Penalty points and the effect on your insurance
There are a broad range of factors that would have an effect on the cost of your car insurance. These factors can affect your premium in a positive or negative way, these factors include, but are not limited to, your occupation, the vehicle you drive, your claim history and of course, your penalty points. Unfortunately points on your licence will only affect the cost of your insurance in a negative way as insurers will deem you a bigger risk than someone with a clean licence.
What are penalty points?
You will receive penalty points on your licence if you are convicted of a driving offence. Not all motoring convictions have the same amount of penalty points given as punishment, the more serious the offence, the more points given. In most cases if you receive 12 penalty points within a 3 year period you will then receive a driving ban.
What do you get penalty points for?
There are many different ways you can receive penalty points on your licence, these can range from speeding, to driving with defective tyres. Below are the main examples of how you would receive points on your licence and how many points the convictions would give you. Each section has an array of different convictions within it, for example there are 24 different speeding offences, (SP).
|(Code) - Offence||Number of penalty points received|
|(AC) - Accident Offences - eg, Failing to stop after an accident||4-10|
|(BA) - Disqualified Driver - eg, Driving while disqualified||3-11|
|(CD) Careless Driving - eg, Driving without due care and attention||3-9|
|(CU) Construction and Use - eg, Using a vehicle with defective brakes||3-6|
|(DD) Dangerous Driving - eg, Causing death by dangerous driving||3-11|
|(DR) Drink Driving - eg, To attempt to drive with blood alcohol above limit||3-11|
|(DG) Drug Driving - eg, Driving, or attempting to drive when unfit through drugs||3-11|
|(IN) Insurance - eg, Using a vehicles uninsured against third party risks||6-8|
|(LC) Licence - eg, Driving without a licence||3-6|
|(MS) Miscellaneous - eg, Leaving a vehicle in a dangerous position||2-11|
|(MW) Motorway - eg, Disobey special road regulations (except speed limit)||3|
|(PC) Pedestrian Crossing - eg, Contravention of pedestrian crossing with moving vehicle||3|
|(SP) Speed limits - eg, Exceeding speed limit on a public road||3-6|
|(TS) Traffic Direction and Signs - eg, Failing to comply with traffic light signals||3|
|(UT) Theft or Unauthorised Taking - eg, Stealing or attempting to steal a vehicle||3-11|
How many penalty points result in a driving ban?
If you receive 12 or more points with a 3 year period you will be banned from driving for 6 months. However if you receive a second disqualification in a 3 year period you would be hit with a 12 month ban, and a third disqualification would result in a 2 years suspension from driving.
How do penalty points affect my car insurance premiums?
When insurers are calculating a particular premium they are doing so based on risk. Prices are based on the likelihood of a claim occurring, simply put, the lower the chance of a claim, the lower the premium. Insurers take into consideration many factors when working out the premium as there are a large number of elements which can change the risk. Some of these factors include but are not limited to, your occupation, your address, the vehicle you are driving and of course one of the biggest factors, is you. Insurers will consider how safe the driver themselves are. If someone has been driving many years and has never been involved in a claim or received any penalty points I am sure you can guess they would be seen as a safer driver than someone who has received penalty points. This is why having penalty points can affect your premiums negatively, as you are seen as a bigger risk, and therefore more likely to be involved in a claim. Points do not stay on your licence forever though, if you drive for a few years without incident, eventually these points will be removed from your licence and will not need to be considered by insurers any more during a quote.
Is there a way to lower my car insurance premiums even if I have penalty points?
Yes, as mentioned above there are many factors that determine the risk of the policy. It is obviously not feasible to change your occupation or your address just to try and bring your car insurance down but there are a couple of things you can do. For example, if you have a garage you can make sure the vehicle stays in there overnight rather than on the road, but the easiest thing you can change is the vehicle itself. Bigger cars and those that have a more powerful engine are usually more expensive to insure, so to bring the price of your car insurance down you can opt for a cheaper car to insure, there are more details on the cheaper cars to insure here.
So while it is true that having penalty points can affect your car insurance premiums negatively in the short term, this will not last forever, and there are ways you can keep the premiums as low as possible before the points are no longer on your licence.