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Drink driving insurance options

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Despite drink driving being a criminal offence, around five per cent of road collisions involved a drunk driver in 2020. As well as having dangerous and sometimes fatal consequences, it can affect your car insurance.

Drivers with drink driving convictions are likely to pay over 80 per cent more on their car insurance premiums. There are some things that you can do to find a good convicted driver insurance deal. We’ll discuss the penalties for drink driving, how this affects your premium and what you can do to try and get cheaper car insurance if you are convicted.

Is drink driving insurance available?

It’s not easy finding car insurance with a drink driving conviction. Some insurers will refuse your application altogether, others may offer fewer policies and higher premiums, and some may offer a convicted driver insurance policy.  

It’s harder to find car insurance after a drink driving ban or conviction because insurers now consider you a high-risk driver – but it’s not impossible. Though it may be more difficult to find a policy, you should still shop around for car insurance quotes to ensure you get the best deal, too.  

If you are currently serving a driving ban, legally you are still required to have third-party car insurance if you own a car. Although you’re not allowed to drive, your car still needs to be insured. The only way to avoid this is to declare your car off-road by submitting a SORN notification. This will mean you are no longer legally required to pay road tax or car insurance. 

If you declare your car as SORN: 

  • It must not be driven by you or anyone else
  • It should not be parked on a public road
  • It should be kept on a driveway or private property

If you don’t follow these rules, you could face a court prosecution or a fine of up to £2,500. 

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How do I reduce the average cost of car insurance after a drink driving ban?

Following a drink driving ban, you’ll need to make sure your car is insured if you want to drive on the roads again. Your premiums are likely to be much more than you previously paid. 

Obtaining cheap insurance for drink drivers is tough. However, there are a few things you can do to help lower the cost of your premium after a drink driving conviction. 

Take a drink driving rehabilitation course

Drink driving bans are usually for 12 months or more. Most drivers who are serving a drink driving ban will be offered a rehabilitation course. The course is designed to educate drivers about the dangers of drink driving. 

If you take and pass the course, it could help lessen the length of time you are banned. You’ll receive a certificate which you can show your car insurance provider. This could help reduce your future premium.

Consider telematics car insurance

Telematics or black box insurance could reduce your premiums – so long as you drive carefully and safely. A black box monitors the way that you drive and this data is shared with your car insurance provider. It can be a useful type of insurance for convicted drivers, it gives you an opportunity to prove that you are a safe driver.  

Reduce your mileage

A higher mileage is considered more risky to insure convicted drink drivers. Your insurance provider will consider you less likely to be involved in an accident if you spend less time on the road. 

Invest in security

Where you park your car matters, especially where you park it overnight.  Parking your car in a safe and secure place such as a garage or underground parking could help lower your car insurance premiums. This is because your provider will consider there to be a lower chance of theft or damage.  

Pay higher voluntary excess

Voluntary excess is the amount you will pay if you need to claim your car insurance. Paying a higher excess is likely to reduce your insurance premium – but you should make sure that the excess is still affordable for you should you need to pay it. 

Consider pay-as-you-go insurance

Pay-as-you-go car insurance might be a cheaper option. This largely depends on your mileage and the time of day that you drive. This type of insurance is beneficial for drivers who don’t plan on driving much since most charge the premium based on the miles driven. 

Add a named driver

Adding a named driver can prove valuable is a good way to get cheap car insurance for drink drivers. If you add a named driver to your car insurance you’ll want to make sure they have no driving convictions and have a good driving history as well as being a safe driver.  

Although it may be more expensive and trickier to find a good deal, it is possible to get car insurance after a convicted drink driving offence. (Adobe)

Should I declare any drink driving convictions to my insurance provider?

Yes, you should always declare drink driving convictions. It is illegal not to let your car insurance provider know. If you fail to declare your conviction, this is more than likely to invalidate your insurance policy. 

You will also need to notify your insurance provider if you are given any penalty points on your driving licence.

Typically, you’ll need to declare any convictions for the next five years to your current or new insurance provider. Your driving conviction becomes spent either:

  • Five years after you got it, if you were 18 or over
  • Two years and six months after you got it if you were under 18

What happens if you have an accident while drink driving? 

If you have an accident while drink driving, the damage may not be covered by your provider. This applies to both damage and personal injury. However, your provider will pay out for third-party damages. Whatever they pay out, they may try to claim back from you. You should check the small print of any car insurance policy to check exactly what it covers.  

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It’s never a good idea to get behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking, but it is helpful to know the legal limits in the UK. If you have been drinking and are considering driving, this is what you should know. 

The alcohol limit for driving in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is: 

  • 35 Micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath
  • 80 Milligrammes per 100 millilitres of blood
  • 107 Milligrammes per 100 millilitres of urine

The alcohol limit for driving in Scotland is: 

  • 22 Micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath
  • 50 Milligrammes per 100 millilitres of blood
  • 67 Milligrammes per 100 millilitres of urine

Alcohol affects the body according to various factors: 

  • Your age, weight, sex and metabolism
  • The type and amount of alcohol consumed 
  • How much and what you have eaten 
  • Your stress levels at the time of consuming alcohol 

Even though you can legally consume very small amounts of alcohol and legally drive, alcohol can impair our judgement and ability to drive safely. It’s best to avoid drinking altogether if you plan to drive a vehicle.  

What happens if I get caught driving over the drink driving limit?

Drink driving is illegal in the UK, and, if caught, you could face life-changing consequences. Different types of circumstances relating to drink driving carry different driving penalties

If you’re caught driving over the legal limit, you could face the following:

  • Up to six months imprisonment
  • An unlimited fine
  • A driving ban of a least 12 months – three years if you’ve been convicted twice in 10 years

Causing death by driving while under the influence of alcohol, you could face:

  • Life imprisonment
  • An unlimited fine
  • A driving ban for at least five years
  • An extended driving test before your licence is returned to you

You could also face other consequences for drink driving:

  • Your car insurance premiums could drastically increase
  • If your job involves driving, your employer will be aware of your conviction and subsequently, you could lose your job 
  • Obtaining a visa for certain countries, such as the USA, could become difficult 

The following conviction codes stay on your record for 11 years from the date of conviction.

Code Offence Penalty points Average car insurance cost
DR10 Driving or attempting to drive with an alcohol level above the limit 3 to 11 £1,319.42
DR20 Driving or attempting to drive while unfit through drink 3 to 11 £1,198.47
DR30 Driving or attempting to drive then failing to supply a specimen for analysis 3 to 11 £1,456.38
DR31 Driving or attempting to drive then refusing to give permission for analysis of a blood sample that was taken without consent due to incapacity 3 to 11 £2,165.93
DR61 Refusing to give permission for analysis of a blood sample that was taken without consent due to incapacity in circumstances other than driving or attempting to drive 10 £2,135.56

The following conviction codes stay on your record for four years from the date of conviction.

Code Offence Penalty points Average car insurance cost
DR40 In charge of a vehicle while the alcohol level is above the limit 10 £1,690.54
DR50 In charge of a vehicle while unfit through drink 10 £3,132.41
DR60 Failure to provide a specimen for analysis in circumstances other than driving or attempting to drive 10 £2,132.41
DR70 Failing to cooperate with a preliminary test 4 £1,300.38

Average quotes based on 2023 prices as per the varying drink-driving conviction codes

Frequently asked questions about car insurance for drink drivers

You can still get a car insurance policy with a drink driving conviction, but it will be more difficult for you. Some car insurance providers will not insure convicted drivers, while others are likely to hike the price of premiums. You should consider exploring convicted driver insurance as you’re more likely to get a cheaper deal.


Rachel Sadler

Home Tech Writer

Rachel is a seasoned writer who has been producing online and print content for seven years. 

As a home tech expert for Independent Advisor, Rachel researches and writes buying guides and reviews, helping consumers navigate the realms of broadband and home security gadgets. She also covers home tech for The Federation of Master Builders, where she reviews and tests home security devices. 

She started as a news and lifestyle journalist in Hong Kong reporting on island-wide news stories, food and drink and the city’s events. She’s written for editorial platforms Sassy Hong Kong, Localiiz and Bay Media. While in Hong Kong she attended PR events, interviewed local talent and project-managed photoshoots. 

Rachel holds a BA in English Language and Creative Writing and is committed to simplifying tech jargon and producing unbiased reviews.


Amy Reeves


Amy is a seasoned writer and editor with a special interest in home design, sustainable technology and green building methods.

She has interviewed hundreds of self-builders, extenders and renovators about their journeys towards individual, well-considered homes, as well as architects and industry experts during her five years working as Assistant Editor at Homebuilding & Renovating, part of Future plc.