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Obtaining Home Insurance with a Criminal Conviction

27 April 2020

By UKinsuranceNET In Insurance Advice

You may be haunted enough as it is by the knowledge and memory of any past criminal convictions, without the cruel reminder that is likely to be given when any application for essential motor insurance or home insurance is flatly denied by an insurer.

Yet, if you have criminal convictions, this is likely to be the case. There are complicated rules about an insurer’s entitlement to ask for your disclosure of past convictions and the interpretation of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act is not always clearly understood either by insurers or their customers.

Back in 2013, under pressure from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), there was a change in the rules, demanding that insurers are more transparent in their reasons for requiring the disclosure of criminal convictions and provide more information to consumers about those requirements.

If obtaining insurance is giving you any cause for concern, and since one of the areas where the issues are least understood is home insurance, then thankfully, there lies a solution in specialist property insurance for people with criminal convictions.

As specialists in the provision of this type of non-standard home insurance, we offer the following guide to getting home insurance with a criminal record.

Why does my home insurer want to know if I have a conviction?

The charity helping those with criminal convictions, Unlock, explains that insurance is all about risk and that mainstream insurers typically calculate that anyone with a previous criminal conviction represents a greater risk – whatever you might think about this being logical or fair.

In respect of home insurance for people with criminal convictions, for example, a mainstream insurer might argue that a conviction for dishonesty may point to a greater risk of the applicant subsequently making fraudulent insurance claims.

Arguments such as these may potentially affect a very large proportion of the population, explains Unlock. The charity points to the government’s own figures which reveal that more than 9.2 million people in the UK have a criminal conviction and that as many as one in three men have a criminal conviction before they reach their 53rd birthday.

Criminal convictions which need to be disclosed

Getting property insurance for people with criminal convictions is made a little easier, however, thanks to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

This gives effect to a distinction between “spent” convictions – where a law-abiding ex-offender has paid their debt to society by serving a sentence or paying a penalty and, so, after a prescribed period of time the conviction is treated as though it never happened – the slate is wiped clean.

Unspent convictions, however, are those which have not yet qualified for such treatment.

If you are asked about criminal convictions by a prospective insurer, you must disclose any unspent convictions, but may remain completely silent about any spent convictions.

What could happen when I disclose an unspent conviction?

  • Although insurers are entitled to ask about your criminal convictions when you apply for insurance, they are not bound to do so
  • The insurer’s response to any disclosure is likely to depend on the nature, gravity and relevance of the offence in question, but may result in your application being denied – even if the conviction was one held by a member of your family
  • For any offences which the insurer may consider less serious or relevant to the type of insurance you are seeking, you may instead be charged an additional premium rate

What could happen if I don’t declare an unspent conviction when asked?

    • Insurers remain entitled to ask potential customers about their convictions
    • If you fail to answer a direct question about any criminal convictions or make an inaccurate declaration, your misrepresentation may be enough to invalidate your home insurance and lead to the rejection of any claim you make.

Where can I buy home insurance for convictions cover?

As with many other forms of non-standard home insurance, you are likely to need the services of a specialist provider – such as ourselves here at UKinsuranceNET.

A specialist provider has the expertise and experience to understand the difficulties and specific needs and requirements of those seeking criminal convictions home insurance and – just as importantly – have established working relationships with those insurers prepared to extend cover, even when unspent criminal convictions have been disclosed.

What’s the solution – and where do I find it?

Getting home insurance with a criminal record is still possible.

Specialist home insurance for convictions is a form of non-standard home insurance typically provided by brokers such as ourselves here at UKinsuranceNET, where there is an expertise and experience in arranging cover for those who might otherwise find it difficult – property insurance for people with criminal convictions being a case in point.

If you have faced this kind of difficulty or are uncertain about how a previous criminal conviction might affect your application for home insurance, just give us a call on 01325 346 328.

Avoid the temptation of hiding or being untruthful about your criminal convictions, therefore, and instead consult a specialist insurance provider – such as ourselves here at UKinsuranceNET – with particular expertise and experience is arranging a non-standard form of cover variously known as criminal convictions home insurance.

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