Thursday, 17 March 2016
Obtaining home insurance with a criminal conviction
Insurers recognise two types of conviction: spent and unspent. Though the Act does not prevent an insurer from phrasing questions in such a way as to include both spent and unspent convictions, it does allow individuals to exclude spent convictions from their answer when applying for home insurance.
Home insurance conviction disclosure
If you have unspent criminal convictions, you are required to disclose them to your insurer, whether or not they ask if you have them. Unspent convictions are regarded as material facts by insurers, and consequently must be treated as such for home insurance conviction cover. If you are asked whether you have had any criminal convictions in the last five years, and your unspent conviction was obtained over five years ago, you have two options.
1. The first is to disclose the unspent conviction and obtain proof of disclosure. If the insurer only requires disclosure of convictions in the last five years then they will likely disregard your submission.
2. The second is to obtain written confirmation that they do not need you to disclose your convictions from before the last five years, even if they are unspent. The options are the same if the insurer only asks you to disclose a certain type of conviction that does not include your own.
If your prospective insurer asks you whether you have had insurance cancelled, refused or had special terms imposed, you would be required to disclose this information if it was relevant to an unspent conviction. You are not required to disclose this information if the refusal, special terms or cancellation were employed in reaction to a conviction that has since become spent.
Insurers have a legal duty to disregard any accidental disclosure of a spent conviction, and are not permitted to hold such knowledge against you when deciding whether or not to provide you with cover nor the type of cover you might be entitled to. If you feel that you have been disadvantaged as a direct result of your volunteering a spent conviction in error, you may be entitled to complain either to the Financial Ombudsman Service or the Financial Services Authority if you are able to produce evidence in support of this claim.
Special terms might be imposed if an insurer believes that by the nature of your unspent conviction you will present a higher risk under specific areas of cover. Refused insurance has no set definition within the industry, so you should ask them to clarify before you answer. If an insurer has chosen not to insure you because they do not cover individuals with criminal convictions at all, this does not count as a refusal. Furthermore, cancelled insurance is something that happens mid policy, and is not when an insurer declines to continue your policy after your renewal date.
HomeProtect home insurance with convictions
Insurance for ex-offenders can often be costly and hard to come by, as many insurers will reject you because of your past mistakes. At HomeProtect, you can obtain a fair and competitive quote for home insurance conviction immediately online, even if you or anyone in your household have unspent convictions.