How do penalty points work?
Penalty points are given out for motoring offences such as speeding or drink driving.
If you collect 12 cumulative penalty points over the course of three years, you won’t be allowed to drive for six months, though the courts can choose to lengthen your ban.
If you’ve held your licence for two years or less, you only need six points before you’re disqualified. This is known as a ‘totting-up ban’.
The worse your offence, the more points you will receive. If you’re caught speeding, you might get three points, but you’ll get up to 11 if you’re caught drink-driving.
How do you get points on your licence?
You can receive the points in two ways:
- Through a fixed penalty notice: This will usually come with a fine and will either be given to you by the police or sent by post
- In court: This usually happens under more serious circumstances, when you’re caught driving under the influence, for instance
You will need to give your licence to either the police, a fixed penalty office or when you appear in court to receive your points. Your licence will then be sent back to you.
Receiving points on your licence can be stressful so it’s important to talk it through with your family and consider how you’re going to pay the fine.
How long do penalty points stay on your licence?
Penalty points stay on your licence for four or 11 years, depending on how serious the offence was. The points are valid for the first:
- 3 years for a four-year endorsement
- 10 years for an 11-year endorsement
Most penalty points will be automatically removed from your driving licence when they are no longer valid.
How do penalty points affect your car insurance?
If you have points on your driving licence, insurance companies will see you as a riskier driver and more likely to make a claim, which means your premiums will increase. The more points you have, the higher your premiums will be.
On average, motorists who have a speeding conviction can expect to see annual premiums rise by around £72 (14%), according to MoneySuperMarket figures from July 2019.
But once the penalty points have been removed, annual premiums fall by an average of £88 (15%), the same figures show.
It’s important to tell your insurance provider if you receive points for a motoring conviction or a fixed penalty notice. If you don’t, your insurance policy will be invalidated and you could face criminal charges.
Can you avoid points on your licence for speeding?
If you were caught speeding only slightly over the legal limit, you may be able to take a half-day speed awareness course, and this will allow you to avoid points on your licence. It also won’t affect your insurance premiums.
These courses usually cost around £100. You don’t usually need to inform your insurer about the course, though it’s probably worth checking.
How much are speeding fines?
How much you’ll be charged as a speeding fine will depend on how fast you were going when you were caught, but there are three main categories (A, B and C) – and three further bands for more serious offences (D, E and F).
The maximum fine is £1,000, or £2,500 if you were speeding on a motorway.
- Band A: you’ll be charged 25% to 75% of your weekly income, and receive three points on your licence – enough to increase the price of your car insurance premiums by a small amount
- Band B: you receive a fine worth 75% to 125% of your weekly income and four to six points on your licence, as well as up to a month’s ban from driving
- Band C: you’ll be fined 125% to 175% of your weekly income, given six points and up to two months of disqualification. Band C is for driving at least 20mph above the limit – or 30mph over on motorways
The penalties get more serious at the top bands. This is usually for those with prior convictions or those who committed an offence while on bail, or for those speeding in an area with a high number of pedestrians.
According to MoneySuperMarket data correct as of July 2019
Can you reduce insurance premiums with a speeding conviction?
There are a number of practical steps you can take to keep your costs down if you have a speeding conviction:
- Increase your excess: The voluntary excess is the portion of any insurance claim you pay yourself. Increasing it can help reduce premiums – but make sure you could still afford to pay it
- Reduce your mileage: Driving less frequently lowers the risk of an accident and will help to bring down your insurance premiums
- Think about telematics: Telematics or ‘black box’ insurance means a device is fitted to your vehicle so your insurer can monitor your driving habits to calculate your premium
- Secure your car: Keep your car in a garage if possible and make sure it’s fitted with an approved alarm and immobiliser
Compare car insurance quotes
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You can sort through by the level of cover you’ll get and the premiums you’ll pay, as well as any add-ons included either as standard or for an extra fee. Once you’ve found the deal you want, just click through to the provider to finalise your purchase.
Keep in mind the cheapest available quote isn’t necessarily the best. We recommend you aim for a balance between cost and coverage, so you have the right cover for the right price.