1. Home
  2. Car insurance
  3. Car insurance guides
  4. Car insurance for convicted drivers

Car insurance for convicted drivers

Getting convicted driver insurance can be difficult. For example, some offences, like driving without insurance (conviction code IN10) if you’re under 25 could mean you struggle to get cover. It sometimes depends on whether the conviction is spent or not too. Some insurers can offer cover for some convicted drivers, but either way a criminal conviction is likely to increase your car insurance costs. So is there a way to get a better deal?

A driver looks unhappy at the wheel of their car

Can I get car insurance with a conviction?

Generally yes, but convicted drivers often find it tough to track down a competitive deal. 

Some car insurance providers may decide not to cover them at all as they may not want to take the risk. But more specialist insurers could help. 

Don’t give up hope if this is your situation, there may be options available to you. The bad news, inevitably, is that car insurance costs post-conviction are almost certainly higher.

Compare car insurance quotes

Do I have to declare driving convictions for car insurance? 

All insurance companies without exemption have to know about all driving convictions within a 5-year period.

By law, most driving convictions are ‘spent’ after 5 years. Some convictions or sentences are so serious they can’t be spent. 

Most convictions or cautions are wiped out after a set period, courtesy of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

If you don’t declare a conviction then you’re at risk of having your policy cancelled and invalidated. This means if there are any claims outstanding, you’d be responsible for funding those costs.

Remember:

  • Many accident offences stay on your driving record for 4 years. For example, failing to stop after an accident could incur up to 10 penalty points.
  • Driving or attempting to drive when over the alcohol limit could be on your record for 11 years. The courts take a similarly strong line with drug-related offences.
  • You may be completely disqualified from driving if you rack up 12 or more penalty points inside 3 years.
  • If you drive for work, your employer can check your record via the DVLA Shared Driving Licence Scheme. They shouldn't be able to see any offences already spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act.
 

What is an IN10 and how can it affect my insurance?

An IN10 is a driving without insurance conviction and it stays on your licence for 4 years from the date of the offence. You can also get up to 8 penalty points on your licence. 

It’s become more common in recent years, with it sitting just behind speeding as one of the most common driving offences

You can get a £300 fine for driving without insurance and the police also have the authority to seize your vehicle.

If the case ends up in the courts the fine could rise further still. You could even be disqualified from driving.

If you’re getting insurance with an IN10 conviction, you might find your car insurance costs increase as it signals to the insurer that you may be high risk.

If you’re aged under 25 with an IN10 conviction, you may struggle to find cover at all.

You might get an IN10 if you’ve been driving with the wrong type of insurance. For example, if you’re driving for work purposes on a social and domestic policy. This is why you should always check you have the right level of cover when you’re getting car insurance.

There also might have been a genuine communication breakdown between yourself and the insurer, for a variety of reasons.

While an IN10 conviction stays on your licence for 4 years, you still have to disclose it to your insurer for a fifth and final year.

Expert tip: If you have a smartphone, why not set up an annual reminder 3 weeks before your insurance expires? A 3-week gap is usually the best time to renew, as you could see cheaper car insurance prices. Or you could use the Confused.com app which should send you a reminder automatically. 

 

Common types of driving conviction 

 

Speeding 

Government conviction data revealed this year that speeding still remains the most common driving UK offence.

If you’re caught speeding by a speed camera there’s a minimum £100 speeding fine. You could also get 3 penalty points on your licence, minimum.

First time offenders can take a speed awareness course if they’ve strayed only modestly beyond the speed limit.

Typically, they’re less costly than a speeding penalty. However, not all police forces offer them.

Fixed penalty notices via fixed and mobile speed cameras are the most common penalties. These include SPECS average speed devices, often found on motorways experiencing repairs or maintenance improvements.  

But a fixed penalty for speeding or careless driving doesn't count as a conviction.

 

Drink and drug driving

A drink-driving offence may affect the rest of your motoring life. It was the fourth most common motoring conviction in 2021, with just over 5,400 people getting a year’s driving ban for driving under the influence. 

A drink-driving record can hit you hard financially too. From higher insurance costs to legal fees and fines - even loss of earnings. 

Currently, the DVLA deploys the code DR10 if you’re convicted of drink driving. Most drink driving offences have to be declared for up to 5 years. After this time they’re ‘spent’.

A DR30 is the offence code for driving and not supplying a blood, breath or urine sample for analysis when stopped by the police.

UK Magistrates’ Court sentencing guidelines around breath, blood and urine are highly specific. The police have to follow tight sampling procedures by law.

Drink driving penalties can mean a fine of up to £2,500 and a potential driving ban – even for a stationary vehicle. 

A death by dangerous driving conviction - which isn’t limited to driving while drunk or on drugs - can stay on your licence for up to 11 years. 

A DR20 conviction is when you’re unfit to drive because of drink, even if you’re under the limit. A DR20 could mean 3 to 11 points on your licence.

 

Dangerous driving 

Dangerous driving offences stay on your record for 4 years from the conviction date and cover a spate of offences.

It’s not simply about aggressive driving, racing or running red lights. It includes distraction, like using a mobile phone for any reason when you’re driving. Be aware that ‘distraction’ risk now includes voice-activated in-car technology. 

Dangerous driving convictions run from serious injury (DD10) to furious driving (DD90) – 5 in total. Depending on the offence severity you could get up to 11 points on your licence. The codes are:

  • DD10 – convictions relating to serious injury through dangerous driving
  • DD40 – convictions for dangerous driving. This type of offence is very common
  • DD60 - culpable homicide or manslaughter caused through dangerous or reckless driving
  • DD80 – causing death through dangerous driving
  • DD90 – for drivers convicted of furious driving

The fines for these offences are usually split into 3 sections: Bands A, B and C, with C being the most serious. Most offences slip into Band A. These usually lead to a fixed penalty notice ticket and a minimum £100 fine plus 3 licence points.

Causing death by dangerous driving could mean up to 14 years in prison, and a driving ban for up to 2 years.

 

Do criminal convictions affect car insurance?

Your car insurance could increase as a result of a driving conviction - and the range of criminal convictions is wide.

Insurance is based on risk. So an insurer may find that if you have a criminal conviction - no matter what it is - you could be risky to insure.

For the purposes of insuring your car, the biggest issue is if a conviction is spent or not. If the conviction is spent it should be removed.

Since 2013 there’s no legal need to tell an insurer if you have any ‘spent’ criminal convictions. That’s down to your insurer and their underwriting process that measures the risks related to your cover.

An unspent conviction though might still come up following a criminal record check.

Remember to give as much detail as you can about your conviction when getting a car insurance quote. Some insurers might include dash cams and telematics otherwise known as ‘black boxes’ as a condition for getting a policy with them. 

 

Understanding spent and unspent convictions

Once a conviction has passed a certain stretch of time – normally called the ‘rehabilitation period’ – a conviction is ‘spent’.

When it’s ‘spent’ you don't have to disclose it. The exception is for any prison sentence that lasts more than 4 years.

If you’re getting car insurance, you should disclose any unspent convictions. An unspent conviction should come up on all criminal record checks – basic, standard and enhanced.

Spent convictions or cautions don’t get flagged up in a basic criminal record check. You shouldn’t have to disclose spent convictions or cautions when buying car insurance.

Remember: if you’re not honest with your insurer, then your insurance may be null and void.

All recordable offences against you stay on the Police National Computer until you reach 100 years of age. And they’re always disclosable, should the situation arise. 

 

How do I get cheap car insurance as a convicted driver? 

Any conviction can potentially affect the cost of your car insurance. So that’s more reason to always shop around for the best quote.

Re-examining your motoring needs and making some changes could lead to a saving. So why not try: 

  • Booking an advanced driving course. If you’ve got a conviction some insurers might see you as less of a risk if you take extra training.
  • Avoiding car modifications. Modified vehicles could increase your car insurance prices.
  • Limiting your annual miles. The fewer miles you cover, the less risk you could be to your insurer. 
  • Increasing your voluntary excess. Usually the voluntary excess is valued between £100 and £500. You can’t change the compulsory excess but you can change this voluntary amount.
  • Changing your car. A less powerful, and safe car or a vehicle with better security will likely be a cheaper car to insure.