How long do i have to declare my criminal record for?

David Joyson

Written by

David Joyson

Home Insurance Expert & Customer Champion

Matthew Freedman

Reviewed by

Matthew Freedman

Performance Marketing Manager

Less than 1 minute

Updated: 11 Mar 2024

If your conviction is spent, you do not have to mention it when applying for insurance.

It’s important to know that if you have an unspent conviction, and then receive a further conviction, neither will become spent until the longest of them does.

If you have received a prison sentence of more than four years, your conviction will never become spent and you must declare it.

If a second conviction results in a sentence of over four years, then no conviction will ever become spent.

Click here to see Unlock’s ‘Is it spent?’ tables which show how much time it takes for main sentences to become spent. 

Disclosing convictions to your landlord

Having a criminal conviction is not just relevant to you, but to those you live with as well. Since many insurers will refuse to provide cover to people with unspent criminal convictions (on a blanket basis), it follows that a landlord would not be granted buildings insurance if one of their tenants has convictions. 

Financial arrangement

Generally, if you are asked about your unspent criminal convictions by someone that you are entering into a financial arrangement with then there is a good chance that you will have to disclose them. An insurer may require that a landlord asks you about your previous convictions before they will grant the landlord cover, so you shouldn’t be surprised if this happens. If you ever feel that you are being treated unfairly because of your criminal convictions, you should seek legal advice about what action to take.

Rehabilitation of Offenders Act

Landlords and ex-offenders often experience difficulties when it comes to insurance and disclosure issues. The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) only goes so far in clearing things up and is often criticised for being drastically outdated. It is very difficult to interpret exactly what is expected from both tenants and landlords when it comes to criminal record disclosure, as it has not always been an issue. One thing is clear, though, if your landlord knows about your unspent criminal conviction, they will be required to disclose it to their insurer.

Insuring your home when you have a conviction

If you or anyone in your household has a criminal conviction, you are likely to have trouble getting house insurance convictions cover. With Homeprotect you can get a competitive quote online for ex-offenders insurance, whether the convictions are your own or someone else’s. We work closely with groups like UNLOCK, the National Association of Reformed Offenders, to make sure that criminal convictions insurance is always available to those that need it.

Accidental disclosure

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 Conduct Authority if you are able to produce evidence in support of this claim.

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