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Home insurance for people with convictions

If you’re one of the more than 12 million people in the UK with a criminal record, arranging home insurance may be a bit more complicated.

Get the lowdown on the challenges of finding home insurance with criminal convictions. Find out what you need to declare and how we can help you compare your options.

If you’re one of the more than 12 million people in the UK with a criminal record, arranging home insurance may be a bit more complicated.

Get the lowdown on the challenges of finding home insurance with criminal convictions. Find out what you need to declare and how we can help you compare your options.

Written by
Helen Phipps
Insurance comparison expert
Reviewed by
Rachel Lacey
Insurance and money expert
Last Updated
9 FEBRUARY 2024
6 min read
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Can I get home insurance with a criminal record?

It is possible to get home insurance if you have a criminal record, but you may have fewer options to choose from.

Many mainstream insurance providers won’t offer home insurance cover to people with unspent criminal convictions. This means that you may need to look to a specialist insurance provider.

What counts as a criminal conviction?

A criminal conviction can be anything from a fine to a prison sentence. If you’ve pleaded guilty or have been found guilty of a crime in a Crown or Magistrate’s Court, then you have a conviction.

Spent convictions

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

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

Insurance providers may also want to know about anyone else who lives with you and would be covered by the policy, including your partner, children or parents.

Convictions part-way through a policy

If you’re convicted part-way through your insurance policy, you’ll need to check the terms of your home insurance policy carefully.

If your insurance provider requires you to inform them of any ‘mid-term’ changes to your circumstances, you’ll need to disclose any new criminal conviction to avoid invalidating your policy. If not, then you might not need to notify them until renewal.

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.

However, a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) criminal record check will only show ‘unspent’ criminal convictions.

Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, certain convictions can become ‘spent’ after a specified amount of time, known as the ‘rehabilitation period’.

How long does it take for a criminal conviction to be spent?

How long it takes for your conviction to be considered spent depends on the following:

  • The seriousness of your crime
    If your sentence was more than four years, a life sentence or a public protection sentence, it will never be considered spent.
  • The length of your sentence
    The longer the sentence, the longer it will take for the conviction to be spent.
  • Your age

    If you were aged under 18 when convicted of a crime, your rehabilitation period will be shorter than if you were convicted as an adult.

Find out in more detail rehabilitation periods for specific convictions at GOV.UK.

Do I have to declare spent convictions to insurance companies?

Once a conviction is ‘spent’, you do not have to declare it to any insurance provider, even if they ask you to.

You’ll need to declare any ‘unspent’ convictions though, if you’re asked.

How long you’ll need to declare an unspent conviction depends on the length of the sentence:

Sentence type/length  Over 18s  Under 18s 
Community order/Youth rehabilitation order  Until the last day of your order  Until the last day of your order 
One year or less  One year  Six months 
Between one and four years  Four years  Two years 
More than four years  Seven years  Three and a half years 

Do home insurance providers check criminal records?

It’s unlikely your insurance provider will check your criminal record when you apply for insurance. 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’ll rely on you disclosing any criminal record to them.

It’s important that you’re honest, as checks are likely to be made if you claim. If a provider finds out that you haven’t declared something that you should, 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 about any unspent criminal convictions, 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 Compare the Market, 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. When you get a home insurance quote through Compare the Market, 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 with you. That includes relatives, friends and lodgers.

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 could 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 help you find our cheapest home insurance quotes for people with criminal convictions.

Why does a conviction make it hard to get cover?

It can be harder to get cover with a criminal conviction because insurance providers consider people with criminal records 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, some insurance providers may apply a blanket ban. That could mean you have less choice.

How can I compare home insurance quotes?

Compare the Market can help you search for insurance providers who’ll give you the cover you need.

Simply answer some questions about yourself and your property, then we’ll show you quotes from a list of providers who could 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?

A criminal conviction shouldn’t affect making a home insurance claim, as long as you were honest and disclosed everything that you were asked about when you took out the policy.

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’re not 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?

Even if you have a criminal conviction, there are a few things you can do to help cut the cost of your home insurance.

For example, 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 the excess if you make a claim.

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Helen Phipps - insurance expert

Having worked in both sides of the industry, Helen’s a real insurance expert. She’s worked directly with several insurance providers and now Compare the Market. She’s always searching for the cheapest prices for customers and is passionate about saving people money. Being married with two kids, Helen knows all about the cost of living and the benefits of having the right products and insurance for the whole family.

Learn more about Helen

Rachel Lacey - Insurance and money expert

Rachel’s a self-confessed money nerd who’s been writing about personal finance for more than 20 years. She spent 17 years writing for Moneywise, including a few years as Editor, and likes making complicated subjects like insurance, pensions, investing and tax, easy for people to understand.

Learn more about Rachel

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