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Insurance and convictions

Statistics show that there are more than 9.2 million people in the UK with criminal convictions. A criminal conviction can be something minor like a speeding fine, or major like a prison sentence.

Convictions can have implications when taking out insurance, including commercial insurance.

Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA), ‘spent’ convictions are not required to be disclosed to insurers. ‘Unspent’ convictions, which remain on an individual’s record above and beyond the period set by the ROA, are more ambiguous, with many insurers refusing to offer insurance to those with unspent convictions.

Insurers often ask about convictions because they believe they are relevant to the risk and can decide whether to modify the price in-line with the conviction, or choose not to provide cover, if they believe the risks are too high.

Under insurance disclosure law, an applicant must answer questions an insurer asks fully and accurately, including disclosing any convictions if they are asked to.

If an individual fails to disclose an unspent conviction when making an application for cover or for a renewal, it can result in the policy becoming invalidated and the insurer may be able to avoid paying out for claims made by the policyholder.

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