Following the first national lockdown in March 2020, the insurance industry collectively agreed to support and assist customers across a range of different insurance products, including home insurance, motor insurance and travel insurance. Insurers offered policy extensions and flexibility with customers wherever possible during this unprecedented period that we all faced.

As restrictions have changed, the customer pledges have been kept under review and amended accordingly.

In this month’s article we will look at Home Insurance, Motor Insurance and Travel Insurance and update you on any changes and actions you may need to take.

Home Insurance

The Covid-19 pandemic forced two fifths of Brits to work from home, and a further 7% are expected to work from home in the near future. However, more than 1 in 10 Brits (11%) are confused about if working from home is considered as ‘business use’ on their home insurance policy.

If you are an office-based worker and will continue to work from home, even after restrictions are lifted, it will remain the case that you do not need to contact your insurer, unless any of the following now apply:

  • You have visitors to your home on business. For example, you have face to face client meetings.
  • Your business makes or sells goods from your home or you store any of these items at your home, particularly if these goods are valuable or include hazardous/flammable material, for example, gas cylinders or fireworks.
  • You are offering services from your home. For example, this would apply to jobs such as providing beauty treatments, hairdressing, child minding, dog grooming or being an exercise instructor.
  • You have adapted your property, for example, using an outbuilding as your home office or undertaken major renovation works, or acquired new business equipment that belongs to you. Cover for any business equipment, such as a company laptop or mobile phone, will usually be the employer’s responsibility but please check with your employer if you are unsure.

Motor Insurance

For the past 13 months, the UK’s 27 million motor insurance customers have been supported with temporary pledges designed to help commuters and volunteers. As restrictions have changed, the following guidance now applies from 30th April 2021:

  • Volunteering

The initial pledge to support those using their own car for voluntary purposes has become part of the insurance industry’s volunteer driving commitments. If you are using your own vehicle for voluntary purposes, such as to transport medicines or groceries in order to support others who are impacted by Covid-19, this will continue to be covered at no extra cost by the vast majority of the Association of British Insurers (ABI) members.

A full list of insurers who have made such a commitment, details of what voluntary activities they cover and actions you may be required to take, can be found here.

Contact your insurance provider if:

  • they have signed up to the ABI’s commitment but they require you to tell them you are a volunteer driver
  • they have not signed up to the ABI’s commitment as you may have to pay an extra premium to ensure you are fully covered

Driving to Work

To provide support to drivers who needed to travel to their place of work during lockdown, but who previously would not have used their own vehicle to do so, insurers waived the need for anyone with Social, Domestic and Pleasure cover to update or amend their motor insurance policy. Key workers needing to travel between different workplaces also did not need to contact their insurer.

These measures put in place to protect drivers amid the Covid-19 pandemic will end on April 30th 2021.

As restrictions are lifted and commuting via car to your place of work becomes more routine, it will be necessary for drivers to check that their insurance cover is appropriate for their needs. You will need to speak to your insurer or broker if there has been changes to your working and driving activities since originally taking out the policy. This includes using your own vehicle to commute to your place of work or driving to different locations for work purposes. This will also apply to key workers.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is still widely available. Some insurers temporarily stopped selling travel insurance to new customers while the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice was against all but essential travel. However, those insurers have now resumed selling travel insurance.

You should check your policy as it is likely that any policy bought or renewed, or trip booked, after the pandemic was officially declared on 11th March 2020, is unlikely to cover cancellation due to Covid-19 (which may include the need to self-isolate), as it is a known risk.

You should follow the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice. When such travel is permitted, your travel insurance policy will remain valid if you travel to countries where the FCO advice is that it is safe to do so.

If you travel against FCO advice then you are likely to invalidate your travel insurance, leaving you uninsured.

The latest foreign travel advice can be found here.

Tony Buckingham, Managing Director of Buckingham Insurance says, “It is imperative that you get your insurance needs right in order to protect yourself. To discuss your insurance requirements and to ensure you have adequate cover, please contact us or telephone one of our friendly staff on 01246 575 625 (Clowne) or 01773 748 627 (Ripley). They will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.”