How a Criminal Conviction affects Home Buildings and Contents Insurance

At Home Insurance Help, we are able to help people with criminal convictions get buildings and contents insurance. However a question we are frequently asked is “how long is this going to stop me getting normal home insurance with a mainstream insurer”?

Cathy Luzmore, senior home insurance specialist at Home Insurance Help, explained how long criminal convictions will impact on your ability to get cover. “Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, most convictions become ‘spent’ after a certain period of time. Unfortunately until such as time as your criminal conviction becomes spent, most insurers will not consider you for home insurance. However our insurers specialise in cases just like this.”

Most criminal convictions become ‘spent’ after 5 years, although if the conviction is a prison sentence of more than 2½ years (no matter how much time you actually served in prison), then unfortunately the conviction never becomes spent. This means that in such circumstances you may need to stay insured with a specialist home insurance policy for the foreseeable future.

The length of time before a conviction becomes spent (and therefore before you can get standard home insurance) depends on the actual sentence given. For more minor convictions, if you, or someone who lives with you, received just a fine, compensation order, probation or community service, then the conviction becomes spent after 5 years (2½ years if you were 17 or under when found guilty).

If you got an absolute discharge, then the conviction is spent after just 6 months. However if your conviction is not spent, you must still declare any criminal conviction to your existing home insurance company. If you don’t declare your criminal conviction and you were to make a claim, then your home insurance policy may be voided and they won’t pay your claim. Then, not only do you have a criminal conviction to declare to your next insurer, but also a cancelled or voided policy!

For prison sentences of 6 months or less, then it becomes spent after 7 years, or for prison sentences between 6 months and 2 ½ years, they become spent after 10 years. If the person who is given the conviction was 17 or under when found guilty, then the amount of time it takes before the conviction becomes spent is halved.

However even if it is not you who has the criminal conviction, as the home insurance policy holder, you must still declare it to your insurance provider. The usual question wording that insurers use is “Do you, or anyone living with you, have a criminal conviction?” If you live with someone at the same property address, and they have a criminal conviction, it is going to impact on your home insurance.

So at a time when you’ve got enough other stuff going on, the last thing you want to be worrying about is your home insurance. All is not lost, as that is where we come in.

Charleigh Cooper at Home Insurance Help explains “We do have specialist insurers who will normally accept people who have a criminal conviction, or who live with people with a criminal conviction, for buildings insurance and contents insurance. We also ensure that when your home insurance is due for its annual renewal, we check to see if your conviction has become spent, and if so, we will look around for cheaper home insurance for you.”