If you have any sort of criminal conviction, even if it’s not for a driving offence, you can find it harder, but not impossible, to find car insurance. Many mainstream insurance providers will ask for higher premiums, with some providers refusing to give you any cover full stop.

shutterstock_350472923Minor offences, driving-related or not, can affect your insurance because statistically, drivers with any sort of criminal conviction are more likely to have accidents (only statistically – this doesn’t mean a caution for shoplifting will suddenly make you accident-prone), making them riskier for insurers to cover.

Don’t despair…

You might have been turned down by mainstream insurers, or been shocked at the size of the premiums, but don’t worry, there are some insurance providers who will cover drivers with convictions. It’ll cost a bit more, but not as much as some quotes you may have seen. It’s a legal requirement for your car to be insured at all time, don’t forget, so don’t make things worse by driving without insurance.

…but do declare

Your conviction, that is. When you’re shopping for quotes, be honest about any cautions, fines or convictions, unless they’re spent. Most convictions are considered spent after a number of years:

If your prison sentence was suspended, or less than six months, your conviction is considered spent after seven years; for 6-30 months, it’s ten years. Longer sentences are never spent so you’ll need to declare them always.

If you’re facing a drink-driving conviction, you can always get advice from drinkdrivingsolicitor.com; you shouldn’t even consider lying about or “forgetting” a conviction to get cheaper insurance as you may make your policy invalid.

If you’re having difficulty finding cover

UNLOCK, the National Association of Reformed Offenders, can provide you with the details of insurers who may be able to help you. Even though you may feel so grateful that you just want to accept the first quote you see, take your time and shop around, just as you would with “regular” insurers, to get the best deal.

How to reduce your premiums

Once you’ve fund an insurer, you don’t have to accept the higher premiums without question, there are still a few things you can do to reduce your monthly payments.

Walk more

If your mileage is lower, it’ll reduce your premiums as well.

Go for a higher excess

In insurance, the excess is the money you pay yourself if you claim. If you choose a higher excess amount, it’ll reduce your premiums, but don’t choose a higher excess than you can afford!

Secure your car

Keep it in a garage if you can, and fit an immobiliser that your insurer recommends.

Get a black box fitted

No, this doesn’t mean you’re suddenly a pilot! Black box insurance is increasingly used by young or other “high risk” drivers to reduce their premiums over time. Your car will be fitted with a recording device that measures mileage, speed and so on, giving your insurers a better idea of your driving behaviour than a statistical profile.