It can be hard to get car insurance if you have a criminal conviction, even if the conviction isn’t driving related. You may find some insurers will charge higher than average premiums and some won’t offer you cover at all, especially if you have a drink driving conviction.
Even minor offences can affect your insurance premiums, as drivers with any sort of conviction are more likely (statistically) to be involved in accidents and so are considered higher risk.
If you’re having difficulty finding reasonable insurance cover, or cover at all, there are some specialist providers that can and will insure convicted drivers but it will cost more. Regardless of cost, however, remember that if you own a vehicle you must have insurance at all times – it’s a legal requirement even if the vehicle is not being driven, unless you’ve registered your car as being off the road with the DVLA.
Do you have to declare your conviction?
When looking for insurance quotes you must be upfront about any convictions that are unspent. Convictions become spent after a certain number of years; the more serious the conviction, the longer it must be declared for.
If you went to prison for six months or less, your conviction will be spent in seven years; for six to 30 months, after ten years; for longer jail terms, convictions are never spent, so you’ll always have to declare them.
If your conviction was for drink driving, take advice from legal specialists like drinkdrivesolicitor.com and never be tempted to hide a conviction to reduce your premiums as it could invalidate your policy.
What if you can’t find cover?
If you can’t find car insurance from mainstream providers, head to UNLOCK (the National Association of Reformed Offenders), who can give you a list of insurance brokers that specialise in insuring convicted drivers. Head to www.unlock.org.uk and remember, don’t just jump at the first provider to offer you cover, shop around first.
How to reduce the cost of insurance
You’ve found an insurer who will provide cover for you after your conviction, which is great, but there are still some ways you could reduce your premiums.
Raise your excess
Your excess is the amount of money that you pay yourself in the event of a claim. If you opt for a higher excess it will reduce your premiums. You should not opt for a huge excess, however, as you could find yourself faced with an impossible bill which defeats the object.
Your premiums will be lower if your mileage is kept low.
Keep your car secure
Securing your car will lower your premiums, so keep it in a garage if possible and fit it with an insurer-approved alarm and immobiliser.
Use black box insurance
Black box car insurance, also known as telematics insurance, is becoming more popular with young drivers or convicted drivers as it helps them to avoid excessively high premiums.
Your car will have a recording device fitted and this black box will record your driving behaviour and mileage so that insurers have a better idea of how safe you are. This allows them to adjust your premiums according to your abilities and attitudes rather than statistics.