Insurance for Convicted Drivers: Driving Offences vs Criminal Convictions

Man driving with police lights in rear-view mirror

Unbeknown to many, driving offences are not the only convictions which can lead to your insurance premiums rising – in fact, any kind of criminal conviction is enough for your insurer to see you as an increased risk, even if you have a remarkable driving record.

There is also some confusion among the general public over whether or not driving convictions are classed as a criminal offence and how your criminal record will be affected if you’re caught drink driving or speeding – we will attempt to answer all of your questions right here.


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What is a criminal record?

When you are found guilty of a minor offence, motoring or otherwise, you will receive a criminal conviction. This can be due to you failing to wear a seatbelt or going through a red light, all the way through to speeding and careless driving.

These criminal convictions are not the same as a criminal record.

You will only receive a criminal record when you are convicted of what are known as ‘recordable offences’ – these include things like drink or drug driving, failing to report an accident that you were involved in or offences like assault or theft.

Both criminal convictions and criminal records can have an impact on the price of your car insurance premiums, which is why many people opt for specialist convicted driver insurance.

Read more: Convicted driver insurance – how to get a cheap deal

Is a motoring offence a criminal conviction?

Is speeding a criminal offence? – If you are caught speeding and given an SP30 speeding conviction, you will not receive a criminal conviction as long as the matter is dealt with via payment of a fixed penalty notice with 28 days of being notified.

Is drink driving a criminal offence? – Drink driving, on the other hand, is a criminal offence under all circumstances. Any motorist convicted of drink driving will receive a criminal record and a DR10 endorsement on their driving licence.

Is driving without insurance a criminal offence? – Driving without car insurance is illegal, but is not an offence which would appear on a criminal record. An IN10 endorsement will stay on your licence for 4 years, though, and you will need to disclose it to future car insurance providers.


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The following motoring offences are all punishable by imprisonment and are therefore classed as criminal convictions:

  • Dangerous driving
  • Drug/drink driving
  • Failing/refusing to provide a breath, urine or blood sample
  • Failing to report an accident that you were involved in

Read more: How drink driving convictions can affect the price of insurance

Convictions that are deemed less serious and would not show up on a criminal record include:

Car insurance for convicted drivers – non-motoring related offences

Whether you have been found guilty of fraud, theft or even littering, your insurance provider will want to know about it.

Your car insurance policy is likely to cost more after disclosing that you have previously been convicted, but deciding to not tell your insurer is by no means an alternative – this in itself would be classed as fraud and, as well as invalidating your insurance, it would cause you a whole host of problems in the future.

Car insurance for banned drivers

If your conviction (or convictions) are deemed enough to revoke your driving licence, you will have to disclose this to your insurer even if you re-take your test and get a fresh licence.

Even if you are unable to drive your car due to a driving ban, you will still need a minimum of third-party car insurance if you plan on leaving it parked on public land (such as the pavement outside your home). If your car will be kept on private land then you can apply for a statutory off-road (SORN) notice, which informs the DVLA that the vehicle will not be seen on public roads in the near future.

To find out more about how and when you should apply for a SORN notice, read Bobatoo’s guide here.

How long do you have to declare convictions to your insurer?

Depending on the severity of your conviction, you could have to continue declaring it to your insurer forever.

Convictions which require you to either pay a fine, complete some form of community service or attend a driving course are usually classed as ‘spent’ after a maximum of 5 years, while more serious convictions such as causing death by dangerous driving (which alone comes with a minimum 12 month ban) will stay on your driving record for up to 11 years.

If you end up with a prison sentence of less than 6 months, your conviction will stay on your record for 7 years, or 10 years if your sentence is between 6 months and 2 ½ years. Any sentences lasting longer than 2 ½ years will always have a negative impact on any of your future insurance policies.

How long does drink driving stay on a criminal record?

A DR10 endorsement will remain on your record for 11 years and will have to be disclosed to any potential insurance providers over that period.

How do I check my criminal record for free in the UK?

If you are unsure whether or not you have an unspent criminal conviction on your record, you are able to access it by requesting a basic DBS check on the website – unfortunately, this is not free and will cost you £25. It will not show any of your ‘spent’ convictions, so any that appear on your certificate are unspent and must be passed onto your insurer, employer or any other interested parties.

Insurance for convicted drivers

Whether you’re looking for drink driving insurance or have recently recovered from a driving ban, you are still able to get affordable cover with Quote Zone.

Quote Zone will identify the best specialist insurance providers for your circumstances and find you the best deal for your car insurance – all you have to do is fill out one quick and easy form and then choose your preferred quote.


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