Having three points on your driving licence makes little difference to insurance cost

Having three penalty points added to your driving licence has little impact on car insurance premiums, new research has revealed, but six or more results in far costlier cover.  

Car insurance premiums remain largely flat if a driver goes from zero to three points on their licence, with the average annual cost increasing from £700 to £705, according to data from Compare the Market.

However, if you jump from three to six points, the average premium shoots up by more than £200 to reach £937, suggesting this is the big tipping point and insurers see two misdemeanors as way more riskier than insuring someone with one.  

The cost of insurance nudges progressively higher the more points are added to your licence, reaching an average premium of £1,009 for those with 12 points.

The cost of insurance gets progressively higher the more points are added to your licence

In March 2021, 2.64million drivers had points on their licence according to Compare the Market’s analysis of the DVLA’s latest figures.

This represents a 3 per cent decrease compared with March 2020 when 2.72million drivers had points on their licence, despite a year of travel curbs and lockdowns due to the pandemic. 

Penalty points typically stay on a driver’s record for four years, although they are only active for the first three years.

For more serious offences, such as causing death by dangerous driving or drink-driving, the points will stay on a driver’s licence for 11 years.

At present, 1.9million UK drivers have three penalty points on their record, 517,000 have six and 84,000 have nine. A further 5,806 have twelve and 3,075 have 13 or over.  

Some 71 per cent of all penalty points were given to men and 60 per cent of points were given to drivers over the age of 40, examination of the DVLA’s figures reveals.

Expensive: The higher the number of penalty points, the higher the premiums are for drivers

Expensive: The higher the number of penalty points, the higher the premiums are for drivers

Looking at the most recent Department for Transport data available – from 2017 to 2019 – 72 per cent of all penalty points given were for speeding offences in the three years.

A further 12 per cent were given for licence, insurance and record-keeping offences and 4 per cent were given for dangerous or drunken driving. 

Motorists can be disqualified from driving if they build up 12 or more penalty points within a period of three years.

However, for new drivers, their licence will be revoked if they get six or more points within two years of passing their test. 

For those with low end speeding offences detected by automatic camera devices and police officers, they may be offered to take a four hour National Speed Awareness Course in place of having three points put on their licence. 

In March 2021, 2.64million drivers had points on their licence, Compare the Market says

In March 2021, 2.64million drivers had points on their licence, Compare the Market says

Areas with highest number of penalty points

Maidenhead (SL6) is the area with the largest number of drivers with points at 5,484.

This is followed by Northampton (NN3) at 4,994 and Slough (SL1) at 4,377.

The SL3 area of Slough also makes the list with 3,610 drivers having points on their licence.   

Dan Hutson, head of motor insurance at Compare the Market, 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.’

He added 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.’

PostcodeAreaNumber of drivers with points
Source: Compare the Market  

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