If you are one of the over nine million people in the UK who have a criminal conviction according to Unlock – the charity for people with convictions – not all insurance companies will offer car insurance so it’s best to compare different options.
When your provider asks you about any convictions, then disclose them honestly.
It is not necessary to disclose convictions that are classified under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 except if the offence led to a prison term of over four years.
However, ask for advice if you are unsure; there are specialist providers available.
You will find your options for cover are more limited and at a higher premium.
The majority of those convicted are male and theft from a car is the most common crime.
If you do not disclose a conviction when asked by you insurer then your behaviour could be classed as fraudulent, in which case the insurance would become invalid.
Changes in Law regarding disclosure
Whilst is has historically been difficult to obtain car insurance if you have a conviction, the law has changed in favour of helping you.
From April 2013 when new laws were brought in for disclosure of criminal convictions, your insurance company must ask essential questions to determine if they can provide insurance for you.
Read the terms and conditions if you are unsure what to declare and speak to an insurance advisor.
Terms and conditions
If you’re not asked directly but you think you have a conviction that should be declared, it would be best practice to read the terms and conditions and/or speak to your insurer about it.
The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974
The new law, which does not apply to those whose conviction led to a prison sentence of more than four years, means that convictions listed under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 no longer need to be disclosed. Therefore certain convictions can be ignored after a certain period of time; this facilitates getting car insurance for those with a conviction.
How are others on a policy affected by a person who has a conviction?
All parties, such as other named driver, covered by a policy will probably be affected by someone on the policy who has a conviction. Likewise if one of the named drivers on your policy has a conviction, you could also be affected when looking for an insurer to cover you.
Where can I obtain car insurance if I have a criminal conviction?
Your options will be more limited and premiums will cost you more if you have a conviction but it’s always best to be open. There are specialist brokers who will be able to assist you if you have a conviction and are finding it difficult to get cover but be aware it is still likely to be more expensive.
The Probation Service and HM Prison Service will often give referrals to these specialist insurance providers.
What about my existing car insurance policy if I’m convicted?
There is no need to disclose a criminal conviction you acquire during the length of a current policy. It is best to check your terms and conditions, however, in case this has been specifically imposed.
However, when your renewal time comes, you should disclose the conviction, even if you change companies.
Cautions, reprimands and warnings
You do not need to disclose cautions, reprimands or final warnings; these are not classed as criminal convictions.
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