How Does COVID-19 Affect Your Home Insurance?

17 April 2020

During these unprecedented and challenging times due to the Coronavirus you may have some questions about your home insurance and how various elements of the cover will react.

Usually, changes to significant information about you or your home, ‘material facts’, should be notified to insurers as soon as reasonably possible as it affects their decision to accept a risk and if so at what premium and terms. However, during these uncertain times many home insurers have relaxed some policy requirements.

 

Working from Home

Household Insurance and Working From Home

Most home insurance policies will cover you for clerical or administrative work from home, so you do not need to tell them. However, if the work is not clerical, please let us know as in normal circumstances.

Office Equipment

If you have brought equipment home from your office with permission of or instruction by your employer then the employer will be responsible for insuring these items whilst at your home.

If you have purchased new equipment and you are responsible for insuring it then you will need to add this to your insurance policy and let us know about it. Check your policy. Some policies have unlimited contents cover in which case your new office equipment will be automatically covered.

Business Stock

You may have had to bring some business stock home. This will not be covered under your home insurance policy and you will need to let your business insurers know to ensure that your home is noted as a named location on the policy. Your business policy may already accommodate a certain limit being covered outside your business premises already. Check your policy.

 

Changes to Personal Information

Due to these difficult times it may be that you or a joint policyholder has become unemployed. There is no need to advise us of your ‘change of occupation’ at this time or indeed if you have been furloughed, but should you continue to be unemployed once UK Government restrictions have been lifted, please inform us.

 

Owner-occupied Homes Now Unoccupied

Home insurers will often restrict cover if your home becomes unoccupied for more than 30, 60 or 90 days – it depends on the insurer as to the applicable length of time. You may not be able to return to your home due to being stuck abroad. Generally, home insurers will not penalise clients for being unable to comply with any unoccupancy requirements as a direct consequence of COVID-19.

Such requirements might be to have the property checked every 7 or 14 days or cover may be restricted where loss or damage from water leaking from tanks or pipes for example. Instead, they are asking clients to comply with requirements as soon as it is viably possible to do so or at least take measures where you can to ensure the property is secure. This could involve you asking a neighbour to check the property for you, especially for escape of water. Essentially you should evidence that you have tried to take reasonable precautions where possible to protect your home.

 

Second Homes and Holiday Homes

We have published separate information for these types of properties, please follow this link.

 

Outstanding Surveys & Risk Improvements

Many of the high net worth insurers are postponing on-site surveys at clients homes until UK Government restrictions are sufficiently lifted. Some of the high net worth insurers are offering desktop survey assessments for properties with buildings with a sum insured of up to £5m. If you have any questions about this, please let us know.

If your insurer has specified the completion of a risk improvement to your home within a certain timescale, such as installing or upgrading your intruder alar, and that deadline cannot be complied with due to reasons associated with COVID-19 we would expect insurers to either extend the timescale or suspend the requirement until such time that restrictions are lifted or contractors are available to undertake the work. Again, the principle thing here is to take all reasonable action that you viably can to protect your property.

The relaxing of deadlines also applies to valuations for jewellery, or other valuable items although some art and antique valuers are offering desktop valuations and inspections of jewellery items.


Social Media & Cyber Security

We have published some useful information about what to look out for and how to protect yourself when working online. In addition, as we spend more time at home and are increasingly keeping in touch with friends and family over social media, be wary not to post too many pictures of your home particularly the inside. Thieves can glean a lot of information about you, your home and your lifestyle from your online activity.

 

Claims

If you suffer any loss or damage to your home during this time and wish to make a claim, please contact us as usual, or make a claim here.
 

Please visit our Coronavirus Information page for more guidance and updates.

 

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