Insurance policy assumptions

By Square - 27 May 15 6:16 PM

You need to remember that insurance companies can only make money by not paying out. I believe that this is why they use 'assumptions'. They take your money, but are able to find a way of dismissing your claim if you need to make one.

I have never made a claim in my life. After an acrimonious run-in with the police I now, after years of being in the lowest insurance bands, struggle to get insured.

There are ways, of course. Just keep looking and go through with the quote and the buying procedure untill you hit that barrier. I was surprised by some of the big names nt making assumptions!
By Pinkfur - 5 Oct 15 9:35 AM

Just trying to renew public liability insurance which have had with same company for the last couple of years. Doing it online and this statement has appeared which needs a tick or not. I don't remember seeing this before but I assume it was displayed last time, as seems to be standard. My conviction was spent last August. I did change the insurance company after conviction actually, to this one, which makes me think they are OK with convictions. If spent, do you have to declare still? It's the terminology they use for these statements or questions that make it confusing! Statement as follows:-

"I have never been convicted or charged with any criminal offence other than a motoring offence".
By BenS - 5 Aug 15 6:55 PM

Hi Pinkfur,

You do not have to disclose any spent convictions for insurance purposes.

Insurance companies are not exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act and therefore have no right to ask about spent convictions. They would also be breaking the law if they refused a policy/claim due to a spent conviction. The question should specify spent convictions, rather than just any convictions.

Legally, for the purpose of filling in an insurance form, you have no convictions.

I would recommend contacting Unlock and getting them to contact the insurance company in question to tell them that they have no legal right to ask this question and that they must change its wording.
By Pinkfur - 5 Oct 15 9:35 AM


It's the way they phrase these statements as if I tick the box, I am saying I have NEVER been convicted, which of course is untrue. If they had asked "Do you have any unspent convictions?" I could say no, without worrying, as that is true!

It is unlikely I will have to make a claim, as I have never done so in 15 years (tempting fate now), but who knows?

I could find another company but usually I would need a subscription (fitness) to their service in order to get their insurance, and have since cancelled my subscriptions with two companies recently due to financial reasons.

I may just go with the same one then and tick that I have NEVER been convicted.
By BenS - 5 Aug 15 6:55 PM

Pinkfur, I understand what you mean as they are technically forcing you to lie, even though you are totally legally entitled to do so. It's not nice to be put in an uncomfortable situation like that when you are not breaking the law.

In the event that you had to make a claim and somehow they found out about your spent conviction, and they did not pay out based on said conviction, they would be contravening the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act and you could take legal action against them, either simply to get the claim paid out or to have them punished for breaking the ROA, or both. If they replied that you told them that you had no convictions, then you would answer that that is the legal truth because the insurer is not exempt under the ROA, so you are entitled to say this and it is only due to their (at best negligent, at worst illegal) question that you answered in this way.
By The Pineapple Thief - 3 Feb 15 2:54 PM

I think I need to clarify what the insurance companies are doing - and I should reiterate that what they are stating is quite legal and above board.

When you submit quotes to insurance companies, they ask the basic details to get a basic quote. They then calculate a price made on a number of assumptions. I've put it in bold to emphasise the word. This enables the algorithms that calculate the risk to be fairly simple and to give you, the potential customer a tempting competitive quote. It is once you proceed that you are asked the all important question about convictions. How that question is worded is usually (I'll always put in a caveat) correct and legal and phrased as "Have you any unspent convictions?".

If you took out insurance based on the initial assumptions and did not disclose any unspent conviction then you would be the one committing the offence, not the insurance company.

That said, Pinkfur, I think your insurance company may well need to update their question on their website...

I haven't stolen any Pineapples, but they are a great prog rock band!

By BenS - 5 Aug 15 6:55 PM

Hi Pineapple Thief,

Of course all you say is true, but in this case it seems the OP has no unspent convictions, and the insurer is asking about all convictions, which it has no right to do and is bloody bad form.

Sure, failing to disclose an unspent conviction when asked is an offence. But in this case the OP has only a spent conviction and so is legally protected by the ROA and does not need to disclose it. It would be the insurer committing an offence for denying service based on a spent conviction.

I'm sure insurers have expensive legal advisors and I'm sure they know what they're doing when they omit to add the word "unspent" to the question about convictions. They are trying to scare people with spent convictions into declaring them (when they absolutely should not have to) so that their premium will be more expensive.

For my two cents, I think anyone who asks about spent convictions for no good reason (i.e. not ROA-exempt) should be convicted, so they can see what it's like having a conviction and can understand why the ROA is sacrosanct and makes people incredibly angry when they are pressured to declare convictions that they have no legal obligation to disclose.

I honestly believe most companies who wrongly omit "unspent" are fully aware of what they're doing, it's not an innocent accident, recruiters and HR departments know all about the ROA and are lying if they claim not to know about spent and unspent convictions and their right to ask about them.

Post Edited (BenS) : 13/06/2016 09:24:48 (GMT+2)

By theoldbag - 10 Jun 16 6:11 PM

Hi. I have a relative staying with me at the moment who has an unspent conviction for a non-contact sexual offence. I own the property and my insurance came up for its annual renewal. On filling out the form online I came up against the conviction question, to which I truthfully answered. My insurance company refused to re-insure me. After applying for endless quotes and being turned down, I eventually turned to a specialist insurance company, who I phoned. Over the phone I was asked details of the conviction, which I honestly answered. I was told by a woman that she'd need to get more information and would call me back straight away. i waited 40mins and phoned her back. She then asked me questions that I feel are totally irrelevant - eg: how many images were looked at? was the person in employment? I was then told that I would have to wait until Monday morning (today) for them to give me a quote as the Underwriters were not available, no one has phoned back.

I have since been given a quote (which is nearly £250 more than I'd paid for last years insurance) from another specialist insurance company.

My question is: Are these questions 'normal procedure'? If not, I feel strongly I'd like to lodge a complaint against the Insurance company (which incidentally is on the list of Insurers recommended by Unlock). I believe I am personally being persecuted and as someone said previously, after all, it's the house that's being insured, not me or my relative.....
By The Pineapple Thief - 3 Feb 15 2:54 PM


The OP isn't being asked about spent or unspent convictions. They are giving a quote based on the assumption that the OP has no convictions at all in which case spent or unspent is irrelevent. It's only at the next step that the relevance of spent or unspent convictions applies and the OP hasn't mentioned any of that.

With regards to Pinkfur's issue, I agree that that question shouldn't be asked like that.

theoldbag, Your questions were very OTT and I don't think they are 'normal procedure'. That said, The insurers will have raised your premium based on risk with that risk being supposedly heightened by your relative's conviction. To be an insurer you need to believe that people still run around with pitchforks yelling "Burn the witch" and raise the premium accordingly because they believe the pitchfork wielding maniacs will target your relative.

I haven't stolen any Pineapples, but they are a great prog rock band!

By BenS - 5 Aug 15 6:55 PM

Pineapple Thief (or anyone else who knows),

I understand what you mean and correct me if I'm wrong, but - policy assumptions or not - I thought insurance companies were not entitled to know about spent convictions because they're not exempt from the ROA.

If insurers are not allowed to know about spent convictions, then why should they make assumptions based on them? It looks like they are trying to wriggle their way around the ROA and they should be told that this is not on.

If someone not exempt from the ROA asks you about unspent convictions (which they're not allowed to do), and you have a spent conviction but not an unspent one, then to my knowledge you have a legal right to answer "no", because they have no legal right to ask/know. Apologies if this is not the case and feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.
By theoldbag - 10 Jun 16 6:11 PM

BenS. Thank you for your response. As a follow up, I've talked to my local CAB legal advisor and he's keen for the CAB on a National level to follow up the maltreatment by Insurers (and other financial areas) towards ex offenders. Too late for me, but after all the hassle I've had over the last few months i really hope this discrimination is brought to light and dealt with.
By The Pineapple Thief - 3 Feb 15 2:54 PM

BenS, The insurance companies aren't asking about spent or unspent convictions. They are making assumptions based on the fact that the majority of the population has no convictions (spent or otherwise - the distinction is irrelevant) that use their websites to provide a quote.

You're correct that insurers (and employers for that matter) aren't entitled to know about spent convictions but they aren't asking anyone to disclose them!!

I haven't stolen any Pineapples, but they are a great prog rock band!