All you need to know about penalty points and how they affect your insurance

A driver using her mobile phone while driving
It’s a relatively well-known fact that the cost of car insurance increases significantly if you get points on your driving licence, so regardless of whether your driving conviction resulted in three penalty points or six penalty points being added to your licence, it’s safe to say that you could suffer the consequences when it comes to your next car insurance premiums.

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While travel restrictions throughout the UK have been implemented since 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and various national lockdowns, the DVLA found that motoring convictions that resulted in penalty points have stayed at around the same rate.

2.72 million drivers in the UK had penalty points on their licence in March 2020, and that’s only decreased slightly to 2.64 million drivers in March 2021, so despite the pandemic, both new drivers and repeat offenders are still getting points on their driving licences.

If you’re wondering how penalty points can affect your car cover and how much your premiums can rise per penalty point, check out our guide below.

Can you still get cheap car insurance with penalty points?

Obtaining cheap car insurance with penalty points can prove to be quite the task as most providers will deem you as more of a risk and will therefore charge you more for your car insurance premiums.

It might still be possible to obtain a relatively affordable car insurance policy even if you have penalty points on your licence, but you might have to look into taking out a specific convicted drivers’ insurance policy as most providers will either be reluctant to insure you, or they’ll charge an excessive premium to insure you.

How much does 3 points increase car insurance?

It’s thought that the first three penalty points on your licence will only raise the cost of your car insurance slightly, usually around 5%. However, car insurance isn’t exactly cheap anyway, so it’s not really something you want to increase at all.

How much does 6 points increase car insurance?

Having 6 points on your licence could increase your car insurance by 25%, which in some cases could be more than £200, depending on how much you pay for your car insurance premiums in the first place.

How much does 12 points increase car insurance?

While it might seem quite unbelievable, having 12 points could increase the cost of your car insurance by a whopping 89%! Therefore, you need to ensure that you avoid obtaining this many points on your licence at all costs.

As car insurance can be a pretty hefty expense anyway, adding a further 89% increase on top of that could be astronomical.

How long do points for speeding last on your driving licence?

Penalty points for speeding usually stay on your driving licence for four years, or sometimes for as long as 11 years, depending on the severity of your conviction.

How do I check my penalty points?

To check whether you have any penalty points, how many you have and how long they have left before they’re removed, you can contact the DVLA and ask for further information on the status of your driving offences and penalty points, or you can check your driving licence record online on the government website.

What can you get penalty points for?

You can get penalty points for myriad driving offences; take a look at some of the most common reasons for getting points on your licence below, as well as how many points you can expect to obtain with each offence:

  • Driving while disqualified - 6 points
  • Dangerous driving - 3 to 11 points
  • Driving an uninsured vehicle - 6 to 8 points
  • Speeding - 3 to 6 points
  • Failing to comply with traffic signals and signs - 3 points
  • Causing death by careless, dangerous or drunk driving - 3 to 11 points

Of course, there are dozens of more driving offences that can cause you to obtain points on your driving licence, you can see a full list on the government website.

How to appeal penalty points

If you believe that you’ve been wrongly assigned penalty points, then you might be able to make a claim to an independent tribunal, but you can only do this if you’ve already tried making a formal challenge against the penalty points. 

If your appeal for a formal challenge has been denied and you receive a ‘notice of rejection’, you then have 28 days to make your appeal to a tribunal. If your penalty points were issued in London, you can appeal to the London Tribunals, and if it was outside of London, you can make a claim to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal.

There is no guarantee that your appeal will be recognised, however, and in that case, there is no way to remove the points from your licence and they will be with you for the next four years.

How long do penalty points last?

Penalty points typically last for up to four years on a driver’s record, although they are only officially active for the first three years.

Remember, you must disclose your penalty points to your insurance provider otherwise you will be invalidating your policy and driving around illegally.

How many points until you get banned from driving?

You can be banned from driving if you get 12 or more penalty points within 3 years. The length of time that your driving ban will last depends on certain circumstances, but it’s usually:

  • For 6 months, if you get 12 or more penalty points in 3 years
  • For 12 months, if you’re disqualified for the second time in 3 years
  • For 2 years, if you’re banned from driving for the third time in 3 years

If you get banned from driving for more than 56 days, you must apply for a new driving licence before you can legally drive again. Depending on the severity of your driving offence and the nature of your driving ban, you may also be required to retake your driving test or complete an extended driving course.

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