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How long do points stay on your licence?

Penalty points can increase your insurance costs. Getting too many penalty points on your licence could even result in a minimum 6-month driving ban. 

But how long do points stay on your licence? Our guide explains everything you need to know. 

A driver being pulled over by a police officer for a driving offence

What is a driving endorsement?

A driving endorsement is usually when penalty points are placed on your driving record because you’ve been convicted of a driving offence. Or you might have accepted a fixed penalty that includes an endorsement of points.

Driving offences have different endorsement codes, which correspond to the number of penalty points that can be added to your licence. 

The minimum number of penalty points for a driving offence that can be put on your licence is 3. But the more serious driving offences can carry a maximum of 11 points.

Some examples of driving endorsements include:

  • Speeding offences
  • Drink-driving
  • Driving while using your mobile phone
  • Driving without car insurance

For more information, see our guide on motoring conviction codes.

How long do points stay on your licence?

Penalty points for speeding usually stay on your licence for 4 years. But car insurance companies often keep driving offences on record for 5 years.

But a driving endorsement remains on your driving record for 4 to 11 years, depending on the severity of the driving offence.

Penalty points for serious driving offences like drink-driving or causing death by dangerous driving can be on your licence for 11 years.

How many points do I have on my licence?

You can find out how many penalty points you have on your licence by accessing your driving record. 

You can do this through the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) information service on the GOV.UK portal.

To check your driving licence points, you'll need to enter:

  • Your driving licence number
  • Your National Insurance number
  • The postcode on your driving licence

What is ‘totting up’?

Totting up is when you gain 12 or more penalty points on your driving licence within a 3-year period. 

This means you you've had more than 1 driving endorsement in that time.

If you get more than 12 points on your licence, you may be banned from driving by a court for a minimum of 6 months.

But driving bans through totting up can be longer if you’ve been disqualified from driving before. The ban could reach up to 12 months. 

How many points do you get for speeding?

The number of penalty points for speeding range from 3 to 6. 

The more serious the speeding offence, the more points you get.

For example, breaching a speed limit by 5 mph tends to be treated as a lesser offence than going over the speed limit by 20 mph near a traffic camera.

But where you went over the speed limit can also affect the number of penalty points imposed. For example, exceeding the speed limit outside a school could be treated as a more serious offence.

Your driving record can also be taken into account. So you could get more penalty points if you’ve been convicted of speeding offences in the past.

How many points can you get on your licence?

There’s no upper limit on how many points you can get on your licence. 

But getting 12 points or more within a 3-year period usually results in a minimum driving ban of 6 months.

Someone charged with multiple driving offences at the same time could find themselves with more than 12 points. The most serious driving offences, including drink-driving, carry up to 11 penalty points on their own.

How many points can I get as a new driver?

If you’re a new driver and get 6 or more penalty points within the first 2 years of passing your test, your licence can be revoked. 

To get your licence back, you need to retake both the theory test and practical part of your driving test.

Any penalty points you get on a provisional driver’s licence are carried over onto your full driving licence.

Can I get points removed from my driving licence?

No, you can't remove penalty points from your licence once they're added. They should be removed by the DVLA after 4 to 11 years when they expire.

But, if you're caught speeding, you may be given the option to attend a speed awareness course rather than receive penalty points. 

Do you have to tell your insurance company about points straight away?

Most insurers don’t require you to tell them about penalty points straight away. But they do expect you to tell them about points you’ve gained when you renew your car insurance policy. 

If you get penalty points, you should check your policy wording just in case.

Some insurance companies also insist you tell them about any speed awareness courses you take. Although a speed awareness course doesn’t result in points on your licence, from a risk perspective, it’s relevant for the insurer.

When you apply for car insurance, you’re required by law to tell insurers about any penalty points that are still on your driving record.

Points on your licence are likely to make your car insurance prices go up. In some cases, convicted drivers might find their options for cover to be quite limited.

That’s why it’s important to shop around for an insurance company that can give you the correct cover that isn't overly expensive.

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