If you have a driving or criminal conviction, affordable car insurance can be hard to find. Read on to find out how to save on your car insurance if you’re a convicted driver.
It may be more difficult to get insured if you have a driving conviction, but it’s not impossible. However, you’ll usually find the cost of your premiums are more expensive.
If you’re struggling to find an insurer that will cover you, you may need to use a specialist provider.
Car insurance is a legal requirement, so it’s certainly not something you can overlook. If you get caught without insurance you could get disqualified, and there’s a maximum fine of £5,000.
Insurers will still usually offer cover if you have been convicted of drink driving, speeding or non-driving related criminal convictions. You may also be able to get cover if you have a conviction for driving without insurance or a licence.
If you have been disqualified from driving, you won’t be able to get insurance until you have served your ban and some major providers may still refuse to insure you after that.
Your driving disqualification is likely to affect your car insurance costs for five years, as insurers usually ask about any driving convictions within this period.
If you’ve been disqualified from driving you must inform your insurer straight away. You’re technically in breach of your car insurance contract as you no longer hold a valid licence.
If you’ve been banned temporarily and want to keep your car for when you’re back on the road, your car is legally required to be insured for third party damage, unless you apply for a SORN (statutory off-road notice).
Once you’ve been sentenced to a driving disqualification you’ll need to call your insurer and they should temporarily amend your policy for the duration of your driving ban.
Insurers price car insurance premiums based on their own risk calculations. Anyone with a driving conviction will be seen as a greater risk and premiums will rise as a result. The compulsory excess may also be increased.
How much your premium will rise by will depend on the type of conviction. If, for example, you have been convicted of a serious offence such as drink driving or you were disqualified, your premium is likely to increase more than for someone who has a speeding conviction.
When applying for car insurance you will usually need to tell your insurer about any motoring convictions, such as speeding, received in the past five years. According to the Financial Ombudsman, driving convictions are usually considered ‘spent’ after this time.
Penalty points are usually removed from your licence after four years, but they can stay on your record for up to 11 years for more serious offences. You can view a full list of driving convictions and penalty points on the gov.uk website.
If you are not honest on your application you risk invalidating your insurance – this includes answering truthfully about whether you have attended a speed awareness course.
If you have a criminal conviction, whether it’s related to driving or not, you’ll need to declare it if it’s unspent.
A conviction becomes spent after a certain amount of time has passed – this will depend on the sentence – and the offence no longer appears on your criminal record. You don’t usually need to declare any spent convictions.
You can find out whether your conviction is spent or unspent on the Unlock website.
The best way to save money on car insurance after a conviction is to shop around. Some insurers will give discounts for any approved courses you’ve taken as part of your conviction, such as a speed awareness or drink driver rehabilitation course.
It’s recommended you take one of these courses if they are offered to you, as the long-term savings on your car insurance could outweigh the initial cost of the course.
Many of the more popular providers will not insure high-risk drivers such as those with previous convictions, so you may need to consider one of the many specialist insurers that provide cover to those who can’t find it elsewhere.
The Unlock website can give you a list of brokers who specialise in convicted driver insurance. Some of these specialist providers may even consider any no-claims bonus you accrued before your conviction, which could help to reduce your costs.
If you’re buying a new car to get back on the road, consider choosing one in a lower insurance group. Every car belongs to one of 50 car insurance groups and those at the lower end of the scale are usually the cheapest to insure.
These are usually cars with smaller engines and better safety ratings, such as the Volkswagen Polo and Hyundai i10. Read our guide on the cheapest cars to insure to find out more.
You can compare quotes from a number of providers using the tool below: