To err is human, and everyone makes dumb mistakes, but some can be worse than others and can have serious legal consequences. Examples are criminal charges related to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, reckless driving, possessing or dealing drugs, theft, fraud, etc. If you have been convicted of such offences, it is very likely that you ended up with a criminal record.

Having a criminal record isn’t the end of the road, but it complicates certain things, such as the ability to travel or to take out home or car insurance, for example.

In this article, Assurances Multi-Risques shares a few tips with you to help you look for insurance if you or someone living in your home has a criminal record.

Getting insurance despite having a criminal record

In Canada, nearly 20% of the population has a criminal record. If you belong to this group, you’ve probably noticed that it is particularly difficult to find an insurer who agrees to insure you.

Our first tip: contact an independent insurance broker specializing in insurance for people with criminal records. They are used to negotiating with insurers who agree to take on criminal records.

Second tip: before even starting to look for insurance, request your court ledger record with the selective index. To do so, you simply need to submit a request to the courthouse in your area. And this service is free! This saves you time, as most insurers require a copy of your criminal record.

*Note that the extent of your criminal record may also have an impact on your new insurer’s determination of your premiums and coverage.

Third tip: have on-hand an up-to-date copy of your record from the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec, as some vehicle insurers require it as well. To request a copy of your driving record from the SAAQ, click here!

Last tip, but not the least: be honest with your insurance broker or agent. You have everything to gain by doing so, because your honesty about your criminal record will allow you to benefit from the home or car insurance that best suits your situation and needs. Moreover, in the event of a claim, you’ll avoid a lot of problems!

Criminal records: the importance of disclosing your criminal record to your insurer

We’re very emphatic about this point because we want you to understand the importance of being truthful with your insurer about your criminal record. Many insurance companies refuse to insure a person with a criminal record, as well as anyone living with them—even their child—who has a criminal record. They may, however, agree to do so, but with a very high premium surcharge, whether you are taking out home, car or motorcycle insurance. We understand that it can be tempting, then, to avoid mentioning your criminal history to your insurer.

But if you avoid disclosing your criminal record to try to fool your insurer or to save money, you may be refused coverage in the event of a claim.

In fact, under Article 2408 of the Civil Code of Quebec, the policyholder is required to disclose all facts likely to influence the insurer’s appraisal of your risk. And even if the insurer does not ask you if you have a criminal record, you are still not relieved from the obligation of disclosing your criminal history!

If you don’t, an insurance company that agrees to insure you and later discovers the truth can cancel your insurance policy or refuse to pay out in the event of a claim, on the basis of Article 2410 of the Civil Code of Quebec for misrepresentation or concealment of facts. In short, paying a bit more for your insurance, but being indemnified for a disaster or an accident is better than getting a good price for insurance that is useless and worthless!

Getting a criminal record while your insurance policy is in effect

If you are convicted of committing a crime after signing your current insurance policy, you need to inform your insurer. The latter can either cancel your policy or offer you a new one with higher premiums.

As mentioned above, you’ll avoid having your policy terminated or being refused coverage in the event of an accident or disaster! And that would significantly offset the savings you thought you’d achieve on your premiums by hiding this information.

Don’t lose hope! There are insurers who agree to insure people with criminal records.

If you’re discouraged because your car or home insurance has been cancelled or because several insurers have refused to cover you, don’t worry: there are insurers that specialize in clients with criminal records! Us, for example!

At Assurances Multi-Risques, we have expertise in this area, and we know how to establish the best strategies to insure people with a criminal record.

It is highly likely that you will have to pay higher premiums than with your former insurer, as the pool of people with a criminal record is smaller, but at least you’ll be well protected!

And don’t forget: silence isn’t always golden. On the contrary, when it comes to insurance, the consequences of being less than honest or not forthcoming may be very costly. So be candid, acknowledge your wrongdoings and tell the truth. Most of all, you want to avoid insurance problems and a worsening of your situation!