If you want to get back on the road after a drink driving conviction, you might think finding affordable car insurance is a lost cause. But you could be wrong.
Not only can you get car insurance if you have a criminal conviction, but you must. It’s a legal requirement for your car to be insured at all times, even if it’s parked up while you serve your ban.
You must inform your insurer as soon as possible after being convicted for drink driving and they’ll amend your policy to reflect your new circumstances.
If you can store your car off the road, such as in a private garage or on a driveway you can cancel your insurance or declare the car as off-road with a SORN (statutory off-road notice).
You can’t take it for a spin if it’s been SORNed, although you are allowed to drive directly to an MOT centre to get it tested should you want to resume driving.
When you plan to get back behind the wheel, contact your insurer and tell them you plan to drive again. Make sure you remind them of your drink driving conviction to avoid any confusion at a later date.
They may offer you a new car insurance quote, which you can expect to be much more expensive than your original premium. If they don’t, keep your car SORNed while you look for cover elsewhere.
Getting car insurance after a drink driving conviction can be hard. This is because drink driving is one of the most serious driving offences in an insurer’s eyes, as claims for drink drivers are so costly and the potential for damage and injury is huge.
To reflect this, it would be fairly standard to see your premium double after being convicted of a drink driving offence. High premiums aside, you may encounter the following obstacles:
you may have to pay a higher compulsory excess in the event of a claim, and some of the more well-known insurers may not be willing to insure you
you must declare your drink driving conviction for three to five years (depending on your insurer), which will bump up premiums
points from more serious drink driving convictions could stay on your licence for up to 11 years
The table below outlines the different codes and penalty points for each drink driving offence, as recorded on the government’s website:
|DR10||Driving or attempting to drive with alcohol level above limit||3 to 11|
|DR20||Driving or attempting to drive while unfit through drink||3 to 11|
|DR30||Driving or attempting to drive, then failing to supply a specimen for analysis||3 to 11|
|DR31||Driving or attempting to drive, then refusing to give permission for analysis of a blood sample that was taken without consent due to incapacity||3 to 11|
|DR61||Refusing to give permission for analysis of a blood sample that was taken without consent due to incapacity in circumstances other than driving or attempting to drive||10|
|DR40||In charge of a vehicle while alcohol level above limit||10|
|DR50||In charge of a vehicle while unfit through drink||10|
|DR60||Failure to provide a specimen for analysis in circumstances other than driving or attempting to drive||10|
|DR70||Failing to cooperate with a preliminary breath test||4|
Note that codes DR10 to DR61 must stay on your driving record for 11 years from the date of the conviction.
Codes DR40 to DR70 must stay on your driving record for four years from the date of the offence or four years from the date of conviction where a disqualification is imposed.
There are several ways to reduce the impact of higher car insurance premiums after a drink driving conviction. These include:
As a result of your drink driving conviction, you may be offered to take part in a drink driver’s rehabilitation course. If you are, give it serious consideration for the following reasons:
some insurers offer discounts for drivers who have taken these courses, so it’s recommended you take one if it’s offered
you may also be able to negotiate a reduction in your driving ban for an approved course
You usually have to pay upfront to take these types of course, but they’re likely to result in higher savings on your car insurance over the long term.
Once you’re ready and able to resume driving, search for car insurance quotes. Many providers won’t offer you a quote with a conviction. However, you can use comparison sites such as Uswitch to establish which ones would be cheaper (if you didn’t have a conviction and call these direct.) Some providers may be willing to negotiate a deal once they’ve discussed your driving history and the details of your conviction.
If you are struggling to get affordable car insurance for drink drivers you should speak to a specialist insurer or broker. The British Insurance Brokers’ Association is a good place to start.
Charities for people with criminal convictions, such as Unlock, may also be able to help you find affordable car insurance. They may be able to recommend brokers and insurers who have insured others with similar convictions.
You should also make use of your network of friends, particularly anyone who has also been convicted of a criminal offence, as they may be able to steer you in the direction of an affordable insurer.