Driving convictions can prove extremely costly, adding up to a few hundred pounds to your car insurance premium.
Whether you’ve been caught speeding, using your mobile phone while behind the wheel or something more serious like drink driving, the amount that your premiums can rise will vary.
Here’s how having a driving conviction can affect your car insurance premiums.
What are the most common driving convictions?
When you are caught breaking any of the UK’s motoring laws, such as exceeding the designated speed limit, you will be issued with a driving conviction.
You usually receive points on your licence for a minimum of four years. However, insurance companies will take license points into account when calculating your insurance premium for up to five years.
Motoring laws vary in severity, and the number of points you pick up for breaking each law will reflect this. In more serious cases, such as causing death by dangerous driving, any penalty points picked up will remain on your driving licence for 11 years.
Some insurers won’t insure a driver with certain convictions, such as driving an uninsured vehicle – this is because they (understandably) see you as a high risk.
Although this makes it harder to get a quote, it’s worth doing your research as there are often convicted driver insurance specialists who are willing to offer you a quote despite your past convictions.
Among the most common convictions are:
- SP30 – Speeding on a public road
- CU80 – Using a hand-held device while driving (typically mobile phones)
- IN10 – Driving without insurance
- SP50 – Speeding on a motorway
- TS10 – Failing to comply with traffic light signals
Not all of these offences will result in you being turned down for insurance; if you get rejected, you’ll need to shop around to find a lenient insurance company willing to offer you a quote.
How are drink-driving convictions different?
Drink-driving convictions work a little differently from most other motoring laws. Driving under the influence of alcohol is extremely dangerous and the penalty is usually severe.
If you are caught drink-driving, you will have your license suspended for a minimum of 1 year (although this may be extended for up to three years if you have a prior drink-driving conviction) with a maximum fine of £5,000.
Depending on the circumstances of your offence, you may be sentenced to a 6 month prison term, or community service.
The potential of a drink-driving conviction to affect other parts of your life should not be underestimated. You could lose your job and find it difficult to find subsequent employment (many employers require their staff to hold a “full, clean driver’s license”).
Once your punishment term is up, you’ll find it much more difficult to secure insurance, and those who are willing to insure you are likely to charge you very high premiums for years after your conviction. Car insurance with convictions for drink driving is unlikely to come cheap.
How to check driving convictions
Your driving convictions must be declared to your insurer when taking out a new policy – failing to do so is a criminal offence in itself.
If you are unsure whether or not you have an outstanding conviction on your driving licence, you can check by entering your driving licence number, National Insurance number and postcode into the Gov.uk website here.
How do driving convictions affect car insurance premiums?
Convictions will affect your car insurance premium differently depending on the seriousness of the offence, your personal circumstances and the policy of the particular insurance company involved.
Once you’ve picked up a conviction and have points on your licence, you’re more likely to struggle to get a good quote, particularly if you have prior convictions.
Shop around until you find an insurer who is willing to offer you a good deal, starting with specialist convicted driver insurance providers like Quote Searcher.
Does a criminal conviction affect car insurance?
A conviction does not have to be motor-related for it to have a detrimental impact on the costs of your car insurance premiums.
If you have been convicted for a crime that is non-motor related then your insurer is still likely to see you as an increased risk, particularly if these offences relate to fraud – even minor social offences like littering can affect your premiums.
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