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Last updated: 13/11/2023 | Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

Cover for convicted drivers

Car or van insurance can be expensive for most of us. But if you have a conviction, whether that's a driving offence or any other type of criminal record, you could see your premiums shoot up. You may even find it more difficult to get insured in the first place, but there are specialist insurers out there who can help you. This guide will tell you what to expect when looking for insurance as a convicted driver, and how to find affordable deals so you can get back on the road.

In This Guide:

How does a conviction affect my car or van insurance?

Statistically, convicted drivers are more likely to be involved in road accidents and make claims on their insurance. This invariably means higher premiums. A conviction doesn't necessarily have to be a driving offence. It could be any kind of criminal offence, one that isn't related to driving and won't affect your skills at all.

Some companies may even refuse to insure you if you have a conviction, especially if it's for a driving offence. If you're struggling to get insured from one of the better-known insurance firms, then you could try getting a van insurance quote from any number of smaller insurers who specialise in providing cover for drivers with convictions. However, it's unlikely you'll find any cheap van insurance deals with these than you would with the major insurers.

Don't give up until you can find someone to insure you at a price you can afford. Remember, every driver in the UK must be insured at all times. If you're caught driving illegally without insurance, then you could be disqualified from driving and fined £5,000. And if you are eventually allowed back on the roads, then you will only find it even more difficult to find competitive van insurance policies.

What counts as a driving conviction?

A driving conviction will be issued to you by the police if you're caught breaking any UK motoring law. You will usually end up with a fine and points on your licence. The size of the fine and amount of points you receive will depend on the seriousness of the offence. Points on your licence will usually stay there for 4 years, although insurance companies will use these to penalise you for up to 5 years.

There are a few ways to get caught committing a driving offence. You could get caught directly by the police or by a speed camera, or you could be convicted after an investigation if you're involved in a serious accident.

There are over 70 different motoring offences in the UK you could be convicted for, but the most common are:

  • Speeding
  • Using a mobile phone or other handheld device while driving
  • Driving through a red light
  • Driving without insurance
  • Drink/drug driving

If you have been convicted for drink or drug driving, you could see your insurance premiums double. You will also have to pay a higher excess when it comes to claiming, and you could even be refused insurance altogether. A drink or drug driving conviction usually stays on your record between 3-5 years, although if you cause death or serious injury from drink or drug driving, the offence could stay on your record for up to 11 years.

Depending on the seriousness of your offence, you will get a number of points on your licence, usually between 3-11. That is, unless your offence isn't serious enough to get banned from driving immediately. If you have 12 points on your licence, you will be disqualified from driving for a period of time decided by the court.

Should I declare my criminal convictions?

When getting a quote for your car or van insurance, you must declare any convictions, motoring or criminal, unless they are spent. All convictions become spent after a certain amount of time, depending on the seriousness of the offence, unless it resulted in a prison sentence of two and a half years or more. A caution or final warning does not have to be disclosed, as they are spent straight away.

You should always declare your unspent convictions to your insurance provider when getting a van insurance quote. Failure to do so could make your policy invalid when it comes to making a claim and will end up costing you a lot more.

If you already have car or van insurance at the time you commit an offence, you don't need to declare it to your insurance company until it comes to renewing your policy, unless it is stated otherwise in your contract.

As a convicted driver, how can I save money on my insurance?

There are a few things you can do to reduce your van insurance premium if you're a convicted driver.

Many of the major insurance providers will refuse to insure convicted drivers, but you can still find a policy with many smaller, specialised insurers. The best way to find the cheapest van insurance policy is to compare van insurance quotes. You can do this by entering your details in our price comparison box where you can get a list of providers and their policies in seconds.

Telematics Policy

You should also consider getting a telematics insurance policy. Also known as black box insurance, it works by fitting your van with a device that records your driving habits, such as speed, distance travelled and the times of day you're on the road. This information is then used to calculate how much you pay on your premium. This can be helpful if you're sure that you're a safe and responsible driver. However, you need to be careful with telematics insurance, as if you drive a little too fast, or at night or on dangerous roads, you could see your insurance costs rise.

Raise Excess

You can also lower your premium by raising your excess. This the amount you must pay when you make a claim. The higher you set the excess, then the less you will pay for your insurance. However, you need to be careful to balance this. Don't set your excess too high that it becomes unaffordable to make a claim when you need to.

Another way to lower your premium is to show your insurers that your van is safe. If you can prove that you park in it a garage overnight instead of on the street, or if you fit it with an immobiliser or an extra alarm, there will be a lower risk that your van will be stolen and therefore your premium will come down.

You could also benefit by driving less. The more you drive, the more likely you are to have an accident, and therefore your insurance will be higher. Keep your mileage down, and you can see your insurance costs fall.