Lifestyle Guides

How do penalty points affect your insurance?

Speeding penalties could cost you more on your car insurance. Find out how motoring conviction codes affect your driving licence.

conviction codes

Motoring conviction codes, fixed penalty notices, endorsements - lots of different words which usually mean the same thing, penalty points on your driving licence.

Over 2.9 million UK full driving licence holders had penalty points on their licence between March 2013 and March 2014, according to figures from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

Sometimes the problem stems from the fact lots of drivers don't know their SP30s (exceeding statutory speed limit on a public road) from their SP50s (exceeding speed limit on a motorway), which is why we've done the leg work for you.

We give you the lowdown on driving without insurance, penalty points and car insurance - and the connection between them all. If you have ever wondered: "Do penalty points affect car insurance?" read on and find out.

Penalty points and the police

Before the penalty points system was introduced, motorists were simply fined or banned if they were caught breaking the rules of the road. The introduction of the new system in 1988 was part of an attempt to provide the Courts with another method of punishing repeat offenders.

The new system allows Courts to endorse a person's driving licence with points; the number of points a driver receives depends on the severity of the offence. Having a points system that can be monitored means the effects of the punishments can be measured and motorists who continue to offend could face a driving ban.

From Notice of Intended Prosecution to points

The police are responsible for handing out penalty points to drivers, but how you get the points depends on the offence itself. Speeding penalty points, for example, could come from a fixed camera, a parked speed van, an officer with a speed gun or you may just be pulled over by a police officer.

You may be given a verbal warning if you're pulled over, or potentially an on-the-spot fine and an endorsement if you have your licence with you. If you don't, you'll be required to produce your licence to the police within seven days to have the points added.

If you're caught speeding by a camera you'll be sent a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) which will explain the offence. You'll need to reply within 28 days, sending back the name and details of the person driving at the time.

Penalty points and your driving licence

Most types of penalty points, things like SP30s (speeding on a public road) and CU80s (using your mobile phone) are on the licence for four years. SP30s and CU80s are two of the most common driving offence codes held by drivers in the UK, with over a million drivers having at least one of them between March 2013 and March 2014.

However, some offences could remain on your licence for up to 11 years because of their severity:

  • Drink driving or drug driving, offence codes which start DR
  • Offence codes CD40 to CD70, causing death by careless driving, whether due to alcohol or drugs

How do motoring conviction codes affect your car insurance?

When starting a new car insurance policy you should be honest about any previous claims or motoring offences as it could affect your cover.

A member of Admiral's Pricing team said:

"It's important to disclose all the relevant facts about previous motoring offences, penalty points, speed awareness courses/driver improvement courses etc. We aim to protect our customers by ensuring their policy information is correct before an accident occurs; this allows the Claims team to look to pay out a claim in full rather than the potential of not paying the claim, or paying a lower amount.

"Our claims statistics have proven that customers with penalty points and motoring offences in the last five years, have more driving incidents and make more claims. This is why we need to know about them before offering a quote."

The five most common motoring convictions for men

Conviction code Total
SP30 Exceeding statutory speed limit on a public road 641,493
SP50 Exceeding speed limit on a motorway 102,221
IN10 Using a vehicle uninsured against third party risks 98,469
CU80 Breach of requirements as to control of the vehicle, mobile telephone etc 86,043
DR10 Driving or attempting to drive with alcohol level above limit 50,511

The five most common motoring convictions for women:

Conviction code Total
SP30 Exceeding statutory speed limit on a public road 290,322
SP50 Exceeding speed limit on a motorway 28,992
CU80 Breach of requirements as to control of the vehicle, mobile telephone etc 24,030
TS10 Failing to comply with traffic light signals 22,186
IN10 Using a vehicle uninsured against third party risks 20,363

Speeding tickets

Some 2.4 million speeding offences were detected in England and Wales in 2018-2019; a record-breaking year, according to data analysis from the RAC Foundation.

Of the 2,386,780 speeding offences detected:

  • 44% attended a speed awareness course
  • 34% got fixed penalty notices (FPNs)
  • 12% were cancelled
  • 10% ended up in court 

The minimum penalty for speeding is a £100 fine and three penalty points added to your licence, unless you’re give the option of attending a speed awareness course. 

If you get 12 points within three years you could lose your licence.

Speed awareness courses 

Not everyone who receives a speeding ticket gets the option of attending a speed awareness course, rather than paying the fine and taking the penalty points.

You’re only eligible to attend a speeding course if:

  • You haven't attended a speed awareness course within the last three years 
  • The speed you were travelling at falls within the acceptable speed range (speed limit + 10% + 9mph). For example, in a 30mph zone you could attend a course if you were caught speeding up to 42mph. 

How much is a speed awareness course?

Contrary to popular belief, speed awareness courses are not run by the police, they’re independently run and regulated by the National Association of Driver Intervention Providers. The costs of the course vary but you can expect to pay in the region of £100. 

By attending a course, you don’t pay the speeding fine and you don’t get points on your licence. 

5 Star Defaqto rated comprehensive cover from Admiral