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Irrelevant criminal convictions and motor insurance?


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Not a specific case, but just wondering what people think about whether it is fair that people with completely irrelevant and/or minor convictions should have to pay more for their car insurance.

 

Also due to our pathetic and dreadully flawed criminal "justice" system, there are thousands of innocent people who were wrongly convicted but who still have to pay the extra premiums.

 

I know it's up to the insurers to decide what kind of clientele they have, but deciding on criminal convictions seems a pretty unreliable way of doing it. There are many people with criminal convictions who are decent, honest, lovely people and there are those without no convictions who are the complete pits of humanity.

 

If you lie on the form and say you have no convictions when you actually do, what happens in the event of a claim? Does the insurer CRB everyone who claims or something, or is it likely that if you don't declare the conviction you won't actually be found out?

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I can see your point and totally agree.

But in taking out any policy you are bound by their terms and conditions which usually say that all answered questions are true-or moreover that false statements will render your agreement void.

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A criminal conviction goes someway to providing information to an insurer about the risk that is presented.

 

For example, motoring convictions will indicate that the driver possibly prevents a bigger risk of an accident than a driver who obeys the speed limits or drink drive laws. Or a person who has convictions for fraud or theft is perhaps more likely to 'boost' or falsify an insurance claim.

 

It is not always obvious why convictions are relevent, but insurers decide their premiums on a number of factors and it could well be that experience has taught them that people with certain convictions are more likely to make certain types of claims, hence why their premiums are loaded. Having said that, not all convictions automatically mean an increased premium.

 

Insurers have many ways of discovering convictions, if you lie on a proposal form (or fail to disclose something) then you run a very serious risk of having your insurance policy declared void and not being able to make a claim (and in some cases ie motor insurance if your insurer makes a payment to a third party (as required by law) then they will come back to you for reimbursement of that money), in turn that makes your situation worse because then you have to declare that to future insurers as well as the previous convictions.

 

I appreciate what you say about innocent people being convicted of something, but the system isn't perfect and all the insurers can do is base their premiums on facts, so if you have a conviction it is best to declare it and be honest from the start, whilst that may cost you more in premiums it will certainly be cheaper than not having insurance when you need it.

 

Mossy

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Not ALL car insurance companies ask about non-motoring convictions...in fact I have just been scouting around on half a dozen or so and none of them had that question in their quotes bit, they only ask about specifically motoring convictions.

 

A few years ago I made a claim with Swiftcover after my car was stolen. When I phoned them, one of their allegedly routine questions was whether I had a criminal record. They refused the claim and declared my insurance void because I had not revealed I had a criminal record when buying the policy. I was sure I had not been asked, because I am an honest person and I would definitely have declared it if they had wanted those details.

 

So I checked on their website where you get your quotes, and indeed they ask about MOTORING convictions but not any other convictions. I then checked the policy wording and terms and condition and there was NOTHING in there that mentioned anything about having to declare such a thing even if not asked to do so. I used their complaints procedure and they closed ranks saying it's obvious that I should always declare that...well no, I'm not going to declare something like that unless I am asked to do so, thank you very much. If they think it is so important then they should have asked.

 

So I went to the ombudsman and they duly upheld my complaint and Swiftcover were forced to pay out my claim. If they had asked and I had said no then of course they would be right in refusing my claim. They also had to reimburse me for the money I had spent on getting a new insurance company after SC voided my policy.

 

If your company does NOT ask you then you do NOT need to disclose it. There is no legislation anywhere saying that you have to disclose unspent convictions when buying such products. It is up to the vendor to ask at the point of sale - if they fail to do so at the time of signing the contract (i.e. buying the policy), they cannot then breach the contract on that basis should they discover this about you at a later date. Vendors are more than welcome to refuse products to those with certain convictions but they MUST do so at the point of sale - they can't change their mind later to avoid paying out your legitimate claim.

 

Both "confused" and "moneysuperket" ask you about non-motoring convictions, and load the premium accordingly, but if you actually go straight to the insurance company's own website, many of them do not ask such a question.

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Insurance depends on such things as utmost good faith. If you do not disclose a material fact when asked directly, you are not acting in utmost good faith and therefore entering into a contract with you is not advisable.

 

In my experience, criminal convictions are often looked at on a case by case basis, ie how much time has passed and circumstances.

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I agree with you Michele.

 

My conviction is now spent, it was a minor offence and had nothing to do with motoring. When I did have a criminal record several years ago, I always answered honestly if anyone asked me, of course explaining the circumstances around how I got the conviction. If I was dealing in a field that had nothing whatsoever to do with my conviction, I would not disclose it unless specifically asked, e.g. if someone asked if I had any criminal convictions then I would of course answer truthfully. I would not mention it if not asked unless it was in an area that WAS relevant to the conviction, in which case I would bring it up and explain all circumstances around it. However, motoring was NOT remotely related to the offence I had a criminal record for, and I was never asked by any of my insurers about anything except specifically motoring convictions, so I carried on buying car insurance as normal and did not suffer from increased premiums.

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I understand why insurance companies may ask about criminal convictions there are situation when it may make it more likely that you would have to claim on your insurance. Therefore if you may have to claim more on your insurance they will charge you more which makes sense.

 

The problem I have with insurance companies is that they are likely to inflate your premiums if you have had a non-fault accident- I think its ridiculous to say that because you were involved in an accident that was someone else fault you are in turn likely to be in more accidents. It absolutely unreasonable that a customer should have to pay more for insurance when they have not actually cost the insurance company anything themselves and all more spent was reclaimed.

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  • 2 years later...

Try Adrian Flux or Insurance Choice.

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  • 2 years later...

As far as I am aware insurance companies have no legal right to access criminal records database and cannot do so. Employers can and anywhere working with kids can but not insurance companies etc. Obviously if a claim is made they can involve the police but it would be the police who access the records and they cannot give access unless a crime is proven. Surely this lark is one big scare story. Has anyone actually seen any evidence or regs on insurance company access to records?

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As far as I am aware insurance companies have no legal right to access criminal records database and cannot do so. Employers can and anywhere working with kids can but not insurance companies etc. Obviously if a claim is made they can involve the police but it would be the police who access the records and they cannot give access unless a crime is proven. Surely this lark is one big scare story. Has anyone actually seen any evidence or regs on insurance company access to records?

 

The Insurers cannot access most criminal records. They will have an Insurers central record of when someone has committed fraud against Insurance, so, so others are aware. I believe that Car related convictions which would go on driving licences are recorded on a central database which Insurers can access, but that makes sense. For other criminal offences the Insurers would have to make a report to Police of suspicion of a crime being committed i.e attempted fraud and then during Police investigation it might come out.

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Exactly and all that makes sense so I wouldnt bother declaring anything unless you have committed insurance fraud and will be on their database. They cannot access CRB and the police cannot divulge anything unless it is related to the case, so a new case of insurance fraud. A big fat scare story put out by the industry which is illegal but makes them much, much more money.

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I've been asked if I was a smoker while getting a telephone quote not too long ago...

I know smoking is bad, but charging more for car insurance is taking it a bit too far.

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Exactly and all that makes sense so I wouldnt bother declaring anything unless you have committed insurance fraud and will be on their database. They cannot access CRB and the police cannot divulge anything unless it is related to the case, so a new case of insurance fraud. A big fat scare story put out by the industry which is illegal but makes them much, much more money.

 

It is up to people to disclose information per the declaration questions asked. If they fail to disclose then they are taking the risk. E.g if they took out Home Insurance and failed to disclose a criminal convinction for say theft or drug dealing. If they were then subject to a burglary, the Insurers might find out about the criminal convictions.

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If the conviction is considered 'spent', it does not have to be declared.

 

See: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1974/53#section-4-3-a

 

any obligation imposed on any person by any rule of law or by the provisions of any agreement or arrangement to disclose any matters to any other person shall not extend to requiring him to disclose a spent conviction or any circumstances ancillary to a spent conviction (whether the conviction is his own or another’s);

 

If you are asked about any unspent convictions then of course you should declare them.

 

Driving convictions that result in points/fine/ban are impossible to hide from an insurance company anyway, because they are (or at least should be) printed/written on the paper counterpart, which the insurance company WILL want to look at in the event of a claim.

 

How that will change when the counterpart is withdrawn i don't know.

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Yes obviously points etc should be declared as they can be seen on current licence. However in the case (uncles post) of a convicted criminal being insured, and then having a burglary. I still do not agree they need to be declared despite the insurance companies insistence *unless * the claim goes to court as fraud, which is not what we are talking about here. The police cannot disclose such convictions otherwise and if they do it is an offence. The insurance companies would have us telling them our whole lives if they could get away with it, and we will all suffer as a consequence if we give into that bullying. Insurance is a risk they take it or not.

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Yes obviously points etc should be declared as they can be seen on current licence. However in the case (uncles post) of a convicted criminal being insured, and then having a burglary. I still do not agree they need to be declared despite the insurance companies insistence *unless * the claim goes to court as fraud, which is not what we are talking about here. The police cannot disclose such convictions otherwise and if they do it is an offence. The insurance companies would have us telling them our whole lives if they could get away with it, and we will all suffer as a consequence if we give into that bullying. Insurance is a risk they take it or not.

 

My experience is that sometimes criminal convictions do become known to Insurers. It should not happen unless it is relevant and it can be tricky how they could use it, if it has not been legally provided. But the Insurers might try to avoid the claim, by getting the policyholder to admit it and then use the admission to justify their actions.

 

Data security controls are the subject of much media interest at the moment and I think it is a big problem area. Not enough action is taken against those that leak data and those who obtain it illegally.

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If it is spent then legislation states that fact:- no company/person can override the objective of the legislation, the only difference I have been informed is if dealing with children/adults jobs?

:mad2::-x:jaw::sad:
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I've seen plenty of cases where a fraud investigator has turned up a conviction when doing some basic research using newspaper searches - many court reports are archived including the full name of the person.

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I've seen plenty of cases where a fraud investigator has turned up a conviction when doing some basic research using newspaper searches - many court reports are archived including the full name of the person.

 

I've heard of Insurers requiring a customer they suspect of non disclosure to obtain a copy of their criminal record.

 

The law changed last month which bans this for most employers, I'm not sure if this applies to Insurers as well

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