Criminal Conviction Insurance
Finding a good deal on car insurance can be a difficult task – but for anyone with a criminal conviction on his or her record, the process can seem even more challenging than normal.
Criminal Conviction Insurance
Life is often complicated enough if you have criminal convictions, and if that prevents you from obtaining car insurance, it is one more challenge you can do without.
Insurance companies take an individual’s criminal history into account when calculating premiums and judging the risk of an insurance applicant. This may limit the options available, or mean they are unable to offer a premium at all.
It is worth noting that you also have rights under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. It may be possible that your conviction is close to, or already is spent, after which point it would no longer need to be disclosed.
When it comes to motor insurance, the convictions that you think would have the most effect are motoring offenses, which are generally different, although some of the more severe motoring offenses also carry a criminal implication, such as if you serve a prison sentence.
Different types of convictions
The previous section mentioned that perhaps the most controversial area is motor insurance – one of the main reasons for this is that there are so many different types of motoring conviction. The range typically includes:
- exceeding the speed limit;
- careless driving;
- driving without a licence;
- driving without insurance – which is also likely to incur a driving ban;
- drink driving – of which there nine different possible offences, all of which are also likely to incur a driving ban;
- dangerous driving – which is also likely to incur a driving ban; and
- causing death by dangerous driving – almost certain to incur a driving ban and may well also result in a prison sentence.
What counts as a criminal conviction?
The government-backed Money Advice Service makes clear that a criminal conviction may be anything handed down from the courts by way of a penalty that might range from a fine up to a prison sentence. You might also take into account, however, that police cautions – which are administered as a result of your admitting guilt to a crime – are also criminal convictions.
In other words, a criminal conviction results from your having broken the law and that fact may be by way of your admission of guilt or your guilt may be determined by a court of law.
Although a criminal record includes a list of any criminal convictions you may have, it goes considerably further in describing every contact you may have had with the police.
Simply being questioned by the police about a potential crime, in other words, does not amount to a criminal conviction. Criminal records are held on the Police National Computer (PNC), although local police forces may also keep their own criminal records which include both convictions and non-conviction details.
Your obligation to disclose material facts to any potential insurer is limited to criminal convictions, therefore, and technically speaking does not extend to disclose of your detailed criminal record.
Although any conviction by a court of law – whether or not a penalty is imposed by way of a fine or imprisonment – remains part of your criminal record. However, the need to disclose the conviction lapses after a certain period of time, when it is said to have been “spent” – a concept examined in more detail in the following section.
When is a conviction spent?
The concept of a conviction becoming spent over time is a central principle of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, 1974. Just as the title suggests, this exists for the rehabilitation of people convicted of a crime but who have paid their penalty and may effectively, therefore, be treated as though they have never been convicted of or sentenced for that offense. For the purpose of rehabilitation, therefore, the conviction is regarded as having been spent.
The Act – and its amendments, the most recent of which came into effect in March 2014 – specify the periods of time required before each conviction may be considered as having been spent and is available for all conviction and cautions except those for which the penalty was a period of imprisonment longer than four years and all public protection sentences (principally sex offenders). Rehabilitation – the period after which the conviction is considered to have been spent – varies according to the penalty that was imposed and not the crime itself.
If you have fallen foul of the law, and have been finding insurance difficult to obtain, give us a call on 0800 612 9376 or click “Get a Quote” to complete our online form.