If you are caught breaking the rules of the road, you’ll not only face a hefty fine, the police will not hesitate to issue you with a driving conviction. You will also find a driving conviction means you will have to pay a higher car insurance premium.
With a driving conviction, some insurers may well feel you are more likely to make a claim on your car insurance, so it follows that they need to know your driving history before insuring you. They will consider all types of offence when calculating your premium and whether or not penalty points were put on your driving licence.
What are penalty points (endorsements)?
If you commit a driving offence, you will be given penalty points, also known as endorsements, which are measured on a scale of 1 to 11. The more serious the offence, the more points you get.
Each offence is designated a code: for example code AC10 is for failing to stop after an accident, and attracts up to 10 penalty points for your licence. These must remain on your driving record for at least 4 years from the date of the offence. If you accrue 12 points during a three year period, then you are likely to be banned from driving for at least six months.
The UK Government pages provide the latest information on how many penalty points you can expect to be given for each traffic offence.
Penalty points and your car insurance premium
A driving conviction means it’s very likely you will have to pay a higher car insurance premium. Insurers need to know your driving history before insuring you and may well feel you are a “high risk driver” and more likely to make a claim on your car insurance than someone without a previous conviction. They will consider all types of offence when calculating your premium, including even the smallest of speeding offences, and whether or not penalty points were put on your driving licence.
Points can remain on your licence from 4 to 11 years, depending on the conviction. And the more points you have, the more you will be considered to be a risk on the road and to your insurers.
It’s a good idea to shop around for a quote as underwriters weight premiums differently, basing them on the severity and number of offences you have to your name. They also look at your driving convictions in the last three to five years, so you can expect your premiums to be affected during this time.
If you are shocked by the price of your next policy, don’t worry. Here are a few ways you could reduce the premium:
- Change your car to one which is part of a lower vehicle insurance group.
- Go on a rehabilitation course which are available for such things as speed awareness or drink driving. Declare it and you could get a discount on your policy, not just now but in the long-term. Speed awareness courses sometimes enable you to avoid getting speeding points on your licence, therefore saving you money on your insurance.
- Telematics black boxes monitor your driving habits and give you the chance to prove to the insurers that you are a safe driver, which could reduce your premiums.
- Shop around as not all insurance companies handle driving offences, particularly minor ones, in the same way, meaning premium prices will vary. Drink-driving is regarded as more serious than, say, a one-off speeding offence and will almost certainly greatly increase the cost of your premium. Just because your current insurance company has decided to increase your premium for a minor driving offence, it doesn’t mean that others will do the same.
It may be tempting not to tell insurers about your previous conviction(s) in order to keep your premium down. But this would not only be fraudulent, it would be a false economy too. Non-disclosure renders your policy invalid and as importantly, your insurance company can refuse to pay out in the event of an accident.
Alternatively, insurance companies might make an additional charge for the conviction and not authorise your claim until the charge is paid. Another downside is that non-disclosure can stay on your driving record for life and of course affect any future insurance applications you might make.