Having a criminal conviction on your record can affect many areas of your life, from finding a job and renting a property, to applying for loans and credit cards. What you might not realise, is that it also has an impact on your ability to get car insurance.

It’s not just motoring convictions that make a difference either. When insurance providers calculate the price of a policy, they take into account how high risk a person is overall, not just how likely they are to have an accident. This means if you have a conviction on your record, you might struggle to find a competitive car insurance quote.

What is a criminal conviction?

A criminal conviction is any crime you have been found guilty of in court. This can range from serious crimes carrying a prison sentence, or minor offences such as littering or speeding.

How long do criminal convictions remain unspent?

When it comes to criminal convictions, they can either be spent or unspent. The idea of convictions becoming spent is to enable those who’ve committed crimes to move on with their life and not be unfairly affected by them. The amount of time before a criminal conviction becomes spent will all depend on the nature of the crime.

As you would imagine, more serious crimes will take longer to become spent when compared to petty crime. You can find an up-to-date guide to all types of crimes and how long it takes for them to become spent by clicking here.

When do you have to tell insurance providers about criminal convictions?

When applying for car insurance (or any other type of insurance), you’re obliged to provide any “material facts” about yourself upfront. This includes any unspent criminal convictions you have.

Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, once your conviction is spent, you no longer have to disclose it, even if you’re asked about convictions specifically.

Where is the best place to find car insurance with a criminal conviction?

It may seem unfair, but many insurance providers simply don’t take the time to find out the full details of your conviction and instead simply see you as a high risk person, therefore offering you a very high quote. Fortunately there are specialist insurance providers for people with criminal convictions who take a much more personalised approach. Specialist providers will look at the nature of your conviction and provide a quote that’s appropriate and fair.

Find more information about car insurance for those with criminal convictions as well as car insurance for those who’ve been bankrupt in our How We Can Help section.