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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
Andrew Hagger
Updated 1 July 2019  | 3 min read

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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.

On average though, the cost of a fully comp policy for someone with one or more convictions is £528.11.[1]

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.

How much will a previous driving ban affect my car insurance costs?

A driving ban can make a huge dent in the number of insurers that are willing to cover you, and it’ll increase the cost of your car insurance.

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, because 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.

  • Most common offences

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

    CodeOffencePenalty pointsTime on licence
    SP10Exceeding goods vehicle speed limits3-64 years
    SP30Exceeding statutory speed limit on a public road3-64 years
    SP50Exceeding speed limit on a motorway3-64 years
    TS10Failing to comply with traffic light signals34 years
    IN10Using a vehicle uninsured against third party risks6-84 years
    CU80Using a mobile phone while driving a motor vehicle64 years
    DR10Driving or attempting to drive with alcohol level above limit3-1111 years
    LC20Driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence3-64 years
    CD10Driving without due care or attention3-94 years
  • Accident offences - AC

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

    CodeOffencePenalty pointsTime on licence
    AC10Failing to stop after an accident5-104 years
    AC20Failing to give particulars or to report an accident within 24 hours5-104 years
    AC30Undefined accident offences4-94 years
  • Careless driving - CD

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

    CodeOffencePenalty pointsTime on licence
    CD10Driving without due care and attention3-94 years
    CD20Driving without reasonable consideration for other road users3-94 years
    CD30Driving without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other road users3-94 years
    CD40Causing death through careless driving when unfit through drink3-1111 years
    CD50Causing death by careless driving when unfit through drugs3-1111 years
    CD60Causing death by careless driving with alcohol level above the limit3-1111 years
    CD70Causing death by careless driving then failing to supply a specimen for analysis3-1111 years
    CD80Causing death by careless, or inconsiderate, driving3-114 years
    CD90Causing death by driving: Unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured drivers3-114 years
  • Construction and use offences - CU

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

    CodeOffencePenalty pointsTime on licence
    CU10Using a vehicle with defective brakes34 years
    CU20Causing 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 condition34 years
    CU30Using a vehicle with defective tyre(s)34 years
    CU40Using a vehicle with defective steering34 years
    CU50Causing or likely to cause a danger by reason of load or passengers34 years
    CU80Using a mobile phone while driving a motor vehicle34 years
  • Disqualified driver - BA

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

    CodeOffencePenalty pointsTime on licence
    BA10Driving while disqualified by order of court64 years
    BA30Attempting to drive while disqualified by order of court64 years
  • Drink or drugs - DR

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

    CodeOffencePenalty pointsTime on licence
    DR10Driving or attempting to drive with alcohol level above limit3-1111 years
    DR20Driving or attempting to drive while unfit through drink3-1111 years
    DR30Driving or attempting to drive then failing to supply a specimen for analysis3-1111 years
    DR40In charge of a vehicle while alcohol level above the limit104 years
    DR50In charge of a vehicle while unfit through drink104 years
    DR60Failure to provide a specimen for analysis in circumstances other than driving or attempting to drive104 years
    DR70Failing to provide specimen for breath test44 years
    DR80Driving or attempting to drive when unfit through drugs3-1111 years
    DR90In charge of a vehicle when unfit through drugs104 years
  • Insurance offences - IN

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

    CodeOffencePenalty pointsTime on licence
    IN10Using a vehicle uninsured against third party risks (driving without insurance)6-84 years
  • Licence offences - LC

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

    CodeOffencePenalty pointsTime on licence
    LC20Driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence3-64 years
    LC30Driving after making a false declaration about fitness when applying for a licence3-64 years
    LC40Driving a vehicle having failed to notify a disability3-64 years
    LC50Driving after a licence has been revoked or refused on medical grounds3-64 years
  • Miscellaneous offences - MS

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

    CodeOffencePenalty pointsTime on licence
    MS10Leaving a vehicle in a dangerous position3-64 years
    MS20Unlawful pillion riding34 years
    MS30Play street offences24 years
    MS50Motor racing on the highway3-114 years
    MS60Offences not covered by other codesAs appropriate4 years
    MS70Driving with uncorrected defective eyesight34 years
    MS80Refusing to submit to an eyesight test34 years
    MS90Failure to give information as to identity of driver etc64 years
  • Motorway offences - MW

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

    CodeOffencePenalty pointsTime on licence
    MW10Contravention of special roads regulations (excluding speed limits)34 years
  • Pedestrian crossings - PC

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

    CodeOffencePenalty pointsTime on licence
    PC10Undefined contravention of pedestrian crossing regulations34 years
    PC20Contravention of pedestrian crossing regulations with moving vehicle34 years
    PC30Contravention of pedestrian crossing regulations with stationary vehicle34 years
  • Reckless/dangerous driving - DD

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

    CodeOffencePenalty pointsTime on licence
    DD40Dangerous driving3-114 years
    DD60Manslaughter or culpable homicide while driving a vehicle3-114 years
    DD80Causing death by dangerous driving3-114 years
    DD90Furious driving3-94 years
  • Special code - TT

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

    CodeOffenceTime on licence
    TT99To 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 disqualified4 years
  • Speed limits - SP

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

    CodeOffencePenalty pointsTime on licence
    SP10Exceeding goods vehicle speed limits3-64 years
    SP20Exceeding speed limit for type of vehicle (excluding goods or passenger vehicles)3-64 years
    SP30Exceeding statutory speed limit on a public road3-64 years
    SP30Exceeding statutory speed limit on a public road3-64 years
    SP40Exceeding passenger vehicle speed limit3-64 years
    SP50Exceeding speed limit on a motorway3-64 years
  • Traffic direction and signs - TS

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

    CodeOffencePenalty pointsTime on licence
    TS10Failing to comply with traffic light signals34 years
    TS20Failing to comply with double white lines34 years
    TS30Failing to comply with 'Stop' sign34 years
    TS40Failing to comply with direction of a constable/warden34 years
    TS50Failing to comply with traffic sign (excluding 'Stop' signs, traffic lights or double white lines)34 years
    TS60Failing to comply with a school crossing patrol sign34 years
    TS70Undefined failure to comply with a traffic direction sign34 years
  • Theft or unauthorised taking - UT

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

    CodeOffencePenalty pointsTime on licence
    UT50Aggravated taking of a vehicle3-114 years
Load more

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, in December 2019 there were almost 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[2]

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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.

How many points can you have before being disqualified?

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.

Can you insure your car if you've been disqualified?

No, as you’d be breaching the terms of your car insurance because you no longer hold a valid licence.

But you legally have to keep your car insured for at least third party damage to be able to keep it.

If you’re temporarily banned, you can apply for a SORN (Statutory Off-Road Notice) to keep your car insured while you can’t drive it.

After your ban is over, you can apply for car insurance just like anyone else, but you need to tell your insurer about any driving convictions and points on your licence, which could raise the cost.

Car insurance guides and tools

[1]The average price paid for fully comprehensive car insurance in August 2019 for customers with one or more convictions is £528.11

[2]2,699,544 drivers had penalty points on their licence. DVLA December 2019 GB Driving Licence Data

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