- Practical information & advice
- Read personal stories
- Discuss this with others
- Help us with our policy work on this
Practical information & advice
Most mainstream insurers discriminate against people with unspent convictions, even if the convictions are not relevant. There are some big motor insurers that only take into account motoring convictions, and we have a list of these if you’ve not got motoring convictions. If you’re looking to be self-employed or want house insurance, you’ll find mainstream insurers simply won’t give you a quote. There are several insurance brokers however who should be able to assist you.
We’ve been working for fairer access to insurance for people with convictions since 2000. Since then, we have worked hard to make it easier for you to get genuine cover at a fair price. Unlock is an independent charity, so we do not provide insurance directly. We take an impartial view and do not prefer one company over another. We are proud to be widely recognised as the ‘go to’ place for information and advice on criminal conviction and insurance issues. A key aim for us is to promote the choice that is available so that the market becomes more competitive. We are not FCA regulated and so we’re not able to provide specific insurance advice.
Taken from our top 10 things to know
Read our latest information and advice posts about insurance
Here you’ll find links to other parts of this site where we have information and useful resources relating to insurance.
If it’s unspent then it might do. Useful links include:
You do not need to disclose spent convictions. Useful links include:
- Insurance and convictions – A simple guide
- Insurance and convictions – A detailed guide
- Disclosing unspent convictions to existing insurers
We have a list of insurance brokers – we promote a range of companies to help you get the best deal. See the link below.
There are many mainstream insurers that don’t ask about non-motoring convictions. Useful links include:
- For people with non-motoring convictions – List of motor insurers
- For people with unspent motoring convictions – List of insurance brokers
You have to disclose any unspent convictions even if the insurance company don’t ask as a conviction is classed as a material fact. See link below.
In partnership with Unlock, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) published a best-practice guide for insurers in March 2014. See link below.
No only if you are asked to.
Here you’ll find common advice that we give on insurance. This is based on what we’ve learnt as a charity, as well as the real-life experiences of people with convictions.
- The list of brokers are able to generally help people with convictions. However, if you have a particular conviction that is directly related to the type of insurance being sought, it may be incredibly difficult to secure insurance.
- If you’ve got non-motoring convictions only and are looking for motor insurance, you should use our list of motor insurers that don’t ask about non-motoring convictions.
- The major insurers of ‘people with convictions’ are contained in the list that we publish. However, we regularly hear of examples where people have managed to secure insurance through other brokers that don’t wish to specialise in this area. There are also examples where mainstream insurers, usually because of long-standing customer loyalty, have able to continue providing cover at renewal to somebody who receives a conviction during a policy.
- The issue of insurance is generally limited to motor, home (e.g. buildings and contents) and commercial (e.g. public liability) insurance. Other types of insurance (such as travel and life insurance) tend not to ask about convictions, and so you don’t have to disclose. You should always make sure that you check any documentation that comes through to make sure you haven’t missed something.
Frequently asked questions
Here you’ll find some specific questions that we regularly get about insurance and the answers we generally provide. More detailed FAQ’s may be included in the information pages above.
It varies. Generally, although it is easier to use comparison sites, it can be more risky. With convictions, especially for motor insurance, you have to be careful about what questions (and assumptions) companies ask, and that can be more difficult using comparison sites.
Also, sometimes when you tick a certain box on a comparison site (like ‘yes’ to non-motoring convictions) this might not transfer over to the insurer that you end up purchasing through.
So, although it takes more time, it can be better to buy directly with the insurer. What you may decide to do is use a comparison site to get a range of quotes, but then purchase directly from the insurer, once you’ve decided who to go with.
Insurers take many factors into account when providing insurance quotes so it’s not always the case that your premium will increase due to your criminal record. However, it’s always worth shopping around to make sure you get the best deal you can. Have a look at our list of insurance brokers and motor insurers.
There was a case from 2010 in which a judge ruled in favour of an insurer to cancel an insurance policy mid-term after a non-disclosed conviction came to light. In this case, the claimant had a prior completely unrelated conviction for criminal damage, which he failed to disclose to a previous insurer before it was spent. Subsequently, his new insurers relied on his earlier dishonesty as being a factor which entitled them to void his insurance policy. However, there were several other, arguably more serious factors against him such as previous false claims. The judge commented that a single false statement might not have been considered to be significant.
As a result of this, our view is that if you’ve previously had insurance refused or cancelled because of non-disclosure of a conviction that was unspent at the time, this is something that an insurer might use in the event of a claim or a dispute. You should therefore, when asked about ‘refusals or cancellations’, explain this to the insurer. In our experience, ‘good insurers’ will recognise that, because this now relates to something that is spent, there isn’t a problem. However, it’s better to take this approach than it is in paying for insurance which does not actually protect you, your property or a third party.
Here you’ll find links to useful organisations and websites related to insurance that will have been referred to in the above sections. More specific details (including addresses and telephone numbers) of some of the organisations listed below can be found here.
- Association of British Insurers
- British Insurance Brokers Association
- Chartered Insurance Institute
- Financial Ombudsman Service
- Financial Services Compensation Scheme
Read personal stories
The personal stories below have been posted on theRecord, our online magazine.
Discuss this with others
Read and share your experiences of this on our online forum.
Key sections include:
- Personal insurance policies – Brokers and insurance companies
- Commercial insurance – Disclosing material facts and Getting commercial insurance
- Misleading questions asked about criminal records by insurance companies – Examples of misleading questions
Help us with our policy work on this
Read more about the policy work we’re doing on ensuring fair treatment by insurance companies and Stopping misleading questions asked by employers, insurers, housing providers and others.