Conviction Codes and Car Insurance
Discovering that you have committed a motoring offence can, for many, be a troubling time particularly if you a dependant on your driving licence. Whilst there are no doubt many drivers who can shrug off a few penalty points, for others, they can be genuine cause for concern.
If you have committed a speeding offence (or any type of offence) it is understandable to focus on the immediate problem i.e. the type of offence, the penalty it would attract and the possible solutions . What may be neglected are the long-term consequences of convictions which can often be even more problematic than the penalty imposed by the court. Some convictions like drink driving may result in difficulties in international travel for example.
Each conviction endorsed on a motorist’s licence will have a corresponding code. If you break the 30 mph speed limit for example this will be reflected on your driving record as an SP30. A CU80 means that you have been caught using your mobile telephone whilst driving and if you’ve driven without insurance you will find yourself with an IN10.
But what exactly are these codes for and how do they affect you in the future? The most common use for conviction codes in day-to-day life is for insurance companies to help provide you with a quote for car insurance and this is where the real problem for those who do not defend their cases starts.
TT99, DR10, DD30…… WHAT?
Insurance companies tend to ask you for previous convictions in the last 5 years (up from the previous industry-standard of 4 years) and each blip in your record may nudge your premium up. The helpful customer service agent will enter the conviction code for each offence into their system, which will then (not so helpfully) increase the amount you have to pay to insure your vehicle. Some codes have a minimal effect on premiums such as an SP30 however there are some that will increase your insurance premium by such an extent as to make your eyes water.
For the purposes of this article I am going to give an example using one of the most common problem-codes which is TT99.
The speedsters who are reading this may already be familiar with how damaging these 4 little characters can be if they end up on your record. If you have committed speeding offences in the past but still do not know what this code is, then this article will probably be of most use/interest/shock to you.
TT99 is the code used when someone is disqualified from driving as a “totter” and that is, when someone accumulates 12 points or more in any 3-year period. A motorist can have 3 speeding offences on their licence and most insurance companies these days will pay them little regard. The moment an offence pushes you up to 12 points however is when things get a little more serious. The points accumulated do not have to be from the same offence and there are a range of offences which can attract penalty points such as running a red light, driving without insurance, careless driving, mobile phone offence etc
I used Confused.Com to provide some examples of how devastating this can be and for the purposes of this, I entered the following vehicle details:
- Ford Fiesta Zetek, 2005 (Value estimated – £1350.00)
- 1.4 litre engine
- £250 excess
- 10’000 mileage per year
- Immobiliser and alarm fitted
- 5 years protected no claims bonus
- Parked in a secure garage at home in London
I chose this vehicle as it is not top of the range, it has a small engine and is pretty unremarkable in all specifications. During my first search I stated that I did not have any previous convictions within 5 years which yielded the following results:
Admiral – £500.64
Elephant – £504.00
Diamond – £508.48
Quote Me Happy – £531.50
AXA – £596.53
Halifax – £633.92
For my second search, I kept all details the same except I added in the TT99 code. Shockingly….not one single insurer listed above came up in the search I did with the conviction code. That is not to say these insurers will not provide cover if you are an existing customer renewing the policy, but my search was as a new customer and none of them seemingly wanted anything to do with me or my TT99 code.
The results I did get however (and you may want to make sure you’re sat down) are as follows:
GoSkippy – £1509.71
Debenhams – £1519.71
Quote Detective – £1844.03
Cover Box – £1857.37
Acorn – £2313.23
Insure Wiser – £2395.18
One Call – £2592.95
For comparison purposes, I did the same search with a newer vehicle; a Seat Leon, 1.4 from 2016 with an estimated value of £10,00000 (approximately). All other criteria was kept the same.
Without the TT99 code, the cheapest quote was from Admiral at £575.67 and the most expensive from Acorn at £2909.55. When I added the TT99 code the cheapest I could find was from U-Drive at £1315.30 with Acorn being the most expensive at a whopping £4008.27.
The quotes with a TT99 are staggering when you consider that the conviction needs to be disclosed for five years! If you were insured by Acorn with a TT99 code you would pay over £20,000 to insure a Seat Leon.
Out of curiosity, I went directly to a number of insurers’ sites to see if I could obtain a quote directly that may be different to those on Confused.com. The first three I visited wouldn’t allow me to obtain an online quote once I indicated the existence of a TT99 and so I did not investigate any further.
The good news however is that avoiding a TT99 code is often achievable so if you are about to hit the 12 points mark and want to keep your licence then I would strongly recommend seeking legal advice.