If you have a criminal conviction, whether from a long time ago or relatively recent, it can cause many everyday activities to become far more challenging. According to criminal convictions charity Unlock, over 9 million people in the UK have a criminal conviction, so this is an issue that affects a large group of people.
Home Insurance is unfortunately, no exception to this issue. Finding a suitable policy at an affordable price can be challenging, so we have pulled together some frequently asked questions to answer some of the most common queries that we receive.
Why does having a conviction make it harder to get cover?
Insurers see people with a previous conviction as being a higher risk to cover, although this can often have nothing to do with the nature of crime they have committed. Things such as the risk of reoffending, as well as revenge attacks from wronged parties will all be considered when assessing whether to provide a quote.
I have an unspent conviction; will anybody be able to cover me?
Unfortunately, unspent convictions can make it much more difficult to source home insurance through mainstream providers. However, there is no need to despair as there are now a number of specialist providers on the market who can provide cover to people with convictions. The premiums on these can be slightly higher than with a standard policy but far cheaper than the cost of repairing damage at an uninsured house.
Do I really need to declare my previous conviction to my home insurer?
In short, yes! Not telling your insurer about an unspent criminal conviction is classed as non-disclosure of material facts and could lead to your insurance becoming invalid. Worse still, if you were to make a claim and it was decided you had deliberately misled you insurer when taking out cover you could be charged with making a fraudulent claim. Therefore you should always inform them of previous convictions before taking out the policy to check that the cover will be acceptable and that you have been charged the correct premium.
What about if my conviction is spent?
If your conviction is classed as spent then you will not need to note it on your home insurance quote. Certain jobs and enhanced criminal record checks may ask about spent convictions but for insurance purposes these are no longer relevant.
How do I know if my conviction is spent?
As a result of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, criminal convictions become spent a certain time after the date of conviction. If you are in any doubt about the status of your conviction and whether you still need to declare it, then visit the Unlock website. They provide a useful calculator tool which can tell you whether your conviction is now spent and whether it will need to be disclosed.
My dad lives with me and has a previous conviction. Will this affect my insurance?
Insurance question sets generally ask about the criminal history of the policyholder and anybody who normally lives with them. Therefore, unspent convictions belonging to anyone living at the property will need to be declared to the insurer or you could face the same problems as not declaring your own criminal record.
Learn more about home insurance with convictions