You are in the process of shopping around for car insurance around your renewal time and the dreaded question comes up: “have you had any motoring convictions in the last five years?” Declaring penalty points is critical to making sure that your policy will be paid out should you have an accident; in fact, you are obligated to declare any penalty points to your insurer as soon as it happens. This month we explore the link between penalty points and car insurance premiums and look at why this is and how you can avoid being penalised twice.
What are penalty points?
Penalty points were introduced in the UK in 1988 to help target repeat offenders. The number of points that can be added to a licence – known as an endorsement – will depend on the offence and its severity.
What can I get penalty points for?
Penalty points are issued for a wide variety of offences, including:
- Speeding – and there is a difference between speeding on a motorway or a public road
- Driving under the influence of drink or drugs
- Reckless driving
- Causing death by reckless driving
- Not having insurance cover
- Breaching requirements for safely controlling a vehicle – such as using a mobile phone
Penalty points will stay on your licence for anything between four and eleven years, depending on the offence and whether or not you have received a conviction for it. For example, speeding can lead to three points for a period of four years, but driving under the influence will stay on your licence for eleven.
How to avoid getting penalty points
The most obvious way of course is to stick to the Highway Code and drive safely and sensibly. Sometimes we go over the speed limit and get caught doing it, resulting in three penalty points and a fine. It is possible to avoid having your licence endorsed with the penalty points by attending a Speed Awareness course. You can only do this if you have not already done so before in the previous three years and you have not exceeded the speed limit by a stated amount. You will have to pay to attend this but you will avoid the penalty points.
Penalty points and your insurance
Insurance companies will penalise motorists with higher premiums where they have endorsements on their licence. This is because you are more likely to have an accident that they will have to pay out for so they will attempt to cover that by charging higher premiums to encourage safer driving. By declaring any points you already have you may be paying more, but if you do need to file a claim you are not running the risk of a lower or no payout when your insurer finds out that you have not been honest.
Avoid penalty points by driving legally and safely. Don’t have a vehicle and need one? CVS Van Hire is here to help with a wide variety of vehicle options. Give us a call on 020 8003 2785 and we’ll help you find what you need.