One question you are asked when applying for car insurance is if you have a clean driving licence. If the answer is no, you need to tell the insurance company how many penalty points you have on your licence. But if you withhold this information or lie, how can car insurance providers find out about points by themselves?
Remember that all driving licence data is held by the Driver and Vehicles Licensing Agency (DVLA) and this data includes the points on every licence. Under the MyLicence scheme, most insurers have access to data points, though price comparison sites don’t. If you obtain an insurance quote from a price comparison site and do not disclose the full amount of points your licence has, you may receive quotes, but if you go ahead with purchasing the insurance based on wrong information, the insurance company will almost certainly find out that you have not been truthful and the insurance policy will be invalid. The MyLicence system will not reveal any spent convictions, however.
It is important that you are honest when reporting if you have any points on your licence. The chances are that if you don’t disclose your full penalty points figure, you will be found out, and it is simply not a risk worth taking.
What happens if you are not sure about how many points you have?
Driving licences used to have an accompanying paper document that detailed your points. Now the paper part has been abolished, you may not be sure about how many points you have. The DVLA Shared Driving Licence Service can be used to find out your penalty points or disqualifications. Be sure to check rather than guess.
What are penalty points?
Penalty points are given for motoring offence convictions. Minor offences are worth three points, and more serious offences can cost up to 11 points. If you have 12 points or more within a three-year period, you can be disqualified from driving, usually for a minimum of 12 months.
Minor offences such as driving with a headlight not working or with under-inflated tyres may only be worth three points, but points can add up and eventually exceed the 12 point disqualification limit. New drivers can have their licence suspended after only six points.
It’s important to note that points remain on your driving licence record for four years.
How do points affect insurance premiums?
If you have points on your licence, your insurance premiums will increase. This may not happen immediately after conviction, but when it comes to renewing the policy. Though there may not be an immediate increase, you should inform your insurance company when convicted of a motoring offence.
Some insurers regard speeding as a more serious offence, as they believe that speeding motorists are more likely to cause an accident and will significantly raise insurance premiums.
Driving safely is its own reward financially, as this reduces the risk of accidents and makes sure that motoring convictions do not increase the cost of insuring your car.
Always obey speed limits even on quiet roads. You may spot speed cameras, but you never know where a police patrol car is hiding.