Declaring drink driving convictions to your insurer
Last updated: 09/05/2022 | Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes
An insurance policy is a contract built on trust. Essentially, you provide accurate information to your provider and they agree to cover you, based on a risk score provided by your information.
To an insurer, a drink driving conviction is evidence you’re a higher risk. However, there has always been some confusion around what exactly you need to declare and how long for.
Here at Money Expert we don’t like confusion, so let us dive into the world of declaring convictions and tell you all you need to know.
Yes. As a general rule, you will need to declare your drink driving convictions to your insurer. However, there’s a bit of a grey area in the timeline as to whether you need to voluntarily provide that information, or only do so when asked. Let’s find out more.
Typically, you’ll need to declare your drink driving convictions for 5 years after the fact. After this they become spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act of 1974, meaning you are not required to disclose them, despite them staying on your record for longer. More on this next.
However, this is where it gets murky. Even after 5 years an insurer may still ask if you have any convictions and in these instances you must tell the truth. Not doing so could invalidate your policy and even bring about fraud charges.
Yet it’s worth knowing your rights here: while insurers can use this information to decide whether or not to insure you, if they subsequently up your premium based on this information then this is considered unlawful behaviour by the High Court, and you can lodge a legal complaint against them.
Most insurers will require you to disclose any new convictions as soon as they occur, though some may only request you do so come renewal. You’ll be able to find this information in your policy wording.
Your specific offence will have a code dependent on the reasoning, but the most common ones are DR10 and DR20: driving or attempting to drive while either above the limit or unfit to drive respectively.
Both of these will stay on your driving record for 11 years, and you can receive anywhere from 3-11 penalty points depending on the severity.
However, as mentioned above, after 5 years these convictions become spent, meaning they should not be held against you. That being said, it pays to read the small print of your policy – some providers may assume your driving history and input clauses into your policy to cover themselves.
Drink driving convictions fall under the category of motoring offences. The easiest way to check whether your endorsements are spent is by viewing your personal driving information on the government website, where you can also view information on bans.
You’re also able to submit a Subject Access Request, which requires the police to disclose any information they have on file for you; this can be done through the Criminal Records Office.
As we’ve established, once a conviction is spent you don’t have to include that information on your car insurance comparison search nor declare it to your provider, unless you’re asked.
You must declare all unspent convictions when taking out a policy. Failing to do so could not only invalidate your policy, but also land you with additional fines, points on your licence and even a further driving ban.
You could also be asked to repay money, both for the balance of what the correct premium would cost or for any payments received from making a claim.
Not only that, many insurance companies deem non-disclosure a form of fraud, which carries big repercussions. In a nutshell, honesty is the best policy.
With a drink driving conviction, you’ll face higher premiums as insurers deem you more of a risk. You’ll also find the pool of available providers reduced and as such your options for cheap car insurance will be fewer and farther between.
However, it does depend on your overall risk score and the severity of the conviction. An experienced driver with an otherwise perfect record driving and a modest and reliable vehicle will likely be able to access cheaper deals than a young, inexperienced driver.
There are number of tried and tested ways you can bring down your quote:
Convicted drivers insurance is a specialist insurance policy for those with a driving conviction. As mentioned, having convictions can make it challenging to get a cheap premium, or even one at all due to providers deeming you higher risk. While you won’t be able to access the most affordable quotes, a specialised policy will guarantee you’re still able to get insurance.