If you have a criminal record or unspent criminal conviction and have been refused insurance, we can help.
Sale Insurance Services (SIS) locate specialist insurance for reformed offenders and those who have been refused insurance quotes in the past.
With criminal convictions, insurance quotes can be difficult to obtain. Here at SIS we believe that no-one is uninsurable, no matter what your past. We offer specialist insurance quotes for car, home and liability policies.
(From The Independent)
Thousands of Britons struggle to get specialist insurance for their home, their car or their life every year. Whether it's those with a chronic medical condition seeking health insurance, or people living on a flood plain wanting house insurance, finding cover if you're not Mr or Mrs Average can feel impossible.
In reality, however, there are very few people who will not be able to get insurance at all. While there are a few rare exceptions - terminal- cancer patients seeking medical insurance, say - there are an increasing number of brokers and underwriters who specialise in finding cover for the seemingly uninsurable.
Although many people give up their search for insurance after a few rejections, a couple of calls to the right person could find you covered in minutes.
Getting buildings and even contents insurance for your home can prove tricky if you live in high-risk area for flooding, or if your property has a risk of subsidence. Many people find that they get turned down for home insurance simply because they live in the same postcode as a high- risk flooding area.
Recently, however, insurers have become better at drilling down on a street-by-street basis, while the industry trade body has managed to commit its members to renewing cover (even if they'd rather not) in places where new flood defences are planned within the next five years or so.
More Than and Norwich Union, two of the largest insurers, have been among the more proactive companies in trying to implement house-by-house screening, rather than just looking at districts or postcodes. And Jane Milne, from the Association of British Insurers, says that even if you live in a flood-risk area, you should find cover without too much problem if your property is deemed unlikely to suffer a flood any more than once every 75 years.
If you have been flooded recently or are in a high-risk area, all is not necessarily lost. There are a few brokers and insurers, such as Bureau Insurance, who will try to offer you cover.
Chris Jordan, managing director of Bureau, says that one way of making your property more attractive to insurers is to install flood defences, to keep as much water out as possible in the case of a major flood. Milne adds that ensuring that you have tiled, not carpeted, floors, and that you keep your electrics above the likely flood level, should persuade insurers to take up your case.
Bureau also specialises in covering houses that have suffered from subsidence. Jordan says that if a house has been underpinned properly, he rarely has any qualms about insuring it, even though most major providers would turn these clients away instantly.
Trying to get travel, health and life insurance once you own up to having a pre-existing condition is very difficult. While most insurers will be happy to let you sign up to one of their policies, they will almost certainly not pay out if you or your family need to make a claim that relates to a condition of which you were aware when you bought cover.
Kevin Carr, a senior technical adviser at Lifesearch, the insurance broker, says: "If you've had a heart attack or cancer, it's unlikely that you'll be able to get any life cover for at least five years. But it can be even longer.
"Insurers often postpone cover, too. If you're diagnosed with diabetes, your insurer would probably postpone your life cover for a year to see how you responded to treatment. But with a more serious illness, it can be five to seven years before they'll reconsider."
Specialist insurers, however, will often look at providing life cover for people with acute and even chronic illnesses much quicker, even immediately. Mike Douglas, chief operating officer of Partnership Assurance, which specialises in providing life cover for people with poor health, says: "The big 'factories' such as Legal & General, Norwich Union etc, have built a fantastic model for dealing with Mr and Mrs Average. But if that's not you, they're not set up to provide what you need. That's where we come in."
If you have a chronic health condition, it is essentially impossible to get medical insurance that will pay for the day- to-day maintenance of your illness. But there are some specialist policies that will at least pay out in the event of an acute flare-up of your condition. A specialist broker, such as the Insurance Surgery, should be able to advise you on the best policy for your individual case.
If you find that getting anyone to offer you medical insurance is difficult, it is worth considering using other forms of protection such as critical insurance cover, which will pay out if you contract a serious illness unrelated to your existing condition. Beware, though, that an increasing number of conditions are excluded from CI policies, so it's important to read the small print before signing up to anything.
One of the first things that all insurers try to determine when you apply for cover is whether you have any criminal convictions. If you have, you can almost always expect a hasty rejection, no matter how insignificant your crime, and no matter how long ago the conviction.
However, Graeme Trudgill, the technical services manager at the British Insurance Brokers' Association (BIBA), says that insurers' attitude towards reformed offenders is often short-sighted. He explains that insurance for reformed offenders is about trust and good faith, so if you're a convicted criminal, most insurers won't want to take the risk. He also adds that these reformed offenders are often a really good risk because they're so happy to find someone to insure them, that when they get a policy, they're very careful.
Chris Jordan of Bureau, which also locates specialist insurance for reformed offenders, says that his customers tend to be people who've done their time and now have a steady job and want to settle down. However, they then find that they can't get a mortgage because no one will offer them buildings insurance.
Although Bureau says that it will look at all cases individually, Jordan admits that those convicted of certain crimes are much more likely to be turned away. "We will insure most criminals, but we do draw the line," he says. "All of our decisions are made on an underwriting basis, not on a moral basis. But we tend not to cover paedophiles, as they tend to get targeted by the local community, and we tend not to cover arsonists or people convicted for fraud - for obvious reasons."
Aside from Bureau, another insurance broker that specialises in helping obtain specialist insurance for reformed offenders is GMI, based in Sidcup in Kent.
You may also have difficulty getting insurance if you have been hit with a speeding fine, or if you have points on your licence for other reasons. There are, however, many more companies who will consider you if this is the case, and the good news is that minor endorsements on your licence will expire after four years. More serious offences, such as drink-driving, will stay on your licence for 11 years.
Persuading insurers to offer you life or income protection cover can be a tall order if you're in the wrong profession or trade. Insurers tend to rate professions and trades in five different risk categories, and for those in the worst of these, most insurers will turn them down immediately for income protection or life cover.
Kevin Carr, from the broker Lifesearch, says that dancers, roofers and lifeguards are among a group of professionals who will find it impossible to get their hands on income- protection insurance from the main providers. However, he says that the Pioneer Friendly Society, a specialist insurer, is one of a small handful of companies that do not look at your specific line of work when underwriting this form of insurance.
Ultimately, if your insurance needs are out of the ordinary - ie, you can't find anyone to cover you after a brief search on the internet - it is well worth seeking a broker to do the searching for you. There are very few groups of people who find that they can't get insurance at any price. Although you may have to accept less-than-ideal terms and conditions, or pay a higher premium than you would like, there's always someone willing to take a risk.
Insurance companies deny cover to ex-offenders
Major insurance companies are denying home insurance or refusing claims to households where somebody has a criminal conviction, according to a new study.
Five out of six leading specialist insurance companies approached by a researcher posing as an ex-offender - with a conviction for assault rather than fraud or theft - refused him building or contents cover because of his criminal record. Direct Line and Lombard Direct said they could not offer cover until 10 years after the conviction; Egg and Churchill would only offer cover after five years; and Eagle Star said it would not offer cover under any circumstances.
The only company which accepted the application was Endsleigh, which said that obtaining specialist insurance would depend on the nature of the criminal convictions, insurance would be refused if the conviction was for arson or fraud.
Although the Prudential was not approached for the study, a spokesman told the Guardian it would be unlikely to offer specialist insurance cover if an ex-offender lived on the premises.
The Association of British Insurers said companies treated "each application on merit".
The research was carried out by the Liberal Democrats' home affairs spokesman Mark Oaten and the ex-offenders' charity Unlock.
Last night, Mr Oaten called on the industry regulator to intervene. He said: "It is a strange state of affairs that we continue to punish offenders by denying them that security. For ex-prisoners trying to go straight, this attitude by the insurance companies must be a real kick in the teeth."
Bobby Cummines, director of Unlock, said the charity's files were filled with cases of people being refused insurance, or worse still, having their claims denied.
He said that in many cases, the insurance company had not asked the question until a claim arose. "It is shameful that companies grab the monthly premium without going into clear details, but when it comes to a claim they refuse to honour it."
One case handled by Unlock involved an ex-offender in the West Midlands, who had two convictions for dishonesty. Since leaving prison for the last time eight years ago, Andrew has held a responsible job with the same company while living with his partner, Louise, and their three children.
Two years ago, their house suffered flood damage, so Louise asked about claiming on the insurance policy in her name. Louise told the truth about Andrew's past. The company - one of the top six in the field - cancelled the policy.
Unlock put them in touch with a firm of brokers which organised specialist insurance - but their premium has more than doubled.