Ultimate Guide to Insurance for Convicted Drivers
Whether you have been convicted of drink driving, IN10 or any other conviction, our convicted drivers insurance guide will help. Get your quote here
Convicted Driver Insurance Contents
- 1. Introduction
- 2. What Is A Driving Conviction?
- 3. Convicted Driver Insurance
- 4. What Types Of Convictions Can You Get Cover For?
- 5. Why Is Insurance So Expensive For Convicted Drivers?
- 6. Declaring Your Convictions
- 7. If Refused Cover, What Are The Options?
- 8. Tips To Keep Your Premium Down
- 9. Why Choose Think Insurance?
- 10. Conclusion
If you are a driver with a conviction then we understand that obtaining car insurance can not only be difficult, but when you do get it, it can be very expensive. As a specialist insurance broker, we are able to help those people with driving convictions who may be struggling to get insurance, find a great deal. This guide will help you understand how you can lower the cost of your insurance, offering tips to ensure you get the best car insurance for convicted drivers.
2. What is a Driving Conviction?
A driving conviction is issued to you by the police if you are caught breaking a motoring law. Many people associate driving convictions with points on your licence as this is often one of the penalties issued once you have received a conviction. Once you have 12 points on your licence you could be issued with a driving ban for at least 6 months, and this could be as a result of one, more serious offence, or several, less serious offences.
- Many people in the UK have driving convictions:
- In 2014, 524,877 people were charged with motoring offences and 85% of these were convicted.
- There are 24,000 first time offenders every year.
- 50% of people admit to flouting traffic laws. Half say it is due to inattention and half because they knew they could get away with it or they do not agree with the laws.
- There are even estimated to be 86,000 drivers with 12 or more points on their licence that are still on the road.
There are many different types of convictions, all with individual conviction codes which you will need to provide to your insurer. These codes are made up of 2 letters and 2 numbers. Some of the more common codes include speeding (SP30), driving without insurance (IN10), drink-driving (DR10), using a vehicle with defective brakes (CU10), dangerous driving (DD40), leaving a vehicle in a dangerous position (MS10), and failing to comply with traffic light signals (TS10).
Convictions vary in severity, from failing to comply with a traffic direction sign, to causing death whilst driving a vehicle due to dangerous driving. Every conviction has a varying amount of points attached to it.
For example, a DR10 is for ‘driving or attempting to drive with an alcohol level over the legal limit’, and a DR80 is for ‘driving or attempting to drive when unfit due to drugs’. This can result in a prison sentence of up to six months and a maximum fine of £5,000. There is also an obligatory minimum 12-month ban from driving plus between 3 and 11 penalty points added to your licence that will stay there for at least 4 years. Obtaining more than 12 points usually results in a driving ban (though in exceptional circumstances a driver can retain their licence if its removal could cause extreme hardship by preventing the owner from earning a living ).
Some of the more serious convictions are among the CD codes, specifically, those related to ‘causing death by…’. These CD codes can carry a prison sentence of up to 14 years, a 2 year driving ban and an unlimited fine. Of course, the penalties vary according to the criminal offence but as a general rule, CD convictions can include the most severe.
If you have any of the above mentioned convictions then this guide can help you to find a quote that you are happy with, because we know that getting insurance can be very difficult.
3. Convicted Driver Insurance
Convicted Driver insurance is similar to a standard Car insurance policy but is specifically aimed at drivers with convictions, which most standard private car insurance policies won’t cover. It is the same though, inasmuch as there are still the three levels of cover available.
Third Party insurance is the most basic level and only covers damage to other people, their vehicles or property, but it doesn’t cover any damage to you or your vehicle. Third Party, Fire and Theft cover also protects you against claims made by a third party, but also covers your own vehicle if it was stolen or damaged by fire. Then there is Comprehensive cover which includes all of the above features, plus any damage to your own vehicle.
It is a legal requirement that every car in the UK driven or parked on public property must have insurance. If you have a driving conviction and plan on driving your car or parking it in public then you will need Convicted Driver insurance. If you have received a conviction in the middle of your policy then you need to contact your insurers to let them know. The cost of convicted driver insurance will depend on your driving record and convictions. Even small offences like speeding need to be notified and will be taken into account when calculating your premium.
If you have a conviction and points on your licence these need to be declared to your insurer. Your insurer will then give you a policy that takes into account your convictions. This can often lead to a more expensive price because convictions can mean an increased moral risk or chance of having an accident. Many existing policies may choose to increase your premium, cancel the policy or just refuse future cover following a conviction.
It is important to have the right cover, not only for legal reasons but also to protect yourself and other people if anything did go wrong. Having your insurance made invalid, or having no insurance at all can be very costly in the event of an accident, or if you are stopped or caught by the police. Nearly half a million drivers in the UK have been caught driving without insurance in the past three years, with uninsured drivers causing 130 deaths and 26,000 injuries a year. Being caught driving without insurance can result in a fine up to £2,000 so it really isn’t worth taking the risk.
Insurance provides the peace of mind that if anything were to happen to you, someone else or a vehicle, then there is someone to help deal with any injuries or damage without it costing you a fortune out of your own pocket. After you make a claim, your insurance premium does typically tend to increase and you lose your no claims bonus (unless you choose to pay to protect it).
If you are coming to the end of a ban then you should get in touch with a specialist insurance broker, like Think, who deal with convicted drivers. We can help you get cover arranged before you get back on the road. If you decide not to get insurance because of the inflated price due to your previous record, and you get caught, then the consequences of reoffending are much higher than for first time offences. At Think, we have an understanding of the market and have access to specialist convicted driver insurance policies, whereas other brokers may not, and could simply cancel your policy, or not be able to provide you with a quote, as they may not have access to the same insurers and products that we do.
You can also arrange cover if you have any non-driving convictions too, such as criminal convictions. 9 million people in the UK have criminal convictions and the most common crime being car theft. It is often difficult for people with criminal convictions to get car insurance. Some convictions can now be considered spent after a certain amount of time and do not need to be declared. However if a conviction resulted in a prison sentence longer than 4 years, you will always have to declare it when getting insurance, which means this is not a problem that will go away. However sometimes the criminal convictions can be less of a hindrance for getting insurance than a specific driving conviction.
When trying to obtain a convicted insurance policy you should speak with a specialist broker as they will be able to offer you the best advice on costs and suitable policies due to their knowledge. They can also offer specially negotiated rates that normal brokers cannot. They can also offer you added extras including breakdown cover, protected no claims bonus and legal expenses that you would get with a typical car insurance policy.
4. What Types Of Convictions Can You Get Cover For?
If you have a conviction such as ‘driving whilst on a mobile phone’ (CU80), ‘exceeding the motorway speed limit’ (SP50) or ‘driving under the influence of alcohol over the national legal limit’ (DR10), and you have been given 6 penalty points or more or had a driving ban, then you will need Convicted Driver insurance.
Convicted Driver insurance is now available for the majority of conviction codes including car insurance for drink driving offences. However, this does depend on the individual’s circumstances. At Think Insurance we will consider all convictions, including speeding, driving without insurance, drink driving and driving without due care and attention.
Your conviction code may not even warrant the need for Convicted Driver insurance. For example, an SP30 conviction for ‘exceeding the statutory speed limit on a public road’ does not require such insurance. This is one of the most common convictions and admitting this to your insurer does not mean you need a new convicted driver’s policy because your insurance premium is not impacted. However when taking out a new policy, your insurer will still ask about any convictions you have received in the last 5 years, and may take this into account when deciding on the premium.
Convictions usually remain on your driving licence for 4 years, after which time they are deemed to be “spent”. If you have a conviction that is spent, it may still need to be declared to your insurer, subject to their quoting process and requirements. While a conviction may be spent after 4 years, insurers will typically ask if you have had any in the last 5 years, so you will still need to make them aware. It may be tempting to not disclose convictions because of the cost, but not only will you be fined if you get caught, your insurance will also be invalid in the case of an accident. Your insurance policy requires that you be accurate and truthful.
The process of getting cover just tends to be longer and more complicated when you have a conviction, but it is our job to try and reduce the hassle.
5. Why Is Insurance So Expensive For Convicted Drivers?
Statistically, convicted drivers are more likely to be involved in accidents and make claims. This means insurers see them as a high-risk group and are reluctant to offer insurance for a low price.
If you have a conviction, you unfortunately have a record of breaking the law. This does suggest you will present a higher risk to potential insurers. This is then costly to insurers so they have to increase the premiums to compensate. The risk is not only high to insurers but also to the public as there is an increased risk of people getting hurt or property being damaged with unsafe drivers on the road. There are some scary statistics that insurers take into account when considering how to treat convicted drivers (particularly where the conviction involves drink or drug driving):
- 3000 people are killed or seriously injured each year in drink drive collisions
- 1 in 6 road deaths involve intoxicated drivers
- Half a million breath tests are carried out each year and on average 100,000 are found to be positive
It is said that 1 in 60 drink drivers will reoffend which is why insurers will charge such high prices. If they do reoffend they are putting themselves and other people at increased risk of accidents, and insurance brokers do not want to be responsible for this.
6. Declaring your Convictions
If you have a conviction then you will need to declare it for 5 years, or if it is still in its period of endorsement and remains on your licence. Under insurance disclosure law, you must answer all questions asked fully and accurately. Not all convictions will be with you forever, and fortunately they have an expiry date. This means your insurance costs should return to normal when they are spent.
If you have car insurance convictions in last 5 years you will need to declare these with most insurers, even if they are now spent. At Think Insurance we require that you must declare a conviction received within the last 5 year period. This can sometimes vary between insurers but whilst they are not spent, all convictions must be declared.
The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act says that spent claims do not need to be disclosed to insurers after this period. This means that you will not need convicted insurance forever as your conviction will eventually expire. Different convictions will have different lengths of time before they are spent. These criminal convictions vary according to the Rehabilitation Act. For example, ‘careless driving due to being under the influence of either alcohol or drugs’ has an 11-year period for which it remains on your licence. However the majority of offences such as exceeding the speed limit and failure to comply with traffic signals have 4 year periods for which endorsement remains on your licence. However long this time period is, it is a requirement that you declare these convictions within this time to make your insurance valid.
If you have served more than 4 years in prison as a result of a driving or non-motoring offence, then your conviction can never be spent and therefore you will always have to disclose it every time you want an insurance policy.
However, any cautions, reprimands and final warning issues do not need to be declared according to the ROA. Conditional cautions also only have a spent time of 3 months so do not need to be disclosed after this.
If you do not declare your convictions, this is considered fraudulent behaviour and your insurance can be invalid or your claim rejected if you wanted to make one. In the event of failure to notify, you could also have to pay a fine of up to £1,000 which could end up being more costly than the premium you may have to pay for declaring. When it comes to getting insurance you need to make sure you know what you need to disclose and what you don’t, to ensure you get a good deal but without any chance of your claims being classed as invalid.
Each conviction is different so you are best to seek advice from your insurance provider as some convictions such as dangerous driving make things more difficult. However complicated the process may be, it is a legal requirement to notify your insurer of any convictions whether they are new or old.
It is important to know which convictions will make a difference in terms of insurance costs, for example if you have a drink driving conviction you may wish to speak to drink driving insurance specialists. These convictions related to alcohol can vary broadly as to whether any harm was caused, whether it was the same night or next morning, how over the limit you were when breathalysed, plus prison sentence etc. All these variables mean that the cost and ability to get insurance will require the help of an expert.
There are specialist convicted driver insurance brokers like ourselves, that deal specifically with these instances so there are still easier options. Just bear in mind that premiums will be more expensive than for drivers with a clean licence but we still aim to get you Cheap Car Insurance for Convicted Drivers.
7. If Refused, What Are The Options?
The majority of standard private car insurance brokers will not provide policies at renewal to existing customers, or to new customers with convictions. This is because they do not have the specialist products or rates to deal with pricing of such quotes as this is not their area of expertise and the policy is considered to be too high risk.
Of course you have the option to remain off the road, and not drive until your conviction is spent and does not need declaring. This means you will not have to pay the inflated prices and when you do decide to get back on the road, the cost of your insurance may be back to normal. However we understand that this is not really feasible as being without a car for 5 years can have a huge impact on everyday life and make maintaining a job difficult.
Different brokers will accept different types of convictions so you may just need to shop around until you find someone who accepts yours, and to make sure you are getting the best policy. You are always better off dealing with specialist brokers as they know more about your convictions and the options available to you, when other brokers may simply reject your request.
Searching online or phoning around yourself is a good strategy if you are refused cover or quoted a high premium, however Think Insurance do the searching for you, saving you time and helping you find the best available deal tailored to your individual requirements.
8. Tips To Keep Your Premium Down
Whether you are trying to get a quote, or you have already obtained convicted driver cover, there are ways to keep the costs down and help you to potentially pay less in the future, even with an unspent conviction. Here are a few ways to reduce your payments and obtain insurance that will not break the bank:
Raise Your Excess
In order to lower your annual or monthly payments you can increase the amount of excess you pay on your policy. Your excess is the portion of any claim you have to pay upfront yourself when you make a claim. Your insurer will then pay the remainder of the claim amount. If you raise your excess too high, you have to make sure that you have the money to cover any claims up to your stated amount as this will be your responsibility. We would only recommend you put a higher excess on if you know you will have the money available if something did happen.
Having a higher excess will reduce your payments, so it can work out cheaper if you do not have to make a claim. Excess levels can usually range from £50-250 but higher amounts are available on request if you choose to raise your excess.
Lower Your Mileage
Lowering the amount of miles you drive in your car will also affect your insurance premium. You normally have to provide an estimate before taking out a policy for the number of miles you will do in a year. For obvious reasons people who do more miles are more likely to have an accident or make a claim. If you give a low estimate (still must be truthful) then this could lower your premium.
Keep Your Car Safe
If possible, keeping your car in a secure place such as a garage may help to reduce your premium. A car kept in a garage is subjected to fewer bumps, scratches and thefts compared with a car parked in the street. This means less chance of a claim for your insurer and they may reward this level of security with a cheaper policy.
It goes without saying that after having a conviction, careful driving is recommended. Driving carefully and not taking risks will reduce your chance of an accident. No accidents mean no claims which in turn reduces the chance of any price increase in future due to additional claims history. This also enables you to build up a no claims bonus which can reduce the cost of future policies.
The same can be said for re-offending. If you repeat your conviction, the time for which this remains on your licence will be renewed and you will have to wait another 5 years to be able to get insurance that is not Convicted Driver insurance.
Re-offending will increase your chances of having a policy cancelled or rejected (depending on the severity) and will in turn drastically inflate the prices. You could also receive more serious penalties for re-offending such as a driving ban, higher fine or even a prison sentence.
Driver Rehabilitation Course
There are courses available across the UK for convicted drivers called driver rehabilitation courses. They are aimed at re-teaching the basic laws of the road and the consequences of not abiding by them. These are becoming increasingly popular, and some insurance brokers will give you a reduction in your insurance costs upon completion. They are also good in terms of education about drink drive limits, and speed limits so you can improve your driving for your own safety (and the safety of others).
For drink or drug driving convictions that resulted in a ban, the UK wide drink driving awareness courses can often reduce such a ban or help to avoid points on your licence. Upon completion, discounts for future insurance may be offered once the ban is finished.
Taking a speed awareness course if you have a speeding conviction can also help to reduce the costs when compared to accepting three points on your licence and a fine.
Most policies will come with optional extras at an additional cost. Although these may prove very useful, if cost is your main concern, you may need to opt out of these. These extras include things like legal protection, excess protection, breakdown cover, windscreen cover and gadget cover. If you have other ways of protecting yourself in these instances then you may be able to cut them out of your insurance policy. However they could save you money if anything did go wrong.
All of these factors only contribute a small difference but if combined, then you could notice a big difference in the overall cost in both the short and long term if you use these tips. For more advice and help on your specific conviction or personal situation, the specialist convicted driver team at Think Insurance will be more than happy to help.
9. Why Choose Think Insurance?
Once convicted, a large percentage of people can be more careful not to reoffend as a result, especially drivers with more serious driving convictions where people have been injured, and re-offending rates are usually very low. We understand that you have served a penalty for your conviction and this can have a great impact on your life, especially if it resulted in a driving ban or large fine. We believe in second chances and would not want a mistake to hinder you as the majority of convictions end up making you more aware of safety and risk taking behaviours, and in a lot of cases, people who break the law while driving generally say it is because of lack of attention or thinking they can get away with it. This is one of the reasons that we choose to offer competitive, convicted driver insurance that is both good value and good quality.
We also choose to treat each case on an individual basis because of the vast range of convictions available and the breadth of circumstances. (We also offer van insurance for convicted drivers.) We offer our help to all drivers regardless of history and try and find a deal that works for them. Even if you have a criminal, non-driving conviction then we will also consider providing you with cover, again tailored to your background. Our policies can come with EU cover for 90 days, legal protection and UK and EU Breakdown as additional policy add-ons.
Take a look at our video below for more reasons to choose Think Insurance!
The comparison process can be a lengthy (and boring!) one, but with Think Insurance no comparison is needed as we do that job for you. We aim to find a policy tailored to be specific to each individual. Everything we do has getting the best value for the customer in mind, as we understand insurance can be expensive regardless of convictions. This is why we offer flexible payment options so you can pay in whatever way suits you best.
If you are looking to buy a vehicle on finance then we can also help you with this. Think Insurance understand that people returning from a ban, after a large fine or after having their cars seized, may be unable to afford to buy a new car upfront. This is why we offer vehicle finance for people looking for a new car, whether they have convictions or not. For more information visit www.thinkfinance.co.uk.
We have now been voted as the UK’s Best Broker for 3 years in a row, (2014, 2015 and 2016) by ‘thebestof.co.uk.’ This is thanks to our dedicated, experienced team of specialists and great customer service. We work closely with the rehabilitation course providers across the UK, such as OGWR DASH and TTC. This means that we can offer a discount on your insurance once the course has been completed. We also offer a UK based 24/7 claims helpline as we understand that accidents are unpredictable and can be devastating, and we see it as our job to be there if something does go wrong.
If you are a driver with a conviction and you are struggling to get a policy or one that is affordable, then there may be several reasons for this. There are lots of different types of convictions, from drink driving to speeding to careless driving. Each of these comes with points and a time period for which you must declare your conviction to an insurer. During this period your conviction is considered unspent and insurers will view your driving as high risk. Statistically convicted drivers are more likely to be involved in accidents, which poses a greater chance of claims to the insurers.
However there are insurance brokers that specialise in convictions, both driving and criminal, and they can offer insurance for almost all types of conviction. If you would like an insurance policy then we recommend that you speak to such a broker as they have the best knowledge of convictions and their impact on your premium.
There are ways to decrease your costs. These include taking a rehabilitation course, a telematics policy and increasing your excess. See our tips for convicted drivers for more information.
If you have found yourself with a driving conviction, then contact Think Insurance today and they can give you the best advice, and offer you a policy dependent on your individual circumstance after comparing offers from a panel of insurers to ensure you get the best deal. Simply give us a call on 0800 221 8077, or click Get a Quote to find out more.
For any more information please visit any of the websites listed above or contact Think Insurance for further advice. All the information provided above is given on an advisory basis only, it is not to be used exclusively or as financial advice.