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How Do Penalty Points Affect Car Insurance?

Posted on 30th October 2022
How Do Penalty Points Affect Car Insurance?

Driving safely and in compliance with the law is something all drivers must adhere to, and for the most part, many do. Unfortunately, though, some people do the opposite, sometimes by accident, other times due to being complicit in illegal activity.

Whilst some offences result in a gentle word from a police officer, others can result in a prosecution that could see penalty points applied to your license, massively increased insurance premiums and in some cases, a driving ban or prison term.

Today, we look at penalty points and how they can affect your car insurance.

What are penalty points?

Penalty points are applied to your driver’s licence when you commit an offence. However, the severity of the offence will determine how many points you get and how long they are on your licence.

Some offences will result in a court appearance whilst others are seen as less minor and may be sanctioned at the time of the offence. This is where a fixed penalty notice will be applied. Even though they may be minor offences, they could potentially result in accidents and injuries.

However, both carry the punishment of penalty points as a minimum.

How long do penalty points last?

The points you accrue are applied to your license for a set period, with that time varying depending on the severity of the offence.

4-year terms are applied to the more minor offences, whilst 11 years are applied when the offence is more serious. Once these points are on your licence, both insurers and employers can find out that you have such a penalty. If you have a 4-year term, they can see this at any time, if you have points applied for 11 years, they can see these for the first 5 years of the penalty.

If you were to break the law again, whilst the points are on your license, you could find yourself in significant trouble. Points hold a validity of 3 years on a 4-year penalty and 10 years on an 11-year penalty. Therefore, if you committed an offence during this period of validity, a court would likely take them into account.

How do I know how many penalty points I have?

You can view your penalty points via the government website as long as you have your NI number and your driver’s license to hand. If you are unsure of what type of penalty points you may be likely to receive, check our table below:

Offence Category Penalty Points
Accident offences 4-10
Disqualified driver offences 3-11
Careless driving 3-11
Construction and use (driving a defective car) 3-6
Reckless and dangerous driving 3-11
Drink or drug driving offences 3-11
Insurance offences 6-8
Licence offences 3-6
Motorway offences 3
Pedestrian crossing offences 3
Speeding offences 3-6
Traffic directions offences 3


As you can see, the level of points can vary quite significantly and very easily go from being on your licence for 11 years rather than 4.

Do all penalty points affect car insurance?

In short, yes – you have committed an offence and had penalty points applied to your licence, therefore an insurer may see you as more of a risk. The experts at insurance firm Admiral state that an offence where you have used your mobile phone could see you hit with 6 points, a £200 fine and a potential for insurance premiums to rise by as much as 86%. That’s almost double!

The change in insurance premiums will largely be determined by the points applied to your licence. For example, a speeding offence that only sees three points added to your licence could see insurance costs rise by 23%, but when 9 points are applied, it could be as much as 68%.

In some cases, insurers may not wish to insure you at all if you have points on your licence.

Can insurers see how many penalty points I have?

When you apply for car insurance, you are required to inform the provider of any driving convictions accumulated over the prior 5 years. Even one will see your premiums increased. The more severe the offence, the higher the premiums.

It is a legal requirement to inform your provider that you have accumulated points. Otherwise, your policy could be invalidated and then open you up to the risk of driving whilst not insured. As mentioned previously, insurers may be able to establish you have points on your licence at any time during a 4-year penalty or the first 5 years of an 11-year penalty.

How many penalty points until you are banned from driving?

Once you accumulate 12 or more points within a three-year period, you will find yourself having your licence revoked for a set period. The severity of the offence will be taken into account and any circumstances around it. However, if you offend again, the ban can be substantially longer. In some cases, you may have to retake a driving test.

If you are a new driver, things can be much tougher. If you pick up 6 points within 2 years of getting your licence, you will have it taken away and have to apply for a new one and pass both the theory and practical tests again at your expense.


The best thing to do is drive safely, abide by the law and be honest and open with your insurer.

If you are looking to secure a new vehicle but are concerned that previous penalty points may affect your chances, speak to us. We understand circumstances can change from day to day. Many car firms vary in whom they can offer finance to, and that is why Euphoria Finance operate on a strict case-by-case basis. This means that our cheap car loans are suitable for everyone, whether it is used car finance deals you are in the market for, or a brand-new model. In addition, our transparent and open policy means that even drivers with bad finance history can secure a vehicle thanks to our poor credit car finance options.

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