How driving convictions impact car insurance

We’re here to help you understand how motoring convictions can affect the cost of your car insurance premium and what to do if you receive penalty points on your licence.

Andrew Hagger

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How a driving conviction will impact your quote

Insurance companies price their car insurance products based on a series of risk calculations, predicting how likely a driver is to make a claim.

If you have a motoring conviction, insurers will see you as a greater risk and your insurance premiums will increase.

Here are a few ways that your car insurance could be affected by a driving conviction:

  • Risk calculations: Each insurer will have its own risk assessment criteria, but the more severe driving convictions will see your premiums rise sharply and, in some cases, providers will refuse to insure you
  • Disclosing convictions: You legally have to tell your insurer if you receive points on your licence - it’s an offence under the Road Traffic Act 1998 if you don’t
  • Immediately or at renewal?: Most insurers only ask you to declare any points received while you’ve been covered by them at renewal time, but some state in their terms that you must tell them as soon as you receive the conviction, so do check
  • Undisclosed convictions: If you don’t declare your conviction and then you make a claim, your insurer could refuse to pay your claim

Key points

  • You must tell your insurer about any unspent motoring convictions when asked
  • How long points remain on your licence depends upon the driving conviction you’ve got
  • If you’ve got points on your licence there may be fewer insurers willing to cover you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a good deal

How much will convictions cost you?

How much your premiums actually increase depends on the insurer’s conviction policies, as well as the type of conviction.

How long will they last?

Penalty points don’t stay on your licence indefinitely. They’re usually removed after four years but can stay on your record for up to 11 years for more serious offences.

This means drivers get a chance to revert to a clean licence after a few years, and hopefully see a reduction in their insurance costs as a result.

Having any kind of criminal conviction can increase the cost of your car insurance premiums, even if it has nothing to do with driving, like a fine for littering

What counts as a driving conviction?

Being caught breaking a motoring law leads to a driving conviction.

Offences such as breaking the speed limit, reckless driving, and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs are classed as driving convictions and lead to fines and penalty points on your licence.

But it’s not just the standard of your driving that can lead to convictions.

For example, if the police find that your vehicle has defective parts, such as worn brakes, or that you have no insurance or valid driving licence, then you’ll be given a driving conviction and potentially receive points on your licence and a fine.

Final warnings, cautions and reprimands aren’t convictions, so they don’t need to be disclosed.

“Since your driving history is an important factor in assessing your risk, insurers will expect you to let them know about any convictions sooner rather than later, and this may even be written into your contract”

Dominic Stannard - Association of British Insurers

Declaring unspent and spent convictions

You must declare unspent convictions if you’re asked, but if you get a conviction during a policy, you don’t have to tell your insurer until you renew, unless your policy wording says otherwise.

If you don’t disclose your unspent convictions at renewal, or when buying a new policy, then your insurance is invalid. Your insurer can even ask for its money back if you’ve made a claim.

After a certain amount of time, your conviction will become ‘spent’ and isn’t allowed to count against you anymore, becasue of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

You don’t have to declare spent convictions, even if you’re asked.

Driving convictions and named drivers

You might be asked about the convictions of everyone included on the policy. So if you have friends or family as additional drivers on your policy, you’d have to declare their convictions too.

Conviction codes

There are many different types of driving convictions.

You can check your licence to see if you have any convictions, and how many penalty points you’ve accumulated, on Gov.uk.

If you’re handed 12 or more points within a three-year period, you’ll be disqualified from driving. If you’re banned from driving for more than 56 days, you’ll need to reapply for a new licence after your ban ends.

If you’re a new driver, you can be disqualified from driving if you get six or more penalty points within two years of passing your driving test.

Most common offences

Our table of conviction codes and penalty points below shows the most common offences:

Code
Offence
Penalty points
SP10
Exceeding goods vehicle speed limits
3-6
SP30
Exceeding statutory speed limit on a public road
3-6
SP50
Exceeding speed limit on a motorway
3-6
TS10
Failing to comply with traffic light signals
3
IN10
Using a vehicle uninsured against third party risks
6-8
CU80
Using a mobile phone while driving a motor vehicle
6
DR10
Driving or attempting to drive with alcohol level above limit
3-11
LC20
Driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence
3-6
CD10
Driving without due care or attention
3-9

Accident offences

Offence codes AC10 to AC30 must stay on a driving licence for four years from the date of offence.

Code
Offence
Penalty points
AC10
Failing to stop after an accident
5-10
AC20
Failing to give particulars or to report an accident within 24 hours
5-10
AC30
Undefined accident offences
4-9

Careless driving

Offence codes CD10 to CD30 must stay on a driving licence for four years from the date of offence.

Code
Offence
Penalty points
CD10
Driving without due care and attention
3-9
CD20
Driving without reasonable consideration for other road users
3-9
CD30
Driving without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other road users
3-9

Offence codes CD40 to CD70 must stay on a licence for 11 years from the date of conviction.

Code
Offence
Penalty points
CD40
Causing death through careless driving when unfit through drink
3-11
CD50
Causing death by careless driving when unfit through drugs
3-11
CD60
Causing death by careless driving with alcohol level above the limit
3-11
CD70
Causing death by careless driving then failing to supply a specimen for analysis
3-11

Offence codes CD80 and CD90 must stay on a driving licence for four years from the date of conviction.

Code
Offence
Penalty points
CD80
Causing death by careless, or inconsiderate, driving
3-11
CD90
Causing death by driving: Unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured drivers
3-11

Construction and use offences

Offence codes CU10 to CU80 must stay on a driving licence for four years from the date of offence.

Code
Offence
Penalty points
CU10
Using a vehicle with defective brakes
3
CU20
Causing or likely to cause danger by reason of use of unsuitable vehicle or using a vehicle with parts or accessories (excluding brakes, steering or tyres) in a dangerous condition
3
CU30
Using a vehicle with defective tyre(s)
3
CU40
Using a vehicle with defective steering
3
CU50
Causing or likely to cause a danger by reason of load or passengers
3
CU80
Using a mobile phone while driving a motor vehicle
3

Disqualified driver

Offence codes BA10 and BA30 must stay on a driving licence for four years from the date of offence.

Code
Offence
Penalty points
BA10
Driving while disqualified by order of court
6
BA30
Attempting to drive while disqualified by order of court
6

Drink or drugs

Offence codes DR10 to DR30 must stay on a driving licence for 11 years from the date of conviction.

Code
Offence
Penalty points
DR10
Driving or attempting to drive with alcohol level above limit
3-11
DR20
Driving or attempting to drive while unfit through drink
3-11
DR30
Driving or attempting to drive then failing to supply a specimen for analysis
3-11

Offence codes DR40 to DR70 must stay on a driving licence for four years from the date of offence.

Code
Offence
Penalty points
DR40
In charge of a vehicle while alcohol level above the limit
10
DR50
In charge of a vehicle while unfit through drink
10
DR60
Failure to provide a specimen for analysis in circumstances other than driving or attempting to drive
10
DR70
Failing to provide specimen for breath test
4

Offence code DR80 must stay on a driving licence for 11 years from the date of conviction.

Code
Offence
Penalty points
DR80
Driving or attempting to drive when unfit through drugs
3-11

Offence code DR90 must stay on a driving licence for four years from date of offence.

Code
Offence
Penalty points
DR90
In charge of a vehicle when unfit through drugs
10

Insurance offences

Offence code IN10 must stay on a driving licence for four years from the date of offence.

Code
Offence
Penalty points
IN10
Using a vehicle uninsured against third party risks
6-8

Licence offences

Offence codes LC20 to LC50 must stay on a driving licence for four years from the date of offence.

Code
Offence
Penalty points
LC20
Driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence
3-6
LC30
Driving after making a false declaration about fitness when applying for a licence
3-6
LC40
Driving a vehicle having failed to notify a disability
3-6
LC50
Driving after a licence has been revoked or refused on medical grounds
3-6

Miscellaneous offences

Offence codes MS10 to MS90 must stay on a driving licence for four years from the date of offence.

Code
Offence
Penalty points
MS10
Leaving a vehicle in a dangerous position
3
MS20
Unlawful pillion riding
3
MS30
Play street offences
2
MS50
Motor racing on the highway
3-11
MS60
Offences not covered by other codes
As appropriate
MS70
Driving with uncorrected defective eyesight
3
MS80
Refusing to submit to an eyesight test
3
MS90
Failure to give information as to identity of driver etc
6

Motorway offences

Offence code MW10 must stay on a driving licence for four years from the date of offence.

Code
Offence
Penalty points
MW10
Contravention of special roads regulations (excluding speed limits)
3

Pedestrian crossings

Offence codes PC10 to PC30 must stay on a driving licence for four years from the date of offence.

Code
Offence
Penalty points
PC10
Undefined contravention of pedestrian crossing regulations
3
PC20
Contravention of pedestrian crossing regulations with moving vehicle
3
PC30
Contravention of pedestrian crossing regulations with stationary vehicle
3

Reckless/dangerous driving

Offence codes DD40 to DD80 must stay on a driving licence for four years from date of conviction.

Code
Offence
Penalty points
DD40
Dangerous driving
3-11
DD60
Manslaughter or culpable homicide while driving a vehicle
3-11
DD80
Causing death by dangerous driving
3-11
DD90
Furious driving
3-9

Special code

Offence code TT99 must stay on a driving licence for four years from the date of conviction.

Code
Offence
TT99
To signify a disqualification under 'totting-up' procedure. If the total of penalty points reaches 12 or more within three years the driver is liable to be disqualified

Speed limits

Offence codes SP10 to SP50 must stay on a driving licence for four years from the date of offence.

Code
Offence
Penalty points
SP10
Exceeding goods vehicle speed limits
3-6
SP20
Exceeding speed limit for type of vehicle (excluding goods or passenger vehicles)
3-6
SP30
Exceeding statutory speed limit on a public road
3-6
SP40
Exceeding passenger vehicle speed limit
3-6
SP50
Exceeding speed limit on a motorway
3-6

Traffic direction and signs

Offence codes TS10 to TS70 must stay on a driving licence for four years from the date of offence.

Code
Offence
Penalty points
TS10
Failing to comply with traffic light signals
3
TS20
Failing to comply with double white lines
3
TS30
Failing to comply with 'Stop' sign
3
TS40
Failing to comply with direction of a constable/warden
3
TS50
Failing to comply with traffic sign (excluding 'Stop' signs, traffic lights or double white lines)
3
TS60
Failing to comply with a school crossing patrol sign
3
TS70
Undefined failure to comply with a traffic direction sign
3

Theft or unauthorised taking

Offence code UT50 must stay on a driving licence for four years from the date of offence.

Code
Offence
Penalty points
UT50
Aggravated taking of a vehicle
3-11

How to avoid getting points on your licence

It's pretty simple really - just obey the law. It’s there to keep you and other motorists safe, after all.

If you commit a minor speeding offence, instead of paying your fine and accepting points on your licence, you might be given an alternative option of attending a speed awareness course.

These courses are run by private companies throughout the country and are administered by the National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme (NDORS).

The cost of the course varies by location but it’s in the region of £100.

The course lasts for four hours and is a popular choice for motorists committing minor traffic offences, with 1.19 million drivers attending in 2018 alone according to the RAC Foundation.

If you commit a non-endorsable offence (one where you get a fine but no points) you’ll receive a fixed penalty notice instead. It’s usually a £50 fine, although can be higher.

Car insurance companies that don’t ask about criminal convictions

We don't compare policies from any companies that don't ask drivers to declare their criminal convictions. But that doesn't mean that if you have some, you’re out of options.

Depending on what kind you have, you're not barred from having insurance just because you have a driving conviction.

If you compare policies through us, it’s easy to declare any convictions you have and see your options.

According to the DVLA there are over 2.7 million full driving licence holders with penalty points in the UK - and lots of them can still get a good deal on their car insurance[1]

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Finding car insurance when you have points on your licence

If you receive a motoring conviction and points on your licence then the cost of your cover will increase, but you can still shop around to get a good deal.

There are a few things you can do to make yourself less of a risk to insurers, such as taking out a telematics policy, which will base your premiums on how well you drive.

Or, you could opt for a higher voluntary excess - but make sure you can still afford to pay it. Adding an additional older driver, preferably with no driving convictions, could reduce your premiums too.

Another possible solution is to reduce your annual mileage as many people tend to overestimate the distance they drive in a year. Check your MOT certificates to see your annual mileage for the last few years and find out if it makes sense to adjust this figure on your insurance.

Just because you’ve suddenly got points on your licence it doesn’t mean you have to stay with your current insurer. In fact it’s a good time to compare costs to try and keep your premium increase to a minimum.

Car insurance guides and tools

[1]2,713,458 drivers had penalty points on their licence. DVLA March 2019 GB Driving Licence Data

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