That little letter ?awarding? us points on our licence is something we all dread and unfortunately many of us may experience this at one point or other during our driving career.
Indeed, over the next year it is predicted that 1.5 million drivers will find themselves landed with penalty points. Assuming an average ?60 fine, this equates to around ?90 million in fines.
The big question is: just how does this impact upon your insurance policy and does the price rise exponentially with each successive set of points you receive?
The answer it seems can be both yes and no. Most insurers say that for a single speeding offence, especially one dealt with without need for a court appearance and where the driver is otherwise considered to be ?low risk?, the cost is likely to be fairly minimal.
However, all that changes for a second offence. According to communications company Tiscali you can expect your car insurance policy to rise by 30% on average if you are caught speeding twice and a possible 60% if you are caught speeding for a third time within a 5-year period.
Of course, things are not always as clear-cut as this and many other factors can affect the way this impacts on your policy. If you have also suffered an accident and claimed on your insurance policy, this combined with the points you have received can cause a much bigger rise than either factor taken into consideration separately.
An older driver with several years? no-claims bonus may find it does not affect his or her policy anywhere near as much as a younger driver, seen as less experienced and a higher risk in the insurer?s eyes. Indeed, if you are unfortunate enough to be under the age of 25 and receive points on your licence it can cost you dearly.
It is worth noting that some police forces have introduced speed awareness courses that in some circumstances will allow you to avoid the three points on your licence in exchange for attending a day?s course.
This is only offered to those who have exceeded the speed limit by a small margin (for example less than 38 mph in a 30 mph zone). Some forces operate a lower tolerance level than this ? and don?t forget that you will be charged for attending the course, usually the same amount as the fine would have been. And you will have to take a day off work.
Of course it is best if you can avoid getting points on your licence in the first place, if you can help it. Driving responsibly and within the speed limit will help ensure the safety of not only yourself but those around you.
If you do find yourself on the receiving end of a set of points the best thing you can do is to shop around and not accept the first quote you receive.
It is also important you don?t ?forget? to tell your insurer of your points as you will find your motor insurance policy instantly voided should they find out you have not disclosed them.