As we go into lockdown in the face of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) threat many people are asking what help their insurance provider can give in these incredibly trying times.
Here experts at Adrian Flux, one of the country’s largest independent specialist insurance brokers, answers your Coronavirus insurance questions.
What is the Association of British Insurers doing to help?
The ABI (Association of British Insurers) is reassuring people that its motor and home insurance members are offering enhanced help and support to all their customers who may be affected by the impact of Coronavirus.
The commitments include waiving any requirements to extend cover for key workers who may need to drive to different locations, people who want to help their communities by transporting medicines or groceries to support those affected by Coronavirus and office workers who need to work from home. These follow on from guidance already issued by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Motor and home insurers have pledged to:
- Support those who need to make a claim
- Support those who are working from home
- Support those who cannot work from home
- Support those who use their cars to help communities
- Support our key workers
I have decided to drive my car to work instead of using public transport. Will I still be covered?
The Association of British Insurers has said, “If you have to drive to your workplace because of the impact of Covid-19, your insurance policy will still be valid. You do not need to contact your insurer to update your documents or extend your cover.”
I’ve been identified as a vulnerable person and advised to self-isolate. Can I pause my car insurance?
It is a legal requirement to have valid car insurance unless you register your vehicle as being off the road and apply for a SORN. In this case it may be appropriate for you to consider laid-up motor insurance cover.
Even when unused and parked in a garage while you keep safe from the Coronavirus, cars can be damaged by accident or by fire and they can be targeted by thieves and criminals. With laid-up cover they remain protected but the policies are cheaper because, as they are not being driven, there is no third party or liability insurance needed.
Adrian Flux laid-up insurance is available at two levels, fire and theft or fire and theft plus accidental damage, so they suit any budget and any need.
Doctors have advised me to self-isolate. Will I still be covered to drive?
If a doctor has advised you not to drive because of a health condition that will affect your driving, the rules have not changed and you must not drive or you could invalidate your insurance. But, if you have just been advised to self-isolate for your general safety and well-being, you would still be covered to drive. Adrian Flux would advise against driving though if you’re self-isolating and especially if you are showing symptoms, as it could impair your ability to drive; if you break down you could need assistance, which would result in contact with someone else, putting yourself and them at risk of infection.
If you are driving against government directives, depending on what they are at the time, and your vehicle is impounded, this is your legal responsibility
What should I do if I’m worried I can’t meet my insurance instalments?
One of the benefits of dealing with a specialist broker such as Adrian Flux is that we can be sensible and offer flexibility in times of uncertainty such as these.
Adam Hollinger, Customer Service Floor Supervisor at Adrian Flux, explained: “We’ll do our best to arrange individual payment plans given the current climate. Individual plans will be based on a client’s previous payment history. If the customer has a good payment record we will do whatever we can to help. But advise us in good time that you are having financial difficulties and we will help you get through it.”
What are the financial implications on my insurance if I lose my job due to Coronavirus?
Adam Hollinger, Customer Service Floor Supervisor at Adrian Flux, said: “Get on the phone to your broker and let them know what has happened and they will do their best to help you.
We’re not applying Additional Premiums for mid-term changes to unemployed customers and we won’t be issuing Road Traffic Act cancellation notices for unacceptable risks due to unemployment as a result of COVID-19. We are doing what we can to accommodate this, please get in touch to talk to a member of the customer service team.”
I work for the NHS. What is Adrian Flux doing to help me?
Adam Hollinger, Customer Service Floor Supervisor at Adrian Flux, said: “With immediate effect Adrian Flux has decided to waive all mid-term admin fees and insurer admin fees when NHS workers call to make changes to their policies. We think this is the least we can do to help our NHS workers during this extremely difficult time.”
Will my current insurance be valid if I volunteer to drive for those who can’t leave their homes?
If you are using your own car for voluntary purposes to collect and deliver medicine or groceries to support people affected by Coronavirus, your cover will not be affected and you will not need to notify your insurer.
If I need someone to drive my car to collect groceries or medicine, will they be insured?
In these circumstances you should contact your broker and have them added to your policy as a named driver. If the new driver has car insurance that includes driving other cars and they drive yours with your permission they will only get third-party cover. If you are fully comprehensive and want to ensure damage to your own car is covered when someone else uses it, contact your broker to add the other person as a named driver to your policy.
Can I still get my car MOT during the lockdown?
Garages undertaking MOT tests have been deemed an “essential service” by the government, which means they’ll stay open despite the lockdown. That means your insurance could be invalidated if your vehicle doesn’t have a valid test certificate. This may change if the government decides to reclassify MOT test centres as “non essential”.
The DVSA has announced that all cars and vans and motorcycles due their MOT from 30th March 2020 will have their MOT extended by 6 months. If your MOT is due this March however, you will need to ensure it is still carried out. Vehicles must be kept in a roadworthy condition and drivers can be prosecuted if they drive an unsafe vehicle. You can read advice here regarding MOTs due before 30th March 2020, and here regarding MOTs due after 30th March 2020.
Will my home insurance policy be affected if I have to work from home?
If your work is clerical in nature, working from home due to self-isolation or because you have been ordered to do so by your employer should be covered by standard home insurance policies. However, if you need to have visitors in the course of your work you should check with your insurer, as there may be restrictions in the cover permitted.
Am I covered if something happens to my work equipment at home?
Any equipment your employer has provided you with will usually be covered by their business insurance. If it is your own equipment, you may be covered under your home insurance or any separate gadget policies you may have, but it is best to check with your insurer directly.
I have been quarantined and my home may be unoccupied for more than the 30 day limit on my policy. Will I be covered?
Insurers will be pragmatic when considering those who are quarantined and unable to return to their property within the timescales set out in their policy. However, individuals should contact their broker at their earliest convenience, Adam Hollinger advised.
Will home insurance cover the cost of a deep clean to my property should it become contaminated by Coronavirus?
Most standard home insurance policies do not provide cover for the costs of cleaning a property, even deep cleaning in the event of Coronavirus.
I’m stuck abroad in lockdown and concerned my foreign-use motor insurance cover will run out. What should I do?
The terms and conditions of your foreign use motor insurance policy will differ from person to person so you should get in touch to talk about your individual circumstances as soon as you can.
I am now unable to inspect my unoccupied property within the 7 or 30 days inspection clause, will this affect my cover?
Due to this being classed as non-essential travel, this will be taken into account in the event of a claim.
I am a Landlord, if my tenants can’t pay the rent due to Coronavirus, can I claim through my Landlord Legal Rent guarantee?
For any claim made under the rent Guarantee you must be in the process of evicting your tenant. Therefore, due to the Government rules of tenants not being served eviction notices for 3 months, you would not be able to claim under this policy.
Need more help regards the Coronavirus and your insurance?
If you have questions about how Coronavirus may affect your insurance, please call Customer Services on 0344 381 6502 or email Customer Services.