Home insurance for people with convictions

If you’re one of the 11 million people who have a criminal conviction, arranging home insurance may be a bit more complicated. Get the lowdown on what you need to know and find out how we can help you find a deal that’s right for you.

If you’re one of the 11 million people who have a criminal conviction, arranging home insurance may be a bit more complicated. Get the lowdown on what you need to know and find out how we can help you find a deal that’s right for you.

Written by
Helen Phipps
Insurance comparison expert
Reviewed by
Rachel Lacey
Insurance and money expert
Last Updated
18 OCTOBER 2022
6 min read
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Can I get home insurance with a criminal record?

The good news is you can still get home insurance if you have a criminal record. The bad news is there are fewer options to choose from because many mainstream insurance providers won’t give you home insurance if you have a criminal conviction. That means you may need to look to specialist insurance providers.

What counts as a criminal conviction?

A criminal conviction can be anything from a fine to a prison sentence. If you’ve been found guilty of a crime in a Crown or Magistrate’s Court, then you have a conviction. Here are the different types of convictions that could affect your home insurance:

  • Spent convictions 
    After a certain time, criminal convictions become ‘spent’. This means you no longer have to mention them to insurance providers.
  • Unspent convictions 
    An unspent conviction is one that’s still active. That means you’ll have to let your insurance provider know about it when you take out a policy.
  • Convictions of other members of your household
    It isn’t only your criminal history that your insurance provider will want to know about. They’ll also want to know about anyone else who lives with you, including your partner, children or parents.
  • Convictions part-way through a policy
    If you’re convicted part-way through your insurance policy, it’s important to tell your insurance provider.

How long does a criminal conviction stay on your record?

If you have a criminal conviction or caution, it will stay on the Police National Computer until you turn 100. That said, you don’t always have to disclose it – especially once it’s spent.

How long a criminal conviction stays on your record will depend on two factors:

  • The seriousness of your crime
    If you commit a serious crime or one that means you’re considered a danger to the public, you’re likely to receive a longer sentence. This means it will take longer for your conviction to be considered spent.
  • The length of your sentence 
    Again, the longer your sentence, the more serious the crime. So if you had a long sentence, chances are you’ll have to wait longer for it to be spent.

When is a conviction considered spent for home insurance?

How long it takes for your conviction to be considered spent depends on your crime and the length of your sentence. If your sentence was more than four years, a life sentence or a public protection sentence, it will never be considered spent. But other lesser offences should be spent between a year and seven years after the full length of the sentence, depending on the seriousness of the crime.

The government has put forward proposals to support ex-offenders and reduce barriers to work, including reducing the length of time it takes for convictions to be spent. However, the proposed reductions won’t apply to serious sexual, violent or terrorist offences, which will continue to never be spent.

It’s not yet clear when these proposed changes will come into force.

Does home insurance for people with a criminal conviction cost more?

Home insurance for people with convictions can be more expensive. But if you shop around, you should still find an affordable home insurance policy if you have a criminal record.

If you compare with us, we’ll search a range of insurance providers to find the right policy for you.

Why does a conviction make it hard to get cover?

Insurance providers calculate premiums based on risk – and people with criminal records are considered to be a much riskier prospect than those without. Even though the Association for British Insurers (ABI) recommends insurance providers ignore offences that aren’t relevant to the policy, many will apply a blanket ban. You may need a specialist or non-standard policy, which are offered by fewer providers.

Do home insurance providers check criminal records?

It’s unlikely your insurance provider will check your criminal record when you apply for insurance and, in any case, they can’t carry out a criminal records check (formerly known as a CRB check, now called a DBS check) without your permission. Instead, they will rely on you disclosing any criminal record to them. It’s important to be honest, though, checks are likely to be made if you claim and if you haven’t been upfront you may find your policy is invalidated.

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

If you don’t tell your insurance provider, when asked, that you have a criminal conviction, then later make a claim, you’ll be in breach of your contract. That means it’s highly likely your claim will be rejected.

You’re not obliged to disclose your conviction to insurance providers unless you’re asked. Just make sure you keep an eye out for the question so you don’t accidentally miss it.

When you get a home insurance quote through Comparethemarket, you’ll need to say whether you have a criminal conviction. You must mention all ‘unspent’ convictions, unless they’re for motoring offences. But if your conviction is ‘spent’ under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, you don’t need to mention it.

We can’t stress enough that it pays to be honest – otherwise your claim could be rejected or your entire policy could be invalidated. This could also make it harder to get insurance in the future.

Not sure if your conviction is spent or not? If you live in England or Wales, you can check using charity Unlock's disclosure calculator.

My partner has a criminal conviction, but I don't. Do I need to declare this?

Yes. One of the questions we’ll ask is ‘Have you, or anyone living in the property, ever been convicted of, or is awaiting trial for, any crime, excluding motoring offences?’

You’ll need to let us know about the unspent convictions of anyone living in the house – that includes relatives, friends, lodgers or anyone else who might be living there. There have been reports of people renting out rooms, not knowing that their tenant has a criminal conviction, and finding out too late that their insurance is void.

How can I compare home insurance quotes?

We can help you search for insurance providers who’ll give you the cover you need. Simply answer some questions about yourself and your property and we’ll do the hard work for you. We’ll then show you a list of providers who’ll offer you home insurance with a criminal conviction.

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Frequently asked questions

Do I have to disclose motoring offences?

If you’ve committed what’s called a ‘non-recordable motoring offence’ – one that won’t result in imprisonment, like speeding – you don’t have to disclose it to your home insurance provider.

Do cautions count as criminal convictions?

No. Cautions aren’t criminal convictions and don’t need to be disclosed.

Will having a criminal conviction affect making a home insurance claim?

If you’ve disclosed everything that you were asked about when you took out the policy and answered all questions honestly, there shouldn’t be a problem. If you failed to declare your conviction or misrepresented it in some way, your insurance provider may void your policy and refuse to pay any claim.

If you aren’t asked to declare any convictions before you buy a policy, then your insurance provider can’t use any subsequent discovery about your criminal history as a reason to reject your claim.

If I have a criminal conviction, is there anything I can do to reduce the cost of my insurance?

Like any other person buying insurance, there’s a few things that might help cut the cost. You could opt for a higher voluntary excess – the amount you pay towards any claim – but you’ll need to be confident you can afford to pay it if you had to make a claim.

Make sure you accurately calculate the rebuild cost of your home and how much your possessions are worth, otherwise you risk being over or underinsured. If you’re overinsured, you’re likely paying more than you need to. See our tips on saving money on your home insurance.

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