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Car insurance and penalty points

How penalty points and driving offences affect car insurance

published: 16 June 2022
Read time: 5 minutes

Penalty points, also known as driving endorsements, can cause your premiums to go up – find out how they work and how long they stay on your record

What are penalty points?

Penalty points, also known as driving endorsements, are what you get if you’re convicted of a driving offence, such as speeding or dangerous driving. The number of points you’ll be assigned will depend on the driving offence you’ve committed. 

two young girls in a car

How do penalty points affect your car insurance?

Having penalty points on your driving licence is almost certain to affect your car insurance. Not only is it likely that you’ll pay more than usual for cover, it’s possible that some insurance providers won’t be willing to cover you at all.

What are the different type of driving offences?

The different types of driving offences have their own assigned codes and range of penalty points usually given for each offence. For example, speeding offences are references as SP followed by a number – and is usually worth 3-6 points.

The different types of driving offences, their codes and the points you’ll usually get are as follows:

Offence code

Offence category

Penalty points


Accident offences

4 to 10


Disqualified driver offences

3 to 11


Careless driving

3 to 11


Construction and use

3 to 6


Reckless and dangerous driving

3 to 11


Drink driving

3 to 11


Drug driving

3 to 11


Insurance offences

6 to 8


Licence offences

3 to 6


Miscellaneous offences

3 to 11


Motorway offences



Pedestrian crossings




3 to 6


Traffic directions and signs


How long will penalty points stay on my licence?

Penalty points will stay on your driving record for either 4 or 11 years, depending on the nature of the offence. 

What happens if I accumulate too many points on my licence?

If you accumulate 12 or more penalty points on your licence within a three-year period, you’ll be disqualified from driving. The courts will decide how long your ban will be based on your offence and the surrounding circumstances – it’s likely that the disqualification will last under 56 days, but if it’s longer than this you’ll need to reapply for your licence.

How do I check how many penalty points I have?

You’ll be able to see how many penalty points you have on your licence on the UK government website – just have your driving licence number and your national insurance number at hand.

How can I get cheaper car insurance with penalty points on my licence?

As we’ve seen, penalty points on your driving licence or being charged with driving offences is likely to increase the cost of your car insurance, as well as reduce the number of premium options you have available to you.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be able to make savings and reduce the overall costs. Here are some helpful tips for reducing the cost of your car insurance.

  • Keep your car secure

    If your car is parked on a road, the cost of your insurance may increase, so consider off-road options for safely parking your car at night such as a garage. Similarly, ensuring that the security system is effective will help.

  • Increase the excess amount

    If you opt for a lower excess, the monthly cost of your car insurance will likely go up, so it’s worth considering choosing a higher amount if you can afford it. Keep in mind that, if the worst should happen, it will cost more for you to activate your insurance.

  • Consider a black box

    These clever telematics devices monitor your driving and report back to your insurance company, meaning that good, safe driving will result in a lower price to insure your vehicle.

  • Select the right kind of cover

    There are various options when it comes to car insurance cover, including third-party, comprehensive and liability insurance. It’s worth taking your time to fully understand the pros and cons of each, so that you can make the best decision for you.

  • Shop around

    The best way to save money is to shop around and compare the best car insurance deals, so you can find the perfect policy to suit your situation.

Finding car insurance with penalty points

Even if you have penalty points on your licence, it’s always good to compare car insurance quotes online to be sure you’re getting the best deal possible. Just tell us a little about yourself, your car and the cover you need, and we’ll search the market for deals that match your requirements.

You’ll be able to compare offers by the overall cost, the cover you’ll get and the excess you’ll need to pay to make a claim. Once you’ve found the one you want, just click through to the provider to finalise your purchase.

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