Skip to content

Driving with criminal convictions

Can I get car insurance with a criminal record?

Sara Newell
Written by  Sara Newell
5 min read
Updated: 06 Mar 2024

If you have a criminal conviction, your car insurance options are likely to be limited and expensive – even if your conviction isn’t related to driving. But it’s usually possible to find cover, with specialist insurers able to help

Understanding car insurance can be tricky, especially if you have a criminal conviction on your record. It's a common concern for many drivers who have faced legal challenges in the past. Understanding how a criminal record can affect your ability to obtain car insurance, and what steps you can take to secure a fair policy, is crucial.

The impact of criminal convictions on car insurance

If you have a criminal record, you might find that car insurance is more expensive. Insurers often view individuals with criminal convictions as high-risk customers because statistics suggest a higher likelihood of being involved in accidents and making claims. However, this doesn't mean you're out of options. There are specialized insurers that cater to those with criminal records, and by shopping around, you can find fair prices that won't break the bank.

Declaring criminal convictions

When applying for car insurance, you're required to declare any unspent convictions. This includes non-motoring convictions if your insurer asks for them. However, spent convictions are a different story. Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, you're not obligated to disclose spent convictions, even if you're asked directly by the insurer.

For motoring-related issues, speeding fines and points on your driving licence are not criminal convictions, but they do need to be shared with insurance companies when requested, and are usually shown on your driving licence for at least five years anyway.

Duration of criminal convictions on your record

Criminal convictions stay on police records until your 100th birthday, but the period they affect your insurance options varies. The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 outlines the rehabilitation period after which a crime is considered spent. For example, convictions resulting in fines may be spent after one year, while more severe sentences can remain unspent for life.

If you're unsure about the status of your convictions, and you're in England or Wales, you can request a basic Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check for £23. Scotland and Northern Ireland offer similar services at slightly different costs.

Punishment

Time on your record (if over 18)

Fine

1 year from date of conviction

Prison sentence of under 6 months

2 years from the date your sentence ends

Prison sentence of between 6 and 30 months

4 years from the date your sentence ends

Prison sentence of between 30 months and 4 years

7 years from the date your sentence ends

Prison sentence of more than 4 years

Your conviction is never “spent”

Named drivers and criminal convictions

If you're adding someone to your policy as a named driver, you must disclose any of their unspent criminal convictions. Failing to do so could invalidate your policy. Moreover, it's important to avoid "fronting," which is pretending to be the main driver to reduce insurance costs for someone with convictions. This is considered insurance fraud and could lead to a criminal conviction of your own.

Man driving car sunny road

Strategies for cheaper car insurance with convictions

Finding affordable car insurance with a criminal record is challenging, but not impossible. Here are some strategies to help lower your premiums:

  • Offer to pay a higher voluntary excess: By increasing the excess you're willing to pay towards any claim, you can often reduce the cost of your policy.

  • Build up a no-claims bonus: Demonstrating safe driving over several years can significantly cut your premiums.

  • Drive less: Reducing your annual mileage can lead to lower premiums, although this isn't a guarantee.

  • Take out a telematics policy: Good driving behaviour monitored by a black box can lead to reduced premiums over time.

Finding the right insurance policy

Comparing car insurance quotes with MoneySuperMarket is an efficient way to find a policy that suits your needs and budget, even with criminal convictions. By providing details about yourself, your vehicle, and your driving history, you can search for deals tailored to your situation.

Compare and Purchase

Once you've compared policies based on cost, level of protection, and claim payment amounts, finalizing the purchase is straightforward. You simply select the deal that's right for you and complete the transaction with the provider.

Looking for car insurance?
Start a quote