Criminal convictions and car insurance

If you’ve been convicted of a criminal offence, car insurance can be hard to find and may be more expensive. It doesn’t have to be impossible though. Compare car insurance with us and we’ll help you find cover you can afford.

If you’ve been convicted of a criminal offence, car insurance can be hard to find and may be more expensive. It doesn’t have to be impossible though. Compare car insurance with us and we’ll help you find cover you can afford.

Rebecca Goodman
Insurance expert
7
minute read
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Last Updated 11 AUGUST 2022

How does a criminal record affect car insurance?

A criminal record will almost certainly make your car insurance more expensive. That’s because insurance providers see drivers with criminal convictions as high risk, so will charge you more for your premium. It may even be difficult to find a provider willing to cover you. 

If, as a convicted driver, you’re finding it difficult to get car insurance from regular insurance providers, there are specialist providers who should be able to help you find an affordable policy. 

Insurance for drivers with a drink driving conviction: if you’ve received a DR10 penalty, you may find that many insurance providers refuse to insure you. Those who do will probably increase your premium, as well as your voluntary excess. 

Insurance for banned drivers: if you’ve had a driving ban, you may struggle to find insurance providers willing to insure you. Any quotes you receive are likely to be expensive. 

Car insurance for drivers with points: if you have penalty points on your licence, you can expect to pay more for your car insurance. However, your premiums probably won’t be as high as those paid by drivers with convictions.

Do I need to declare criminal convictions?

If you have an unspent conviction, you’ll need to let your insurance provider know. You don’t have to disclose ‘spent’ convictions (these are the ones that no longer show up on a basic criminal record check.) 

You don’t need to declare cautions, reprimands or final warnings to your insurance provider, as these are considered spent immediately. However, you will have to disclose any driving offences, such as speeding – even though, strictly speaking, minor offences that you’ve been given a fixed penalty notice for aren’t criminal convictions. 

If you don’t tell your insurance provider about any unspent convictions (whether they’re driving related or not), it could invalidate your car insurance. If you then make a claim, your insurance provider might not pay out, leaving you with a potentially hefty bill to pay. You might also find it even harder to get insurance in future.

Do I need to tell my insurance provider if I’m convicted while I have car insurance?

If you already have car insurance and are convicted of an offence, you might not have to declare it until it’s time to renew your policy – unless your policy terms and conditions state otherwise. But you’ll need to tell your provider immediately if you’re banned from driving as they may need to cancel your policy.

How can I get cheaper convicted driver car insurance?

There’s a few ways you can potentially lower the cost of your premium. You might want to consider:  

  • Telematics insurance. Also known as black box insurance, telematics insurance allows an insurance provider to track your driving using a camera or black box. The better your driving, the lower your car insurance premiums.   
  • Increasing your voluntary excess. A voluntary excess is the amount you’ll pay on top of your compulsory access if you make a claim. Choosing to pay a higher voluntary excess can lower the cost of your premium. 
  • Restricting your mileage. As far as insurance providers are concerned, the more you drive, the higher your risk of an accident. If you drive less, you may find you pay less for your car insurance. 
  • Increasing your security. If you invest in security features, such as an immobiliser or off-street parking, you may see a slight decrease in your premiums. 

When you need to renew your car insurance, compare with us to get a deal that suits your needs. Never settle for the first policy you see – comparing is the best way to find an affordable deal that works for you.

How can I get car insurance if I have a criminal conviction?

A conviction – whether it’s driving related or not – can make finding car insurance tricky. Our car insurance comparison service is a good place to start.

We’ll ask you for some information about you and your car, and you’ll need to declare any unspent criminal convictions. You may find a limited number of policies available, but we’ll show you any suitable quotes.

If you still find it difficult to get car insurance, there are specialist providers and brokers that may be able to help. Unlock, a charity supporting people with convictions, has a list of specialist insurance brokers. It’s also worth contacting the British Insurance Broker’s Association.

Frequently asked questions

Do I need to declare criminal convictions of named drivers?

Yes. If a driver named on your insurance policy has an unspent criminal conviction, you’ll need to declare it to your insurance provider.

How long do criminal convictions stay on my record?

How long convictions stay on your record depends on your sentence and how old you were when you were convicted. For example, if you were sentenced to under six months in prison, your conviction will no longer show up on a basic criminal record check (in other words, becomes spent) two years after the end of your sentence. If you were given a sentence of more than four years, your conviction will always be on your record. 

Not sure if your conviction is spent? You can check its status.

What are my options if I’m refused cover?

You may need to find a specialist insurance provider that focuses on car insurance for convicted drivers. Get in touch with Unlock (the National Association of Reformed Offenders). They can supply you with a comprehensive list of brokers specialising in convicted driver insurance.

What can I do if my insurance provider refuses to pay a claim?

If your insurance provider refuses to pay a claim on the basis of non-disclosure or misrepresentation, and you don’t think this is fair, you can register a complaint with them. If eight weeks have passed and you’re not satisfied with the outcome, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). This won’t cost you anything. 

  • Non-disclosure is failing to provide information when asked for it. It’s always best to be upfront and honest.
  • Misrepresentation is when you give your insurance provider information that isn’t accurate. For example, if you lie about why you were convicted.

What is Continuous Insurance Enforcement?

Continuous Insurance Enforcement is a national crackdown on uninsured vehicles.

The Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB) regularly compares the DVLA’s data with records from the Motor Insurance Database (MID). If the authorities have reason to believe that you’re the owner of an uninsured vehicle that hasn’t been registered as ‘off the road’, you’ll receive a letter telling you to take action.

If you ignore the letter, you’re likely to get a fixed penalty of £100 – and you could be fined up to £1,000 if the case goes to court. The uninsured vehicle could be clamped, seized or even destroyed.

What is the National Driving Offender Retraining Scheme (NDORS)?

Some drivers who commit road traffic offences are offered a training course under the National Driving Offender Retraining Scheme as an alternative to prosecution. You usually have to pay for the course, but it could help you avoid a fine or points on your licence. It will also make you a better driver.

Courses include: 

  • Safe and Considerate Driving Course
    Recommended for drivers who have caused an accident due to careless or inconsiderate driving.
  • National Speed Awareness Course
    For drivers who’ve been caught speeding.
  • National RIDE Course
    For motorcyclists who’ve committed a driving offence.
  • What's Driving Us? Course – non collision
    For drivers who’ve committed a number of offences.

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