Credit problems in the past should not prevent you from being offered car insurance, and should not affect the premium that you have to pay; provided that you are paying the full sum in advance. However, if you wish to pay monthly then that is a different matter altogether. Insurers want to be fairly sure that you can afford the repayments and will make then as per the agreement, and so before agreeing to monthly payments they will almost certainly carry out a credit check on you. If they are not happy with what they find they may well decline to offer you monthly terms.
There are two types of credit check. The first one is known as a 'soft check'; this may be carried out to confirm your identity and to make sure that you have not made any mistakes when filling in the application form. This check would be recorded. However, the only person who would be able to see it would be yourself, and it would automatically be deleted after a year anyway.
if you actually make an application to pay monthly, however, you are in effect applying for a loan. This would be provided either by the insurance company itself, or a finance company acting on it's behalf. What is called a 'hard check' will then be made. This would be visible to anyone else who carried out a credit check on you, and, if you were turned down, this fact would be recorded as well.
This is why it is important that if you have already been refused a monthly payment plan you should not just keep on making more applications, since all of these will be visible to any other insurers that check your record. Multiple applications for credit, particularly if they are turned down, can adversely affect your rating considerably.
if you could afford it, there would be no reason why you could not get insured by paying for your policy in advance in the normal way. This is the cheapest way of buying insurance anyway.
however if you cannot afford, or do not wish, to pay out a lump sum in advance in this way you may find that explaining your situation to an experienced broker, who can contact insurers informally on your behalf, may be a good way to proceed. Provided that no actual application is made for periodic repayments until you are actually sure that your application would be accepted your credit rating should be unaffected. Indeed, after you have successfully completed all the payments in accordance with your agreement this fact will be recorded by the credit reference agencies, and this can only improve your standing.
if you visit the websites of the main credit reference agencies they will let you see your own credit record, after they have been satisfied that you are the person you say you are. Two useful sites areEquifax or Experian.
if you find any mistakes in this record you are entitled to insist that they is put right as soon as possible.