Why a speed awareness course could hike up your insurance premiums _ money _ the guardian

Most drivers realise that if you get caught speeding, you are going to be punished. Canadian direct insurance vancouver In the UK, motorists committing minor offences for the first time have a choice: instead of a three-point penalty and a £100 fine they can opt to attend a speed awareness course.

Most police forces offer a course to drivers who are caught speeding between 10% plus 2 and 10% plus 9 of the legal limit. Canadian direct insurance login In other words, if you get caught driving between 35mph and 42mph in a 30mph zone, or between 79mph and 86mph in a 70mph zone.

The course, which takes place in a classroom rather than a car, has been developed by psychologists and aims to educate rather than prosecute motorists in an attempt to improve road safety. Direct national insurance company The courses are four hours long and aren’t much cheaper than the fine, with the typical cost being about £85. Insurance direct inc You can only attend one once every three years, which means if you offend again within that period you will have to take the points.

The speed awareness course is a popular choice. Direct auto insurance fax number Figures from the National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme show that in 2014 alone, nearly 1.2 million drivers completed the course. Insurance direct salvage But while taking it means that police do not record your speeding offence as a conviction, few motorists realise that going on a speeding course can still push up your car insurance premiums. Direct insurance nashville What’s more, younger drivers who typically face a much higher cost of cover, will face a more severe increase.

Julie Robertson, the head of the driving offences team at law firm Simpson Millar, says: “There is no question that having taken part in a speeding course can, and often will, inflate a person’s insurance premium – sometimes quite substantially.

“Several of my clients have reported significant rises in their insurance premiums after they attended a speeding course, and subsequently informed their insurer. Direct auto insurance nashville tn Clearly, it is interpreted as an element of enhanced risk despite the fact that it might actually be the opposite.”

Admiral Group is one insurer that increases premiums. One insurance direct A spokesman at the firm, which includes companies such as Admiral, elephant.co.uk, Diamond, and confused.com, said: “Attending a speed awareness course is something we take into account when calculating a premium. Dial direct car insurance number Although a speed awareness course is a replacement for penalty points, it doesn’t change the fact that the person involved has committed a speeding offence.

“Our claims statistics show that drivers who have committed a speeding offence are a higher risk than drivers who do not commit speeding offences in the first place.”

Ian Crowder, a spokesman for the AA, disputes this. Direct choice insurance services “Actuarially, those who have committed a speeding offence are more likely to go on to make a fault claim,” he says. Phone number for direct line car insurance “But those who go on a speed awareness course learn something, don’t collect points and we believe, go on to be better drivers and thus less likely to make a fault claim.”

Robertson agrees. Open and direct car insurance “Increasing a motorist’s premium simply because they have attended a speed awareness course is utterly unfair,” she says. Direct auto insurance customer service “Unlike a fixed penalty or court-endorsed speeding offence, a speed awareness course does not in any way represent a conviction.”

Attending a speed awareness course makes drivers aware of the dangers of speeding, Robertson adds. One call direct car insurance “It should be seen as a positive move, not something to be punished for with an increased insurance premium.”

The Department of Transport is carrying out a study to find out if this is the case. Auto direct car insurance phone number In the meantime, motorists should shop around for the best deal.

Unlike penalty points, insurance firms cannot check whether a driver has taken a speed awareness course unless they admit to it, as this information is held by local police forces rather than the DVLA. Can direct insurance However, if you fail to reveal that you have and later make a claim, you could find that your policy is invalid.

Opting for points on your licence as an alternative to attending a speeding course is likely to increase your insurance premium even further. Canadian direct auto insurance quote Points are considered an admission of guilt and a legal conviction. Call direct auto insurance Figures from the AA show that drivers with a single speeding conviction are 10-12% more likely to make a claim than those with a clean licence. Direct auto insurance claims It is therefore no surprise that the more penalty points someone has recorded on their licence, the more likely drivers are to face increases in their insurance premiums.

According to the AA, a first speeding conviction might typically add about 12.2% to premiums. Direct insurance marketing inc For example, a 35-year-old Ford Mondeo driver in Gloucester could expect to see his annual premium increase from £569 to £639.

Although the courts only consider convictions to be relevant for a period of three years from the date of the offence, some insurers take penalty points into account for a period of five years.

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