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Car insurance for convicted drivers

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While it can be difficult to obtain car insurance if you are a driver with a criminal conviction, it’s not impossible. Convicted driver insurance, as it’s called, tends to be more expensive because insurers consider drivers with convictions a higher risk. In fact, many insurers can and do refuse applications as a matter of policy. This guide will provide some useful tips on how you can access cheaper car insurance if you fall into the convicted driver category.

Can you get car insurance for convicted drivers?

You can get insurance as a convicted driver, but unfortunately, it tends to be more expensive than an equivalent standard car insurance deal. This is because insurers view drivers with criminal convictions as a higher risk and therefore more likely to make an insurance claim. In some cases, your application may be refused if you have a criminal conviction. While not all providers will insure convicted drivers, Unlock, a national independent advocacy charity that helps people with criminal convictions, has lists of insurance providers that are likely to insure convicted drivers.

Types of driving conviction that will affect insurance premiums

There are different types of driving convictions that will affect your insurance premium. The level of influence will depend on the severity of the conviction. In some cases, insurance providers may refuse to insure you, and the insurers that accept your application will do so on the basis that you pay a much higher premium, and a higher voluntary excess. Generally, driving convictions fall into three main categories, which are as follows:

Drink or drug driving

Drink or drug driving convictions will have a major impact on your future insurance premiums, especially if the offence involves damage to property and/or people’s safety.

With this type of conviction, you will have received a penalty notice within the range DR10 – DR70 and points on your licence. The number of points you receive and how long they stay on your record will depend on the nature and severity of the offence, but it will be anything from four to 11 years. Drink driving insurance is likely to be much more expensive than it is for those without convictions.

Banned or disqualified from driving

If you have been banned or disqualified from driving, your driving licence is revoked. As a result, you won’t be able to take out a new car insurance policy in your name for the duration of the ban.

Bear in mind that if you have an existing insurance policy at the time of the disqualification, this policy will no longer be valid. You should notify your insurance provider sooner rather than later. If you have additional drivers on your policy, they should also be notified so they can make alternative arrangements. This will prevent them from unknowingly driving while uninsured. Also, you may still have to continue paying your insurance premiums for the remainder of the term, but this will depend on your contractual obligation. Check the terms and conditions of your existing insurance policy and contact your insurance provider if in doubt.

If you are keeping your car on any public road in the UK, you are legally required to pay for road tax and be covered by at least third party car insurance. However, a driving disqualification could result in the cancellation of your current insurance policy, and you won’t be able to apply for a new insurance policy for the duration of the disqualification.

One way around this is to make a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) to the DVLA. It is effectively a formal declaration that you are taking your vehicle off the road. Once you make the notification, the DVLA will refund you any full months of remaining vehicle tax and you are not legally obliged to have insurance cover. 

The process is free and you can do it online. All you need is the vehicle registration certificate (V5C) and you don’t need to renew it annually. You can register the car as SORN once for the period of time that you are disqualified and reinstate the car when your licence is returned. 

If you are thinking about making this type of notification there are some things you need to be aware of:

  1. You cannot keep your car on the road, even if you are not driving it. This is something you need to think about before making the notification, because you will need a garage, driveway or some private land to store your car.
  2. You cannot drive a SORN-declared car on a public road. The only exception to this is driving the car to a pre-booked MOT. If you are caught driving a SORN car for any other reason you will face prosecution and could be fined as much as £2,500.
  3. SORN is not transferrable if you decide to sell your car during the notification period, in the same way that vehicle tax is not transferrable. You will need to notify the DVLA if you are buying a car with this type of notification.

Penalty point convictions

Of the three, this type of conviction has the least amount of negative influence on any subsequent insurance applications. This is because this type of conviction is used for relatively minor offences such as speeding or driving without a valid MOT certificate.

However, bear in mind that habitually careless driving can lead to an accumulation of points. Insurance providers view drivers with a higher number of points as a greater risk. Therefore, the more points you have on your licence, the higher your premium is likely to be.

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How and where do I declare my criminal convictions?

In the first instance, it’s better to be completely honest and open when applying for new car insurance. If you make a false statement or withhold relevant information, you risk invalidating your insurance policy. That being said, when you apply for convicted driver insurance, there is a distinction between what you must declare and what you don’t need to declare.

In this context, convictions are categorised as being either ‘spent’ or ‘unspent’. If you get a conviction, it stays on your record for a period of time. While it is on your record, it is classified as being ‘unspent’. Once the period of time passes, it is classified as being ‘spent’. This is an important distinction when applying for convicted drivers’ insurance.

Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, any spent conviction will be removed from your record. You won’t have to declare them to an insurance provider. What you do and do not have to declare is summarised below.

What do I need to declare?

You must declare… You don’t have to declare…
Any unspent convictions Any spent convictions
Any cautions
Any reprimands
Any final warnings

If you have a criminal conviction and you are unsure if it is spent or not, there are a number of methods you can use to check this:

  • Court paperwork: When convicted of a driving offence, you will receive paperwork with information about the exact nature of the offence, the date of the conviction, penalty points on your record and the length of time they will stay on your licence.
  • Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS): You can undertake a DBS check on yourself. A basic DBS check will give you information on any unspent criminal convictions on your record, while a standard DBS check will give you information on spent and unspent convictions, cautions, warnings and reprimands. You will need to pay £18 for each report, and the results will be processed and sent within 14 days.
  • DVLA Share Driving Licence service: This allows all GB driving licence holders to access information held on their DVLA driver record. This will include driving convictions, disqualifications and penalty points.

How can I find the cheapest car insurance for convicted drivers?

While it’s not easy to find cheap convicted driver car insurance, there are still some good deals available. There are some possible steps you can take to minimise the cost. These steps are outlined below:

  • Select your vehicle carefully: As a general rule of thumb, the more expensive and powerful the car, the more it will cost to insure and run. Taking into consideration the fact the cost of insuring a car for a convicted driver will be higher than standard, selecting the right car is an important step in minimising the cost of your insurance. Choosing or trading down to a car from a lower insurance group could result in a big cost saving, both in terms of the cost of insurance and the cost of maintenance.
  • Pay your insurance annually: You can purchase your car insurance annually in the form of a one-off payment, or monthly by direct debit. Over a 12 month period, paying by direct debit is more convenient, but like-for-like is more expensive than the one-off payment. When you pay in monthly instalments, you are taking out a 12-month loan with the insurance company. You will have to pay interest on the amount borrowed, which increases the total amount paid. 
  • Pay a higher voluntary excess: Even if the insurance provider does not insist, it is worth thinking about paying a higher excess. Remember that if you do this, you will be expected to pay the excess on any future insurance claim, regardless of who is at fault, so be sure it’s an amount you can comfortably afford.
  • Secure your vehicle: Drivers living in areas with high instances of theft and vandalism tend to pay more for their car insurance. Additional alarm systems and/or off-road storage (such as parking your car in a garage or on your drive) will help to reduce the cost of your insurance by a substantial amount.
  • Limit your mileage: The more time you spend on the road, the higher the risk of you having an accident. If you drive less and can prove this by reducing your mileage, this will go some way to reducing your insurance bill.
  • Pay for telematics cover: Also known as ‘black box insurance’, telematics is a type of car insurance that is based on your driving behaviour. With your permission, an insurance company will professionally install a GPS device in your car that transmits real-time information about your driving, such as your speed, distance travelled and braking habits. Your insurer will then use this information to decide on your insurance premium. Provided you are a good, careful driver, using telematics will help to reduce your insurance bill. Many insurers also offer discounts if you develop a good track record.
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Frequently asked questions about convicted driver car insurance

No you can’t. When a driver declares to an insurance provider that they are the main driver of a vehicle when the main driver is someone else, this is called fronting. Fronting is illegal and will invalidate a car insurance policy. Perpetrators of fronting face criminal prosecution for fraud and a criminal record.

If your car is parked on any public road in the UK, you are legally required to pay road tax and be covered by car insurance. However, a driving disqualification could result in the cancellation of your current insurance policy, and you won’t be able to apply for a new one for the duration of the disqualification.

In this instance, you may need to make a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) to the DVLA. However, be aware that this means you will need to park the vehicle in a garage, on a driveway, or on private land – it cannot be parked on a public road. If you have no other option, you might find some specialist insurers that are willing to offer temporary laid-up car insurance to cover the vehicle while it’s parked.

There are insurance providers and insurance brokers that specialise in convicted driver insurance. Also, Unlock is a national independent advocacy charity that provides information and advice to help people with criminal convictions.

Amy Reeves


Amy is a seasoned writer and editor with a special interest in home design, sustainable technology and green building methods.

She has interviewed hundreds of self-builders, extenders and renovators about their journeys towards individual, well-considered homes, as well as architects and industry experts during her five years working as Assistant Editor at Homebuilding & Renovating, part of Future plc.

Amy’s work covers topics ranging from home, interior and garden design to DIY step-by-steps, planning permission and build costs, and has been published in Period Living, Real Homes, and 25 Beautiful Homes, Homes and Gardens.

Now an Editor at the Independent Advisor, Amy manages homes-related content for the site, including solar panels, combi boilers, and windows.

Her passion for saving tired and inefficient homes also extends to her own life; Amy completed a renovation of a mid-century house in 2022 and is about to embark on an energy-efficient overhaul of a 1800s cottage in Somerset.