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Paul – Spent convictions should be disregarded for insurance purposes

Paul contacted our helpline after a major insurance company cancelled his motor insurance policy as they believed that he’d failed to disclose an unspent conviction. Paul had been careful to ensure that his policy started on the day his conviction became spent so that he wouldn’t have any need to disclose it.

We confirmed that based upon the information Paul had provided, his conviction would be spent when the motor policy started. We suggested that he contact the insurance company again as, under the Association of British Insurers (ABI) guidelines to insurers, spent convictions should always be disregarded.

Almost immediately, Paul rang us back and told us that after speaking to the insurance company they’d refused to reinstate his policy as they were adamant he had an unspent conviction. He asked whether we could intervene on his behalf.

We rang the insurer and were able to confirm the date that Paul’s conviction became spent; providing them with details of how this date had been arrived at. We also drew their attention to the ABI guidelines for insurance companies which states that spent convictions should be disregarded for insurance purposes. We asked the company if they would reconsider reinstating Paul’s motor insurance policy.

The insurer promised to look into the situation and a week later we heard from Paul who told us:

“The insurers head of complaints contacted me to apologise for the errors they’d made. He agreed that my conviction was spent when the policy started and confirmed that they would be reinstating my policy.”



This case highlights how insurers can make mistakes when calculating spent dates due to a lack of understanding of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

Many people find it difficult to challenge an insurer but if you can provide evidence that your conviction is spent (you can get a print out from our disclosure calculator, but a basic DBS certificate would confirm this) and refer the insurer to the ABI guidelines it’s sometimes possible to have your case reviewed and your policy reinstated.


Notes about this case study

This case study relates to Unlock’s helpline.

Names and details have been changed to protect the identity of those involved.

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