Getting insurance if you have a criminal conviction

Since April 2013 you no longer have to declare any ‘spent criminal convictions’ when applying for insurance. Your insurance company has to ask the necessary questions to work out if they can provide insurance for you.

What counts as a criminal conviction?

Did you know?

You do not have to disclose any convictions that are spent.

A criminal conviction can be anything from a prison sentence to a fine for littering or a speeding conviction – all types of offence count, however minor.

Only unspent convictions matter. Even if asked, you do not have to disclose any convictions that are spent. Convictions become ‘spent’ a certain time after the date of conviction, and after that they’re not allowed to count against you. That’s the law according to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

You may be asked about the convictions of everyone covered by the insurance, such as your partner, children or grandchildren. If it’s home insurance, that’s everyone who lives in the house.

Simple cautions, reprimands and final warnings are spent immediately and do not need to be disclosed as these are not criminal convictions.

Unlock, the National Association of Reformed Offenders, publishes a handy guide on getting insurance with a criminal conviction.

Read Insurance and convictions – A detailed guide on the Unlock website

Is your conviction spent?

You can find out whether your conviction is spent either by:

  • Checking through the list of conviction types on the Unlock website
  • Using an online calculator from Unlock

Find out when your convictions are spent on the Unlock website

Calculate if your conviction is spent on the Unlock website

If your conviction is spent, you don’t need to declare it when you apply for insurance.

When do you have to declare unspent convictions?

  • You only have to disclose convictions if you’re asked
  • If you’re not asked directly, check whether the terms and conditions mention convictions
  • Always get written confirmation of any convictions you’ve disclosed
  • If you get a conviction during a policy you don’t have to declare it until you renew the insurance, unless your policy specifically says that you must

What could happen if you don’t disclose convictions when asked?

If you don’t disclose your convictions when asked by the insurance company, your insurance could be invalid. And if you’ve made a claim, the insurance company can ask for the money back.

Sometimes these things happen because the insurance company didn’t explain things clearly. If that’s the case, you may be able to get this resolved.

What to do if your insurance claim is rejected

Where to get insurance if you have a conviction

One of the best places to start is with an insurance broker. Brokers can seek out the right insurance for your circumstances – and it’s free to get quotes through them.

Unlock offers a list of specialist insurance brokers for people with convictions.

Alternatively, you could search the database of insurance brokers on the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) website.