May 27, 2022

Car Insurance with a Criminal Record – The Need to Knows

If you’ve got a criminal record, whether driving-related or otherwise, then you’ll need to be aware of how it can affect your insurance. Discover the need-to-knows in our latest blog.
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Whether you’ve been historically convicted of a crime, or you’ve been caught on the wrong side of the law more recently, convictions have an impact on how much your car insurance costs or whether you’ll have to get specialist convicted driver insurance.

Can I Get Car Insurance with a Criminal Record?

You can get car insurance even if you have a criminal record, but it heavily depends on the type and severity of offence, number of convictions as well as how long ago you were convicted. Some insurers will refuse cover if you have ongoing or ‘unspent’ convictions, or more severe convictions such as fraud, car theft or any offence deemed too risky or unsafe.

Even if your criminal record is not driving-related, you can still face problems getting car insurance.

What Constitutes as a Criminal Record?

A criminal record is a list of criminal offences that you have been found guilty of in court. Things like fixed penalty notices (FPNs), or parking fines, aren’t offences that would typically go on a criminal record if they’re handled properly, whereas something like burglary or severe speeding will affect your record.

Why Do Insurers Ask You to Declare Criminal Convictions/Records?

While this greatly depends on a case-by-case basis, general guidance is below, based on the government’s release.

Sentence/disposalBuffer period for adults (18 and over at the time of conviction.) This applies from the end date of the sentence.Buffer period for young people (under 18 at the time of conviction. This applies from the end date of the sentence.
Custodial sentence of over 4 years, or a public protection sentenceNever spentNever spent
Custodial sentence of over 30 months (2 ½ years) and up to and including 48 months (4 years)7 years3½ years
Custodial sentence of over 6 months and up to and including 30 months (2 ½ years)4 years2 years
Custodial sentence of 6 months or
2 years18 months
Community order or youth rehabilitation order1 year6 months

What is a Spent Conviction?

A ‘spent’ conviction is an historic conviction that a person is not legally required to declare. The time at which a conviction becomes spent varies depending on the type of conviction.

For example, according to the government’s advice, a conviction where a public protection sentence is given means a person will have to declare it for the rest of their life. However, a sentence such as imprisonment of six months or less will largely become spent after two years.

How Much of My Criminal Record Do I Have to Declare?

Any criminal conviction that is not spent must be declared. If you have a conviction that is spent, you no longer need to declare it.

By not declaring any criminal convictions you could be convicted of insurance fraud or similar, which will only make car insurance harder to arranged and more expensive. It’s best to be honest and declare any and all of your criminal convictions.

How Does a Criminal Record Affect My Car Insurance?

A criminal record of any kind, even if it isn’t motoring related, will affect your driving premiums, especially with high-street insurers.

MoneySuperMarket data suggests that there can be nearly a £1,000 difference between the cost of insuring someone with a criminal record versus someone without a criminal record, regardless of whether the offences are motoring specific.

Reducing the Cost of Convicted Insurance

  1. Consider a telematics (black box) policy. These often have curfews on, or mileage limits, which all help to drive your insurance premiums down.
  2. Build up a no claims bonus. By driving sensibly and not claiming for the first few years of driving, you’ll have a higher chance of having your premiums reduced quicker.
  3. Wait it out. If your conviction expires in six months, consider using public transport or getting lifts, as once your conviction is spent, you’ll be able to get more affordable transport.
  4. Use a specialist convicted driver insurance broker like Keith Michaels.

To get the best price for a policy, it’s best to speak to a specialist insurer, who can find a more competitive price for you. Keith Michaels offers convicted driver insurance, not only for those who have historic driving convictions, but also for those who have unspent convictions for other crimes on their record.

Get in touch today, and speak to one of our brokers for a non-judgemental discussion on getting you back on the road.