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Home insurance with criminal convictions

Getting home insurance with a criminal record

David McDermottroe
Written by  David McDermottroe
5 min read
Updated: 05 Mar 2024

You can find home insurance for people with criminal convictions, but it may cost you more than a standard policy. Here’s everything you need to know

Can I get home insurance with a criminal record?

It’s not always easy to get home insurance if you have a criminal record – even if the offence itself was very minor. Home insurance companies are very wary of “unspent” criminal convictions, or in other words, convictions for which the prescribed rehabilitation period hasn’t yet passed. So if you have an “unspent” criminal conviction, you may need the help of a specialist insurance firm to get the home insurance cover you need.

People who have been declared bankrupt in the past may also find it difficult to find cover.

Two red brick detached houses

What counts as a criminal conviction?

You don’t have to tell your insurer if you receive a fine for a non-recordable motoring offence such as speeding. However, if you are convicted in a court, regardless of the offence, you will need to tell your insurer about it when you take out a policy to avoid invalidating your cover – unless enough time has passed for it to count as a “spent” conviction.

The same is true for all members of your household – if they have any convictions, even if they aren’t the policy holder, your insurer will need to know.

If you’re unsure whether or not your conviction is “unspent”, you may be able to check using an online disclosure calculator run by Unlock, an organisation for people with convictions.

If you or another household member receives a criminal conviction during the course of an existing home insurance policy, there’s no obligation to tell your insurer about it – but you must disclose it when you renew your cover or switch to a new provider.

What’s the difference between a spent and unspent conviction? 

The difference between a spent and unspent conviction boils down to how much time has passed since the offense and the severity of the crime.

Spent convictions

This usually refers to the time period after the crime After a certain time, criminal convictions become ‘spent’. This means you no longer have to mention them to insurance providers, even if they ask.

Unspent convictions

These are usually the ones you must disclose to your insurer. An unspent conviction is one that’s still active.

How long do criminal convictions stay on my record?

The amount of time a criminal conviction can prevent you from getting cover from a mainstream home insurer depends on the severity of your crime and the length of your sentence. According to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, the length of time convictions will show up on your file is:

  • One year if your sentence was a fine

  • One year plus the length of the order if your sentence was community service 

  • Your sentence plus two years if you were in prison for up to six months

  • Your sentence plus four years if you were in prison for between six and 30 months

  • Your sentence plus seven years if you were in prison for between 30 months and four years

  • The rest of your life if you were sentenced to prison for more than four years

If you go bankrupt, you must also wait six years for it to be removed from your credit report – even though you will be “discharged” from most of the related financial restrictions after 12 months.

Is home insurance more expensive if I have a criminal record?

You’ll likely have to pay more for home insurance if you have an unspent criminal conviction on your record – mainly because you won’t qualify for a standard policy and will need to take out specialist cover. Also known as non-standard home insurance, these policies generally cost more than standard insurance; how much more will depend on the nature and seriousness of your crime

Do home insurance companies check criminal records?

When you take out home insurance, you’ll always be asked if you – or anyone else living in the property – has a criminal record. The insurer may not always check this upfront. However, it may well be checked if you have to make a claim – so if you aren’t truthful, you run the risk of any claims being rejected.

What happens if I don’t declare a criminal conviction to my insurance provider?

Failure to disclose the details of any convictions or bankruptcies could invalidate your home insurance policy – in other words, it will leave you as good as uninsured. That’s why you should always declare your criminal convictions, as well as those of any other members of your household, when you take out insurance.

Do I need specialist home insurance if I have a criminal conviction?

Yes, if you have an “unspent” criminal conviction, you’ll probably need to take out home insurance with a specialist insurer. If, on the other hand, you have an old conviction, it may no longer need to be disclosed when you apply for home insurance. As long as you live in England or Wales, you can check the status of your conviction using the online disclosure calculator run by Unlock, an organisation for people with convictions.

Compare home insurance for people with criminal convictions

As with standard policies, it makes sense to shop around for cheap home insurance for people with criminal convictions. MoneySuperMarket compares policies from a variety of insurers by price, quality of cover, excess, and customer feedback, so you can find the right cover for your needs.

However, if your conviction is unspent, you’ll need to get in touch with a specialist insurer and provide the relevant information to get a quote based on your individual circumstances.

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