Why might you need car insurance for convicted drivers?
A criminal conviction could make it difficult for you to get car insurance, and even if you do find cover, car insurance for convicted drivers is often much more expensive than for those without convictions.
This doesn’t necessarily need to be a driving conviction, it could be a minor offence which has no bearing on how you would drive. But you’ll find that many insurers simply may not provide cover.
That’s because convicted drivers are, statistically, a higher risk as they are more likely to be involved in accidents and go on to make claims. This means drivers with a conviction are sometimes considered too high-risk to insure.
Will I get insurance if I have a conviction?
If you’re a convicted driver, some insurers will still offer you cover providing your conviction has no relation to driving offences. If you have a conviction for burglary, for instance, you might get car insurance cover, but you could be refused if you were convicted for dangerous driving.
If you can’t find cover from a conventional insurer, there are specialist insurance companies that focus on providing car insurance for convicted drivers, but premiums are usually expensive.
But, regardless of however difficult you might find it to get cover, and whatever price you are quoted, car insurance is compulsory so you must sort out a policy of you intend to drive. Not only is it illegal to drive without cover, but your car must be insured at all times.
Continuous Insurance Enforcement
Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) rules state that unless you’ve completed a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) and registered your vehicle as being ‘off the road’ with the DVLA, it must be insured.
Failure to have at least a third party car insurance policy in place could result in your car being clamped, seized or even destroyed. If you’re taken to court you could face an unlimited fine and you could be disqualified from driving – which then causes a problem getting insurance. A vicious cycle.
You must declare your convictions when getting car insurance
When obtaining car insurance quotes, you only need to be upfront about any convictions if they are ‘unspent’. Criminal convictions become spent, or can be ignored, after a certain period, the length of which depends on your sentence. So, for example, if you were given a fine or community service, your conviction could be spent after five years. After this, you don’t have to declare it to insurers.
How long this takes depends on your sentence. A prison sentence lasting less than six months would be spent two years after, according to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. A prison sentence lasting over four years will never become spent and must always be declared.
Don’t be tempted to hide your conviction just to get a cheaper quote. Failure to reveal convictions could invalidate your policy, meaning that any claims would be refused and you would essentially be driving whilst uninsured.
Getting insurance when convicted of driving offences
Insurance for drunk drivers: Not unsurprisingly, drink driving is seen as a very serious offence by insurance companies because the potential for both damage to property (including your own car) and for injuries or death, is substantial. To reflect this, you can expect your car insurance premium increase to perhaps double, you will have to pay much larger voluntary excess if you claim, and some insurers will refuse to insure you altogether.
You must declare a drink driving conviction for three to five years, depending on the insurer. However, if your driving offence is more serious – death by dangerous driving, for example – then you will see the conviction stay on your licence for up to 11 years.
The same goes for driving whilst under the influence of drugs.
Insurance for banned drivers: If you are banned (disqualified) from driving for getting points on your license (12 or more penalty points within three years) from either speeding, driving erratically or driving either uninsured or without a license you will face higher car insurance costs.
Car insurance with points: Different offences have a different tally of penalty points, ranging from three to 11 points and depending on how serious the offence was, will stay on your licence for four to 11 years. Understandably, the more points you have the higher your insurance premiums could be.
The more serious driving offences might be prosecuted in court, which could end in large fines or even time spent at Her Majesty’s pleasure.
Improve your driving skills with NDORS
If you’re accused of a driving offence, then you might be given the opportunity to improve your driving awareness on the National Driving Offender Retraining Scheme (NDORS), at the discretion of the local police.
This is not compulsory or even possible for some offenders, but police see drivers who have completed an NDORS course as rehabilitated and then do not process the penalty points on the driver’s licence.
You do not have to tell your insurer about your attendance on the scheme and NDORS will not disclose the information to anyone, but if you choose to disclose it yourself then your insurance premium may increase because you have broken the rules of the road. However, as always, the details are in the small print so check your policy – and be honest if you’re asked to disclose this.
Options if you’re refused cover
If you have a criminal conviction and you cannot find an insurer who will provide you with motor insurance, UNLOCK (the National Assocation of Reformed Offenders) can provide you with a list of brokers who specialise in convicted driver insurance.
They can also advise people on which brokers accept which kind of convictions. The website is www.unlock.org.uk.
You should always try to compare car insurance quotes from as many different insurers as possible to ensure you find the right deal at the right price.
How to get cheaper car insurance for convicted drivers
Once you have found cover, there are various ways that drivers with convictions can keep the cost of convicted driver insurance premiums down.
- Raise your excess. The voluntary excess is the portion of any insurance claim which you must pay yourself. Increasing this often reduces premiums – but don’t make it so high that you wouldn’t be able to afford to pay in the event you do make a claim.
- Try to drive less. The lower your mileage, the less your premiums will cost. Insurance is based on risk, so the more you are on the road the higher the risk of an accident.
- Secure your car. Keeping your car in a well-lit area if possible, and make sure the car is fitted with an approved alarm and immobilizer, should help reduce the cost of your quote.
- Consider telematics car insurance. Otherwise known as black box insurance, this is when a device records your driving abilities to calculate your premiums.
- For more ideas on how you can increase your chances of finding cheap car insurance for convicted drivers, take advantage of our money saving tips page.