Paying the penalty: how much points on your licence add to insurance bills

Figures show the huge difference a driving conviction can make to average premiums

Monday, 17th May 2021, 11:58 am
Being fined for breaking the law can just be the start of a driver's problems

Penalty points for breaking motoring laws cost UK drivers a combined £159 million a year in extra insurance costs, according to new analysis.

As well as the immediate fine that usually comes with a motoring conviction, insurers take a dim view of drivers with endorsements on their licence, resulting in higher premiums for offenders.

The analysis of millions of insurance quotes by Compare the Market shows that for one-time lawbreakers, the additional cost is relatively small but it jumps significantly for anyone with more than three points, adding almost 100 per cent to premiums for the worst offenders.

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Speeding remains the most common reason for a driver to be given penalty points

According to quotes examined by the comparison site, three penalty points results in an increase of just £5, taking premiums from £700 to £705. However, moving up to six penalty points - for instance being caught using a phone while driving or getting a second speeding fine - suddenly adds more than £200, taking average premiums to £937.

As expected, the cost of insurance continues to rise as the number of endorsements climbs, with drivers carrying 12 points paying £1,009 per year. Beyond that, anyone lucky enough not to have been disqualified will be paying an average of £1,356 per year for insurance.

In gathering the data Compare the Market also looked at the offences behind the penalty points, revealing that speeding was by far the most common reason for a licence endorsement.

Between 2017 and 2019, a massive 72 per cent of all penalty points were handed out for speeding offences. Department for Transport figures showed that A further 12 per cent were given for licence, insurance and record-keeping offences, and four per cent were given for dangerous or drunken driving.

Dan Hutson, head of motor insurance, comparethemarket.com, said: “Motorists may not realise the long-term cost that poor driving can have on car insurance premiums. Our research shows the increase in premiums is often greater than the initial fine for irresponsible driving. Drivers will also face the more expensive premiums in each of the four years that the penalty points remain on their licence.

“The cost of car insurance typically rises when motorists receive points as insurers believe this increases the risk profile of the driver. Those with points on their licence are usually considered more likely to be in an accident, and therefore pay more for their policy. Our research shows that drivers aged over 40 are more likely to have points on their licence.

“While we have seen a substantial decline in car journeys because of lockdown restrictions, it is concerning that the number of drivers with penalty points has remained roughly the same as in the previous year. Beyond the obvious safety concerns, drivers should hopefully be incentivised by the financial impact to take care when on the road or risk being charged a significantly more for cover.”