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Do Motoring Convictions Really Make a Difference to Insurance Premiums?

Basically ... yes. End of Story.

Every motoring conviction involves receiving (1) points on the licence that could add up to enough to cause a driver to be banned for a period, and (2) a fine. Both of these will be of a greater or lesser amount, depending on the offence. For instance, a basic speeding conviction (an SP30) carries a maximum of three points and a £60 fixed penalty fine (soon to rise to £100); some of the more serious offences such as dangerous driving carry up to 11 points and a £2,500 fine. How long the conviction stays on the licence varies between the offences, too – an SP30 will stay there for three years and be noted for insurance purposes for five; some offences such as drug-driving stay on the licence for up to 11 years.

On top of all this, convictions must (by law) be reported to your insurance company when received (or the company can declare the policy invalid and refuse to pay out on any claims) and then they will increase the premium.

In August 2013, the results of an investigation into car insurance premiums were published by comparison website, giving the costs to a sample driver of having the various convictions added to his policy - and they make interesting reading!

The sample driver was a 30-year-old male advertising manager driving a 5 year old Ford Focus around Ipswich. With a clean licence, his premium was £387.

A single conviction for one of the 'less serious' offences – eg speeding (SP30), running a red light (TS10), a bald tyre* (CU30) or using a mobile phone (CU80) – all of which carry the maximum three points and fixed penalty fine - would result in a premium increase of around 24%. £91-£93 for their Ipswich manager, raising his annual premium to £478-£480.

* Do remember that the bald tyre offence is "per corner" – that is, if all four tyres' treads were below the legal 1.6mm limit (quite apart from the safety issues involved), someone might go straight from a clean licence to being banned and having a £400 fine to pay!

The offences the government consider more serious for these purposes carry much heavier penalties and commensurately higher premium hikes. The ones looked into, and the difference they made to their Ipswich manager's premiums are as follows:

Careless driving (CD10) – 50% rise (an additional £194 = £581 total)
Drink driving (DR10) – 70% rise (£270 = £657)
Driving without insurance (IN10) – 86% rise (£331 = £717)
Not stopping after an accident (AC10) – 107% rise (£414 = £801)
Causing serious injury by dangerous driving (DD10) – 207% rise (£800 = £1,187)

And that's just the first year; the hikes continue for the length of the conviction, so the £93 hike for a speeding conviction becomes £465 extra over five years; and although the drug-driving premium hike will be gradually reduced on a sliding scale, it will increase that driver's premiums for the next 11 years ...

So, yes. They make a BIG difference.

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