The inscription Penalty made up of wooden cubes on a plain background

Do Penalty Points Affect Car Insurance Premium?

June 26, 2024

Let's face it, we've all had those moments on the road where we've pushed the speed limit a bit too far or maybe forgot to renew our MOT on time. But here's the thing - those little slip-ups can come back to bite us in the form of penalty points. And if you're wondering whether these points can affect your car insurance premium, well, buckle up because we're about to take a deep dive into this topic.

What Are Penalty Points?

First things first, let's talk about what penalty points actually are. In the UK, penalty points are a way for the government to keep track of driving offences. They're like little black marks on your driving record, each one representing a specific offence. You can get them for all sorts of reasons - speeding, using your phone while driving, or even drunk driving. The more serious the offence, the more points you'll get - just take a look at our blog on drunk driving consequences in the UK.

How Penalty Points Affect Insurance Premiums

Now, here's where it gets interesting. Insurance companies are all about risk assessment; they're trying to figure out how likely you are to make a claim, and they use all sorts of information to do this. Your age, your car, where you live - and yes, your driving record, including those pesky penalty points.

The short answer is: yes, penalty points can absolutely affect your car insurance premium. In fact, they can cause your premiums to skyrocket. Why? Because in the eyes of the insurance company, those points make you a riskier driver to insure. And more risk means higher premiums.

Factors Influencing the Impact of Penalty Points on Insurance

But it's not as simple as "points = higher premium". There are several factors that can influence how much those points will actually affect your insurance costs.

Type of Offense

Not all penalty points are created equal. Points for minor speeding or a non fault accident might not hit your wallet as hard as points for something more serious like dangerous driving.

Number of Penalty Points

It's not just about having points - it's about how many you have. The more points on your licence, the higher your premiums are likely to be.

Insurance Company Policies

Different insurance companies have different policies when it comes to penalty points. Some might be more forgiving than others, especially for minor offences.

Driver's Age and Experience

If you're a young or inexperienced driver, those points might sting a bit more. Insurance companies already see you as a higher risk, so adding points to the mix can really drive up your premiums.

Driving Record

Your overall driving record matters too. If this is your first offence in an otherwise spotless driving career, you might not see as big an increase as someone who's had multiple incidents.

Type of Vehicle

Believe it or not, the car you drive can also play a role. If you're driving a high-performance vehicle, those points might hit your premium harder than if you're cruising around in a family hatchback.


Where you live and drive can also factor in. If you're in an area with higher rates of accidents or car crime, those points might have a bigger impact.

Insurance History

Your history with the insurance company matters too. If you've been a loyal customer with no claims for years, they might be a bit more lenient when it comes to a few points.

How Long Do Penalty Points Stay on Your Record?

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Now, before you start panicking about your insurance premiums for the rest of your life, here's some good news: penalty points don't stick around forever. Most points stay on your licence for four years, although they're only active for the first three. Some more serious offences can stay on your record for up to 11 years.

Strategies to Minimise the Impact of Penalty Points on Insurance

Alright, so you've got some points. What now? Here are some strategies that might help soften the blow to your wallet:

Shop Around for Insurance Quotes

Don't just accept a sky-high quote from your current insurer. Shop around - you might find a company that's more forgiving of your points.

Take a Defensive Driving Course

Some insurers offer discounts if you complete an approved driving course. It shows you're taking steps to improve your driving skills.

Increase Voluntary Excess

By agreeing to pay more in the event of a claim, you might be able to lower your premium. Just make sure you can afford the excess if you do need to claim.

Consider Telematics Insurance

These policies use a black box to monitor your driving. If you can prove you're a safe driver, you might get lower premiums despite your points.

Maintain a Clean Driving Record

The best thing you can do is avoid getting any more points. A clean record going forward can help balance out past mistakes.

Legal and Financial Consequences of Accumulating Penalty Points

It's worth noting that the impact on your insurance premium isn't the only consequence of accumulating points. If you rack up 12 or more points within three years, you could face a driving ban. This could have serious implications for your work and personal life, not to mention making it even harder to get insurance in the future.

The Bottom Line

Remember, while penalty points can affect your insurance premium, they're not the end of the world. By understanding how they work and taking steps to mitigate their impact, you can still find affordable insurance coverage. And hey, they're also a pretty good incentive to brush up on those safe driving skills. After all, the best way to keep your premiums down is to avoid getting those points in the first place.