Do I Need to Declare Penalty Points to Insurance Straight Away?

Find affordable car insurance for drivers with convictions and points by answering below.

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How to get cheaper convicted driver insurance
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Janine Marsh
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Janine Marsh

Financial Expert

My name’s Janine, and I’m a mum of two who’s always been passionate about trying to cut down spending costs. I am now sharing as much financial knowledge as I possibly can to help your money go that little bit further.

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Updated 24 August 2023
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Declare Penalty Points to Insurance Straight Away

Do you have to tell insurance about new penalty points straight away? 

This appears to be a straightforward question that should have a simple answer. But if you’ve already searched online, you could be left scratching your head.

I’ll clear up the confusion in this blog. Let’s get started…

How to find the cheapest insurance with a conviction

If you’ve got a conviction or points, getting insurance through a standard provider could be more expensive. 

You might find cheaper deals through specialist insurers.

I’ve partnered with Quotezone who can help you find the best insurance specifically for convicted drivers with points.

Fill out the simple form below to find great quotes for convicted drivers today. 

Find the cheapest insurance for drivers with a conviction

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What is your vehicle type?

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What are penalty points?

As part of a driving conviction, your driving record can be endorsed with penalty points. You can also be fined and even disqualified from driving. 

The number of penalty points that are endorsed on your record depends on the type and nature of the driving offence. For example, your record will be endorsed with more points for dangerous driving or excessive speeding offences than having faulty tyres. 

Some people think they avoid a conviction when they accept a Fixed Penalty Notice. But this isn’t the case; by accepting the Fixed Penalty Notice, you only avoid prosecution in court. 

How many points can you have before being disqualified?

If you get 12 penalty points within a three-year period, you’ll receive a “totting up” driving disqualification. This is recorded on your driving record with a TT99 code endorsement. 

Totting-up driving bans are usually for six months, but the exact length of the ban is at the discretion of a judge. If you were already disqualified from driving within the previous three years, the ban would be for at least one year. 

You can also get disqualified from driving for individual driving offences. 

How to check the points on your licence

You can check how many points you have on your driving record by either:

  1. Visiting the UK government’s website and entering your details. You’ll need your National Insurance number, your driving licence number and the postcode on your licence. 
  1. By calling the DVLA, you’ll also need to verify who you are, possibly with the same details listed above. 

Don’t get ripped off by insurance companies

Getting affordable car insurance with a conviction or points can feel impossible, especially if you’re using standard comparison websites. 

Luckily, there are some specialist insurers out there… you just need to know where to find them!

I’ve partnered with Quotezone to provide access to some of the best specialist convicted drivers’ insurance deals available.


In partnership with QuoteZone

Is it better to do a speed awareness course or take the points?

You might be offered the chance to take a speed awareness course instead of being fined and having penalty points added to your driving record. Of course, a speed awareness course will only be an option if you were caught speeding. 

If this wasn’t your first offence in the last three years or if you exceeded the speed limit by too much, you won’t be offered the chance to take the speed awareness course. 

The exact requirements regarding exceeding the speed limit can be found on this page

You have to pay for the course, which might mean there is no financial benefit in taking the course instead of accepting the fine. But the course will prevent you from receiving penalty points and could provide important speeding education that you can use in the future. 

For this reason, it’s often better to take the course over accepting the penalty points. 

Do you have to send your driving licence off when you get points?

Yes, you usually have to send off your driving licence when penalty points will be added to your record. You’ll be instructed on how and when to do this. 

Where do I send my driving licence for points to be added?

You may need to send your driving licence to a police station or a Fixed Penalty office (FPO) when penalty points are to be added to your record. You might not have to do this if you’re going to appear in court. 

Your driving licence will be sent back to you unless the licence is going to be cancelled as a result of the offence. In this case, the licence is forwarded to the DVLA instead. It might also be sent to the DVLA if you’ve recently changed address and let them know. 

When do penalty points start taking effect?

Penalty points can be applied to your driving record either from the date of the offence or the date you’re convicted. 

The exact rules differ between offence types and whether you’re disqualified from driving as a result of the offence. 

How long does it take for points to come off your licence?

Penalty points remain on your driving record for either four or eleven years from the date of the offence or the date of the conviction. 

Whether they stay on your record for four or eleven years depends on the type of offence committed. 

However, this should not be confused with the length of time it takes for the motoring conviction to become “spent”. In the majority of cases, a driving conviction becomes “spent” after five years.

How long do points stay on your licence in Scotland?

In Scotland, penalty points are valid for three years but stay on your driving record for four years. 

How long do points stay on your licence in Northern Ireland?

In Northern Ireland, penalty points stay on your driving record for four or eleven years – the same as in England and Wales. 

Do I need to declare points to insurance?

Yes, you must declare unspent driving convictions to prospective insurers when you apply for a car insurance policy. 

How long do you have to declare points to insurers?

You’re only obligated to disclose driving convictions that are unspent, which typically means you only have to disclose driving convictions that occurred within the last five years. 

Some insurance companies will ask about driving convictions and the points on your licence that you received within the last ten years. They will also ask about other criminal convictions. 

Although the insurance company is allowed to ask this question, there are two important things to know:

  1. You are not obligated to tell an insurer about convictions that are spent.
  2. The insurer cannot increase your car insurance premiums based on any spent convictions that were disclosed. 

How will penalty points affect my insurance quote?

Yes, an unspent driving conviction and the penalty points you received as a result will negatively affect your insurance quotes. 

Because you have points on your licence, you’re considered a riskier driver compared to a driver that has no points on their licence. Generally speaking, the more points you have the greater the risk you’ll be perceived. 

The insurance company will believe you’re more likely to be involved in a road incident than someone with no penalty points. Consequently, they want to offset the risk of insuring you by making you pay more to be insured. 

This is quite common. Just think of a house in a flood zone and one not in a flood zone. The insurance company will ask the homeowner of the property in the flood zone to pay more in insurance because there is more chance their home will be flooded and they will make a claim. 

The same logic applies to car insurance. 

Do insurers know if you have points?

Insurance companies don’t immediately know if you have penalty points on your record. 

But that’s not the full story…

Can insurers find out if you have points?

Yes, insurance companies can check your driving record if they so wish. 

They must get your permission to do this, but it’s likely you give them permission to check your record when you apply for a policy. 

Will my insurance company check if I have points?

A vehicle insurance company is likely to check if you have penalty points and unspent convictions. 

They might not do this straight away when you apply for the policy. But they could do it in the weeks or months after. 

Do insurance companies get notified of points?

Insurance companies won’t be automatically updated if one of their insured drivers receives a driving conviction and penalty points.

But they might find this information out if they decide to check your driving record. 

Do you have to tell insurance about points straight away?

If you look online, you’ll find conflicting information on whether you need to tell an insurer about new penalty points immediately. Some reputable sources say you don’t – including MoneyHelper – whereas other sources say you do. 

The reason this isn’t black and white is that the terms and conditions of individual car insurance policies differ. 

Some insurance providers add to the terms and conditions that they must be notified of new driving convictions and penalty points, whereas others don’t ask for this. 

So, it’s best to check the terms of your current policy to see if you have to tell insurance companies about new penalty points straight away. Or call them if you’re not 100% sure. It’s always better to be sure than sorry in this situation. 

You must tell your insurance provider if you’re disqualified from driving straight away. 

When should I tell insurance about points?

You must tell insurance companies about unspent penalty points when you:

  1. Renew an existing policy
  2. Apply for a new policy
  3. And possibly, during a policy depending on the terms of the policy you agreed to

What happens if I don’t declare points on insurance?

If you don’t disclose unspent convictions and penalty points, your insurance policy won’t be valid and you’ll leave yourself vulnerable to legal claims and financial loss if you needed to make a claim. 

The unspent convictions and points of all named drivers must be disclosed to keep a policy active. 

What happens if I forget to tell my insurance company about points?

But what happens if you make an honest mistake and forget to tell your insurance company about points when you renew the policy?

This situation isn’t that uncommon. Here’s one familiar account posted to a well-known online forum:

What happens if I forget to tell my insurance company about points


So, what’s likely to happen? 

The insurance provider will probably tell you that the policy isn’t active and wouldn’t have been active should you have needed to make a claim. They will adjust your insurance premiums going forward to ensure the policy now covers you, which means an increase in payments.

On top of this, I have known instances where the insurance company tries to backdate payments to recover the money you weren’t paying. This is despite the fact that the insurance company wouldn’t have paid out because it didn’t know about your penalty points.

Doesn’t seem fair, does it?

How much will a previous driving ban affect my car insurance costs?

Penalty points alone can increase your insurance premiums, but a previous driving ban can do a lot more damage. You might be quoted double or even triple the amount you used to pay for insurance before a ban, and some insurance companies might not touch you. 

As a result, you’ll have to look harder to find the cheapest high-risk driver insurance

How do I get cheaper car insurance if I have penalty points?

There might be ways to get cheaper car insurance if you have unspent penalty points on your licence. You could do one or more of the following:

  1. Insure a vehicle that is typically less expensive to insure because it’s less powerful
  1. Search away from the mainstream insurance market for more understanding companies. They may market their policies with different terms, such as convicted driver insurance or disqualified driver insurance
  1. Get help from a car insurance broker who specifically helps people with penalty points on their records. 

Affordable Convicted Driver Insurance

To help you avoid some of the ludicrously expensive packages out there and actually find something reasonable I’ve partnered with Quotezone.

They bring together some of the best specialist deals for convicted drivers to make your search easier. 

Try it below.


In partnership with QuoteZone

How much does it cost to have points removed from a driving licence?

It’s not possible to pay to have penalty points removed from your driving licence. 

You can only accept a place on a speed awareness course in limited cases to avoid penalty points. 

If you have a question I didn’t cover above, I encourage you to get in touch and ask me your question directly. 

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My name’s Janine, and I’m a mum of two who’s always been passionate about trying to cut down spending costs. I am now sharing as much financial knowledge as I possibly can to help your money go that little bit further.
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