People with criminal convictions tend to face higher car insurance costs than drivers with a clean record, and some may even struggle to get covered. Read on and find out how to cut the costs of driving if you have a previous criminal conviction.
Some convictions will have more of an impact than others — you’re likely to be a risk to insurers if you’ve previously been convicted for insurance fraud or drink driving, for example.
However, having a criminal conviction will often push up the price of your car insurance premiums, even if your offence has nothing to do with driving. Drivers with all types of criminal convictions are statistically more likely to be involved in an accident, so insurers adjust premiums to reflect this high risk.
Most insurers will ask about any "unspent” criminal convictions you’ve had in the last five years, so any convictions are likely to have an impact on your car insurance costs for this period.
Most types of conviction will be considered "spent” after some time has passed. For example if you were sentenced with a community order your conviction will be spent one year after the end of the order, and if you were sentenced to less than six months in prison your conviction will become spent two years after the end of the sentence. If you’ve been sentenced to more than two and a half years, your conviction will always remain unspent. If you have a conviction, you can find out when it will become spent here.
You will usually be asked to declare any unspent convictions on your car insurance applications for five years. After this time, or if your convictions are already spent, you will not have to tell your insurer. You are not under any obligation to declare your convictions if an insurer doesn’t ask during the application process or in the terms and conditions of the policy.
Don’t be tempted to withhold any convictions if you are asked — in the event of a claim your insurance could be deemed invalid and you could face a big repair bill. This will also make it even harder to get insurance cover in the future.
If you were convicted recently, you do not have to contact your insurer to let them know (unless this is specifically stated in the terms and conditions of your policy). It’s highly likely you will be asked to declare any new convictions at renewal time, so be prepared for a price rise.
You may find that insurers will hike your insurance premium in light of your conviction, or even refuse to insure you altogether. However, there are some specialist providers that keep insurance more affordable for drivers with convictions. The best way to get an affordable quote if you have convictions is to compare quotes from a number of providers — get started with the quick tool below: