Car insurance with a criminal record

How a record affects your ability to get cover with a bad driving history.

If you have a rocky driving history or a criminal record, you might have already realised that it can be bad news for your car insurance.

If it’s not a driving-related offense, then it won’t necessarily impact your car insurance unless it reasonably increases the risk an insurer takes in offering you cover.

For example, previous drug-related charges might not affect your car insurance, but a conviction for insurance fraud might.

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Can car insurance companies see my driving or criminal record?

“...nobody can go to the RMS and get a copy of your record without a subpoena," Andrew Tiet, partner at Armstrong Legal, NSW

According to a legal professional who spoke to CarsGuide, nobody can access your record without an appropriate subpoena, including insurers.

Instead, they can ask you to provide this information and require you to be honest about it as a condition of your car insurance policy.

If you decline to provide the information, they might decline to offer you cover, and if you’re found to be dishonest about it later on, they may be able to cancel your policy, raise the price or decline a claim.

The last thing you want to do is take out a car insurance policy without being honest in the application. This might just lead to you paying for a policy that won’t pay out when you need it.

Being honest about your history is the safest bet.

How to check your own driving history

You’ll need to know your own driving history before you can be honest, but you can access your own record easily enough in Australia.

  • In NSW - Contact the RMS, pay the fee and get the record.
  • In QLD - Contact the DTM, pay the fee and get the record.
  • In VIC - You can order a five-year or lifetime record from VicRoads.
  • In SA - You can apply to have your driving record posted to you.
  • In WA - Get a five-year record from the WA Police website.
  • In NT - You can get a history of fines and offences from the motoring authority, but convictions are only obtainable from the NT Police.
  • In TAS - Access a five-year history through the motoring authority
  • In the ACT - Choose between a 3-, 5- or 10-year history from the motoring authority

How does a criminal record affect car insurance?

It all depends on the offences and the insurer. For example, some insurers will barely increase premiums for people with DUI convictions, while others will refuse to cover them at all.

It doesn’t have to be a criminal offense either. Minor infringements, such as a parking ticket, can also impact your car insurance as can many other factors.

If you’re having trouble finding affordable cover, the key is to shop around as much as possible and keep going until you find a good option.

Other than that, you can look for ways to cut down the price.

  • Shop around. It might be a pain, but sometimes doing the legwork is the only way. This list of Australian car insurance providers is a good place to start.
  • Consider your cover. You probably don’t want to end up underinsured, but adjusting your cover can help lower the price. You might opt out of the optionals, go for market value rather than agreed value cover or look for third-party property damage cover rather than comprehensive car insurance.
  • Consider your vehicle. Cheaper cars usually mean much cheaper insurance. If you’re in a real bind, you might do your wallet a big favour by downgrading.

When else will I need to provide my record?

Certain motoring jobs may also require you to provide your criminal record or have a background check.

Lying about your record can be a very serious criminal offence, and an offence like that probably won’t make things any easier.

It’s also worth remembering that just because someone requests your record or conducts a background check, that doesn’t mean they’ll automatically disqualify someone if they find anything. With car insurance and other things, it might be useful to provide a convictions record when requested.


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Andrew Munro

Andrew writes for finder.com, comparing products, writing guides and looking for new ways to help people make smart decisions. He's a fan of insurance, business news and cryptocurrency.

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4 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    July 13, 2018

    Hi there.
    I have a criminal conviction.
    I am in need of car insurance. Can you tell me who insures people with criminal convictions??

    Kind regards

    • finder Customer Care
      NikkiJuly 13, 2018Staff

      Hi Dale!

      Thanks for getting in touch! I understand you’re interested in car insurance.

      Generally, lenders would need proper legal documentation such as a subpoena to submit to the RMS and ask for your record. Given this, it’s not easy for them to get information on criminal records. Good news is there is still hope of finding a car insurance for you even if you have a criminal record. It helps that all relevant information is fully disclosed to the lender to save you the trouble in the future.

      The information above shows a list of providers who may be able to approve you of one given your situation. You are free to peruse through the page and should you have any questions, please come back to us.

      Hope this clarifies.

      Best regards,
      Nikki

  2. Default Gravatar
    Anne-MarieJune 7, 2018

    My son is 18 years old and is looking for third party insurance for his vehicle but has a criminal charge we have tried several insurance companies but finding it extremely hard to get insurance

    • finder Customer Care
      JoelJune 7, 2018Staff

      Hi Anne-Marie,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      Here are the steps to get covered if insurance providers consider you as “high-risk”. Please go this page to read the guide and compare from providers who may insure you depending on your son’s record.

      Cheers,
      Joel

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