Money Advice Service

You no longer have to declare any ‘spent criminal convictions’ when applying for insurance. Your insurance company has to ask the necessary questions to work out if they can provide insurance for you.

What counts as a criminal conviction?

A criminal conviction can be anything from a prison sentence to a fine for littering or a speeding conviction – all types of offence count, however minor.

  • Only unspent convictions matter. Even if asked, you do not have to disclose any convictions that are spent. Convictions become ‘spent’ a certain time after the date of conviction, and after that they’re not allowed to count against you. That’s the law according to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.
  • You might be asked about the convictions of everyone covered by the insurance, such as your partner, children or grandchildren. If it’s home insurance, that’s everyone who lives in the house.
  • Simple cautions, reprimands and final warnings are spent immediately and do not need to be disclosed as these are not criminal convictions.

Is your conviction spent?

If your conviction is spent, you don’t need to declare it when you apply for insurance.

You can find out whether your conviction is spent either by:

  • Using an online calculator from Unlock
  • Checking through the list of conviction types on the Unlock website

When do you have to declare unspent convictions?

  • You only have to disclose convictions if you’re asked.
  • Always get written confirmation of any convictions you’ve disclosed
  • If you’re not asked directly, check whether the terms and conditions mention convictions
  • If you get a conviction during a policy you don’t have to declare it until you renew the insurance, unless your policy specifically says that you must.

What could happen if you don’t disclose convictions when asked?

If you deliberately don’t disclose your convictions when asked by the insurance company, your insurance could be invalid.

If you’ve made a claim, the insurance company can ask for the money back.

Sometimes these things happen because the insurance company didn’t explain things clearly.

If that’s the case, you might be able to get this resolved.

Where to get insurance if you have a conviction

One of the best places to start is with an insurance broker.

Brokers can seek out the right insurance for your circumstances – and it’s free to get quotes through them.

Alternatively, you could search the database of insurance brokers on the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) website.

This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.