Car Insurance with a Drink Driving Conviction
Drink driving is a serious conviction with serious consequences. Beyond the danger to the lives of you and others, it can land you with a hefty fine, a driving ban and even a lengthy prison sentence. On top of this, finding insurance following a conviction will be difficult, and most of all, expensive.
This guide takes you through some details of drink driving convictions, how to find insurance, and how to keep the increased costs of cover following a conviction down.
In this guide:
- What is Drink Driving?
- Can you get car insurance again following a drink driving conviction?
- How will drink driving affect the cost of car insurance?
- Keeping your car insurance costs down
Drink driving is driving a vehicle after consuming alcohol. There’s a certain limit of alcohol content in your blood that is allowed, if you’re found with anything above this limit, you’ll be convicted of driving under the influence. This limit will be different for everyone depending on factors such as age, sex and metabolism among other things. It’s impossible to know exactly how much alcohol will put any one person over the limit so it’s always advisable to avoid alcohol when driving.
Being convicted of this offence can have some very serious consequences. Even if you are not involved in an incident you can be given up to 6 months in prison, a driving ban or an unlimited fine. Other knock-on effects include significantly more expensive insurance (see below). If you cause death whilst driving under the influence, you could be sentenced to up to 14 years in prison.
You are not the only one your drink driving may affect. The Department for Transport recently released figures showing that in 2016 alone there were 9,050 casualties and 240 people were killed in drink-drive accidents.
Insurers don’t like drivers with drink driving convictions. If you’re beginning to drive again after a ban due to a conviction, it can be very difficult to find an insurer willing to cover you. This is because you are now seen as a high-risk driver. There are some specialist insurers that cover those with drink driving convictions, but these can be significantly more expensive.
You should remember that you are obliged to tell your insurer about your conviction, whether you are taking out a new policy or renewing an old one. If you don’t, your policy will almost certainly be void should you need to claim.
It’s also important to note that you are legally required to keep your car insured in one form or another at all times, even if you are banned from driving it. There are 2 ways you can deal with a car that’s not currently being driven. You can either keep it insured with third-party insurance cover or declare it as being ‘off-road’ via a Statutory Off-Road Notice (SORN).
As mentioned above, having a drink driving conviction can significantly increase the cost of your insurance. Even if your original insurer is willing to cover you, it’s common for your premium to at least double following your conviction. Depending on how serious your case is, it may well be even more expensive. Specialist insurers will usually charge more than any of the regular insurers, but you will most likely get more comprehensive cover.
Most insurers’ will respond to a DR10 penalty (drink driving conviction), not only by increasing your premiums but also by requiring you to pay a larger voluntary excess. This is the amount you would have to pay on top of the compulsory excess in the event that you have to make a claim.
Insurers usually require you to declare a conviction such as drink driving for a minimum of three to five years, depending on the company. However, more serious convictions can leave points on your licence for as long as 11 years. Your car insurance is likely to remain higher throughout this period. For more information on Penalty Points, see our article, ‘Penalty Points Explained’.
The most common way to keep the cost of your insurance down following a drink driving conviction is to take part in a drink driver’s rehabilitation course. These are usually offered if you are given a ban of 12 months or more following your conviction. These courses last around 16 hours in a number of sessions over the course of a few weeks. They are designed to educate and support those convicted of drink driving, with the aim of stopping reoffending. They cost in the region of £200 that you will have to pay yourself. This may seem like a hefty fee, but it will save you a lot more money in the long run as insurers can offer discounts of up to 25%. The certificate you are given as a result of completing the course can also help you find insurance if you are struggling to get cover.
If your insurance is still looking too expensive, there are some other measures you can take, unrelated to your conviction:
- Changing cars to one in a lower insurance group.
- Get a telematics policy – one with a black box that rewards you for safer driving.
- Shop around! The first quote you get will rarely be the best deal. Try using our free online car insurance comparison tool to find a deal with the right balance between cost and cover for you.