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How Convicted Drivers Can Overcome Car Insurance Price Hikes

03 May 2012

The cost of car insurance has become an increasing concern for motorists in the past 12 months, with the AA reporting that the average driver paid 40% more for the same level of cover in 2010 compared with how much they paid just 12 months before.

This is impacting on motoring habits, with 65% of the drivers who took part in a moneysupermarket.com car insurance survey admitting that they had been forced to alter their driving habits as a result of this. More worryingly, 5% of these respondents had been forced to give up driving all together.

Drivers with convictions have been more badly impacted by these price rises than most with insurers, who are not keen to take on the risk associated with them. Insurers are therefore attempting to dissuade them from buying insurance by offering car insurance quotes which are massively out of proportion.

The impact of convictions

There are different levels of financial penalties applied to motorists by insurers depending on the offence. The following looks at the penalties that would be applied to an average 30 year old male driver with a Ford Mondeo, who is both employed and married:

ConvictionCar insurance premium offeredTotal percentage increase
None£335Base premium rate
Minor conviction- i.e. failing to wear a seat belt£3659%
Two minor convictions- i.e. failing to wear a seat belt and following another vehicle too closely£41725%
One major conviction- i.e. failing to stop after an accident£55064%

As you can see minor convictions only add a marginal increase, in this case 9%. However a 64% increase, as what occurs with a major conviction, could be the difference between being able to afford to run your car and being forced off the road.

Overcoming convictions

However there are a number of things that you can do to lower car insurance premiums, hopefully ensuring that you are not forced off the road and in the case of minor convictions, possibly ensuring that your premiums do not rise at all:

  • Improve yourself – The policy holder is the factor who is the single biggest influence on car insurance premiums. You can’t do anything about your age or the conviction once it has been picked up, but you can improve your levels of experience by taking part in advanced driving courses such as pass plus.
  • Add named drivers – You can also add older and more experienced motorists as named drivers on your policy. Insurers will assume that you will both be sharing the driving and will therefore be inclined to offer cheaper premiums.
  • Change your vehicle – Every different car is assigned to an insurance group numbered between one and fifty, with cars in insurance group one the cheapest to insure. You should therefore opt for a car in the lowest insurance group possible in order to lower your premiums.
  • Reduce your mileage – The more miles you travel, the more likely it is that you will be involved in an accident and make a claim. Insurers recognise this in the form of more expensive premiums for drivers with a higher mileage allocation. You should therefore make sure that the mileage allocation you set on your policy is as low as possible in order to ensure that you are not paying for miles that you are not going to be using.
  • Parking – A car parked on a public road is more susceptible to vandalism and theft than a car which is parked in a locked garage. Insurers will therefore offer cheaper premiums to drivers who plan to park in their vehicle in a secure location.
  • Security modifications – Contrary to popular opinion, not all modifications will be viewed negatively by insurers. Adding security systems such as alarms and immobilisers will reduce the statistical likelihood of your car being stolen, and therefore attract cheaper premiums.

Taking note of all these tips when you fill in the online car insurance forms can be quite time consuming if you complete forms for each insurance company individually. You could save yourself a significant amount of time by utilising price comparison websites. These will compare deals available through hundreds of different insurers in a matter of minutes and only require you to fill in one online form.

The final point to remember is that convictions are not the end of the road, but try to avoid adding any more to your collection in the future.

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