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Car insurance for convicted drivers

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.

Written by
Rebecca Goodman
Insurance expert
Last Updated
5 MAY 2023
4 min read
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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 disqualified drivers: it may be a struggle to find car insurance after disqualification because fewer insurance providers will be willing to insure you. Quotes for banned driver insurance are also likely to be expensive because of the high level of risk you pose.

Car insurance for people with points: if you have penalty points on your licence, you can expect to pay higher premiums. However, the cost of car insurance for people with points is typically lower than the cost for 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, if asked. You don’t have to disclose ‘spent’ convictions (these are the ones that no longer show up on a basic criminal record check). If you're not sure if a conviction is spent or not, see a guide on insurance and convictions from Unlock — a charity for supporting people with criminal records.

How long you’ll need to declare an unspent conviction depends on the length of the sentence:

Sentence type/length  Over 18s  Under 18s 
Community order/Youth rehabilitation order  Until the last day of your order  Until the last day of your order 
One year or less  One year  Six months 
Between one and four years  Four years  Two years 
More than four years  Seven years  Three and a half years 

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 excess 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 having 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?

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 who 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 Brokers’ 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, if asked.

Can I put someone else down as the main driver?

No. You might be tempted to name a relative or friend with a clean driving record and no convictions as the main driver. But don’t do it.

This is known as ‘fronting’. It’s a type of insurance fraud and is illegal. If you falsely name someone else as the main driver to get cheaper car insurance, it could get you into further trouble with the law.

How long do criminal convictions stay on my record?

Convictions and cautions stay on your criminal record, held by the Police National Computer until you reach 100 years old. However, they don’t always have to be disclosed. Once your conviction is ‘spent’, you don’t need to disclose it to insurance providers.

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). It 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.

Is it possible to get temporary car insurance for convicted drivers?

It may be possible to get temporary car insurance with driving convictions, but it depends what those convictions are and how long ago you received them. Our temporary car insurance partner, Tempcover, can offer a quote if you’ve had no more than six penalty points in the last two years and haven’t been disqualified in the last five years.

Do I have to insure my car if I’m banned?

Unless you apply for a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) for your car, you’ll need to insure it. This applies even if you’re disqualified.

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 been involved in an accident.
  • National Speed Awareness Course
    For drivers who’ve been caught speeding.
  • National Rider Risk Awareness Course
    For motorcyclists who’ve committed a driving offence.
  • What's Driving Us? Course
    For drivers who’ve committed a number of offences.
  • Your Belt Your Life Course
    For people stopped by the police 

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