (a £552 median price difference)

The same research also shows that premiums go up by:

  • 16% when you go from having no convictions to one conviction (a £139 median price difference)
  • and another 15% for a second conviction (a £145 median price difference)
Getting penalty points can make it harder to find cheap car insurance
Getting penalty points can make it harder to find cheap car insurance

How to get cheaper car insurance with points on your licence

It’s unlikely insurers will overlook the fact you have points on your licence.

But we all make mistakes. And there is something you can do to help prove you’re not as big a risk as they might think you are.

Black box insurance (also called telematics insurance) is where your insurer uses a device installed on your car to monitor your driving. The safer you drive, the lower your premium will be.

Going for a black box policy is a good way to lower the cost of your car insurance if you’ve got points on your record.

But a lot of black box policies come with a fair few downsides and caveats.

Most insurers charge even bigger cancellation fees for black box policies. Plus, there are often lots of annoying rules to stick to (like not driving at night). These can lead to a loss in your black box discount if you break them.

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Updated on 14th September 2023