Getting insurance with a criminal record

It is now easier to get insurance coverage for those with criminal convictions on their record. This is possible in part by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and the knowledge of what specifically must be declared.

Criminal Conviction

Due to the risk assessment by insurance companies, anyone with a criminal conviction is categorized as high risk. This includes anyone who has been arrested and convicted of a crime whether they have spent time in prison or not. It is not the specific nature of the crime, but the conviction that matters. This means those convicted of robbery are treated the same as those convicted for littering. This means that getting motor trade insurance with a criminal conviction is both difficult and expensive.

Warnings, cautions and reprimands are not conviction and are spent at the closing of the case. These do not have to be declared unless the case is still open.

Declaring Spent Conviction

All crimes have a time period where the conviction is deemed spent. The more serious the crime, the longer the time before it is considered spent. Once a crime is spent, the convicted person no longer has to declare it when applying for insurance. This includes if a person is asked by an insurance company if they have any convictions. A person with a spent conviction can declare no convictions.

Declaring Unspent Convictions

All unspent convictions have to be disclosed if the insurance provider asks. This can be verbal or in the policy. If the person applying for insurance is not asked about criminal convictions, they do not have to be declared.

Fixed Penalty Notices

For anyone applying for insurance that are over the age of 18 and has a fixed penalty notice issued to them in the past 5 years, it has to declare when taking out an insurance policy for their motor vehicle. For drivers under the age of 18 the time period for disclosure is 2 ½ years.

Convictions while Covered by a Policy

Unless it specifically states otherwise in the insurance policy, any criminal conviction that occurs when a policy is active does not need to be declared.

Once an insurance policy time period has ended and needs to be renewed, this is the time an unspent criminal conviction has to be declared, if asked.

Providing False or Misleading Information about Criminal Convictions

Anyone applying for insurance has to declare any unspent criminal convictions if they are asked. Failure to do so null and voids the policy. If any claim had been made, the insurance company has to right to be reimbursed for that amount they paid out.


For all those convicted criminals seeking insurance, know if your crime is spent or unspent. No spent convictions ever have to be declared and the insurance company does not have to right to know there were any.

For those with criminal records, the use of an insurance broker is advised when seeking a new policy. They know how to check the record of their clients and be able to advise them on what needs to be declare and what should not be mention.