If you have a driving or criminal conviction or you’ve been disqualified, affordable car insurance can be hard to find. Find out how to save on your car insurance if you’re a convicted driver or you’ve had a driving ban.
Remember, it’s easy to view your driving record information: you will need your driving licence number, National Insurance number and the postcode stated on your driving licence.
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.
It may be more difficult to get insured after being disqualified from driving, but it’s not impossible. In fact insurance is a legal requirement, so certainly not something you can overlook after a ban.
If you get caught without insurance you could even get disqualified again, and there’s a maximum fine of £5000. The immediate fine is £300 and you’d get six points on your licence.
You’re probably eager to get back on the road, so the first thing you should do once you receive your new licence is to contact your insurer and tell them you plan to drive again.
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Some big-name insurers refuse to insure drivers after a disqualification, but don’t panic if your insurer says they cannot cover you — there are a number of specialist insurers that will.
Once you find an insurer, it’s likely your car insurance premium will be considerably higher than before your ban.
Disqualifications are only handed out for very serious driving offences, or if you've committed several minor offences, so insurers will treat you as high risk and raise your premium to reflect this. They also may increase the excess you need to pay if you do make a claim.
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’re buying a new car to get back on the road, consider choosing a car in a lower insurance group. These are usually cars with smaller engines and better safety ratings — you’ll struggle to insure a Ferrari after a disqualification period. Read our guide on the cheapest cars to insure.
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.
The best way to save money on car insurance after a ban is to shop around.
Many of the more popular providers will not insure high-risk drivers such as those with previous bans, so consider one of the many specialist insurers that provide cover to those who can’t find it elsewhere.
Some of these specialist providers may even consider any no-claims bonus you accrued before your ban, which could help to reduce your costs.
The smaller and cheaper the car is, the more likely it will be inexpensive to insure, whatever the conviction circumstances. However, you’ve got to live with whatever you choose. It’s no good downsizing to something completely impractical for your needs.
Having said that, many small cars use their compact dimensions well. Some small vehicles have quite high rooflines, emphasising their interior space, despite modest dimensions.
Do your research and look carefully at boot space and leg room, usually measured in litres and centimetres respectively, as well as engine size.
Don’t discount vehicles with small engines. Many modern engines are not just highly efficient buy also powerful.
You could consider the option of ‘black box’ telematics insurance, allowing your insurer to see how quickly or cautiously you drive.
There’s a number of online motoring resources – What Car? Which? And Parkers – that all can help you track down the right vehicle for you.
A DR10 conviction, for driving above the alcohol limit, will be ‘spent’ after five years, under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, meaning you don’t have to declare it to an insurer or employer after this period.
However, the conviction itself remains on your driving record for 11 years.
The bottom line? You must declare ‘unspent’ convictions to an insurer, if asked, as you must answer any questions from an insurer fully and accurately. Any ‘spent’ convictions do not need to be disclosed to any insurer.
The rules are stringent because, according to government figures, more than nine million people have a criminal conviction in the UK.
It’s also important to disclose, when specifically asked, for your own protection. Failure to disclose can invalidate your policy and free an insurer of their obligation to support your claim or policy.
If you have a criminal conviction and you’re not sure if it is ‘spent’ or not, you can use Unlock’s online calculator to work it out.
The Government organises driving penalty points on a scale of one to 11. The higher the points, the more serious the offence. These range from a fine to a driving ban – even prison in the most serious cases.
Each endorsement carries its own code. Endorsement codes starting with the letters CD generally refer to careless driving offences. Sometimes this may involve alcohol. Codes that start with DR generally refer to driving offences involving alcohol.
These government codes will stay on your driving record up to 11 years, again, depending on the severity of the offence.
To be clear, if you rack up more than 12 points over a three-year period you will normally be disqualified from driving. It’s at the court discretion how long this will last.
If you’re disqualified for 56 days or more – which is usual – then you have to apply for a new driving licence. The court might even order you to retake your driving test.
If you are a new driver still within your two-year probationary period then you are limited to six points only. So if you acquire six points in these two years your licence will be taken away.
All the four offences below remain on your driving record for four years.
BA10 – Driving while disqualified. Six points.
BA30 – Attempting to drive while disqualified. Six points.
BA40 – Causing death by driving while disqualified. Three to 11 points.
BA60 – Causing serious injury by driving while disqualified. Three to 11 points.
Careless driving is less serious than dangerous driving. There’s a basic sliding scale of competency. Careless driving is defined by the Crown Prosecution Service when your driving falls below a standard “expected of a competent and careful driver”.
For example, driving too close to another vehicle, overtaking on the inside lane or turning into the path of another car. Dazzling other drivers with un-dipped headlights is also considered ‘careless’.
The below three offences remain on your driving record for four years.
CD10 – Driving without due care and attention. Three to nine points.
CD20 – Driving without reasonable consideration for other road users. Three to nine points.
CD30 – Driving without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other road users. Three to nine points.
The below codes will stay on your licence for 11 years from conviction.
CD40 – This is causing death through careless driving when unfit from drink. Three to 11 points.
CD50 – Causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drugs. Three to 11 points.
CD60 – Causing death from careless driving when your alcohol level is above the limit. Three to 11 points.
CD70 – Causing death by careless driving then failing to supply an alcohol analysis specimen. Three to 11 points.
Additionally the two codes below stay on your record for four years from conviction.
CD80 – Death caused by careless or inconsiderate driving. Three to 11 points.
CD90 – Death caused by driving if you are unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured. Three to 11 points.
Again, these offences will stay on your licence for four years. Putting members of the public at risk is taken very seriously by the police and the courts.
Typically this category is about aggressive driving such as ignoring traffic lights or driving under the influence of drink or drugs. It also includes using a mobile or handheld device such as a tablet.
Driving a car while knowing it has a fault is included in this category.
DD10 – This is causing serious injury by dangerous driving. Three to 11 points.
DD40 – Dangerous driving. Three to 11 points.
DD60 – Manslaughter or culpable homicide while driving a vehicle. Three to 11 points.
DD80 – Causing death by dangerous driving. Three to 11 points.
DD90 – Furious driving and includes a ‘racing’ style of driving. Insurers take a hard line on this conviction, you’re warned. Three to nine points.
The below offences will stay on your driving record for 11 years. Both drink and drug driving offences can be imprisonable with a criminal record if you’re convicted.
The legal alcohol driving limit is 80 milligrams per 100 millilitres though the way your body handles alcohol can vary widely, depending on body mass and what you’ve eaten.
DR10 – Driving or attempting to drive with an alcohol level above the legal limit. Three to 11 points.
DR20 – Driving or attempting to drive while unfit through drink. Three to 11 points.
DR30 – Driving or attempting to drive then failing to supply a specimen for analysis. Three to 11 points.
DR31 – Driving or attempting to drive then refusing to give permission for analysis of a blood sample that was taken without consent due to your incapacity. Three to 11 points.
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
The below codes stay on your driving record for four years taken from the offence data, or four years from conviction if a disqualification is imposed.
DR40 – In charge of a vehicle while alcohol level above limit. 10 points.
DR50 – In charge of a vehicle while unfit through drink. 10 points.
DR60 – Failure to provide a specimen for analysis in circumstances other than driving or attempting to drive. 10 points.
DR70 – Failing to provide specimen for breath test. Four points.
The below offences will remain on your driving record for 11 years from the conviction date.
If you’re ill or recovering from a stay in hospital be aware that prescription medicines such as morphine and amphetamines can also profoundly affect your driving ability.
DG10 – Driving or attempting to drive with a drug level above a specific limit. Three to 11 points.
DG60 – Causing death by careless driving with a drug level above the limit. Three to 11 points.
DR80 – Driving or attempting to drive when under the influence of drugs. Three to 11 points.
The below codes remain on your driving record for four years from the offence date, or four years from conviction when a disqualification is imposed.
DG40 – In charge of a vehicle while drug level above specified limit. Ten points.
DR90 – In charge of a vehicle when unfit through drugs. Ten points.
This Code IN10 will remain on a driving record for four years from the offence date.
IN10 – Using a vehicle uninsured against third party risks. Points between 6 & 8.
These will stay on your driving record for four years from the offence date.
LC20 – Driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence. Three to six points.
LC30 – Driving after making a false declaration about your fitness when applying for a licence. Three to six points.
LC40 – Driving a vehicle having failed to notify a disability. Three to six points.
LC50 – Driving after a licence has been cancelled (revoked) or refused on medical grounds. Three to six points.
All these offences are connected to the condition of your vehicle. These offences stay on your driving record for four years.
However, these offences are often based on the individual facts of the case – and a prosecuting officer can be wrong. So a defence can pivot on the specifics of the case.
CU10 – Using a vehicle that has defective brakes. Three penalty points.
CU20 – If you risk road use danger by using a vehicle that has parts or accessories in poor condition (excluding brakes, steering and tyres). Three points.
CU30 – If you drive a vehicle with defective tyres. Three points.
CU40 – If you drive a vehicle with defective steering. Three points.
CU50 – the likelihood of causing danger with an unreasonable load or passengers. Three points.
CU80 – Using a mobile ‘phone while driving your car or other device. Three to six points.
These will stay on your driving record for four years from the offence date also.
MS10 Leaving a vehicle in a dangerous position. Three points.
MS20 – Unlawful pillion riding. Three points.
MS30 – Play street offences. Two points.
MS50 – Motor racing on the highway . Three to 11 points.
MS60 – Offences not covered by other codes (including offences relating to breach of requirements as to control of vehicle). Three points.
MS70 – Driving with uncorrected poor eyesight. Three points.
MS80 – Refusing an eyesight test. Three points.
MS90 – Failure to give information as to identity of driver etc. Six points.
These, again, will stay on your driving record for four years from the offence date.
P10 – Exceeding goods vehicle speed limits. Three to six points.
SP20 – Exceeding speed limit for type of vehicle (excluding goods or passenger vehicles). Three to six points.
SP30 – Exceeding statutory speed limit on a public road. Three to six points.
SP40 – Exceeding passenger vehicle speed limit. Three to six points.
SP50 – Exceeding speed limit on a motorway. Three to six points.
These too stay on your driving record for four years from the offence date.
TS10 – Failing to comply with traffic light signals. Three points.
TS20 – Failing to comply with double white lines. Three points.
TS30 – Failing to comply with ‘stop’ sign. Three points.
TS40 – Failing to comply with direction of a constable/warden. Three points.
TS50 – Failing to comply with traffic sign (excluding ‘stop’ signs, traffic lights or double white lines). Three points.
TS60 – Failing to comply with a school crossing patrol sign. Three points.
TS70 – Undefined failure to comply with a traffic direction sign. Three points.
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.
See a range of car insurance quotes in just a few minutes when you compare with Uswitch