Insurers are expected to support you if you’re struggling to pay for your insurance because of coronavirus. Find out more about your options below.
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on our money, health and wellbeing. It's been a confusing time for everybody and we know you've probably got a few questions about your insurance at this uncertain time.
We want to keep you as updated as possible and we’ve gathered the latest information and guidance to help you make good financial decisions.
Remember though, these are just guidelines, not advice or personal recommendations.
Can I get travel insurance?
Yes, but it might not cover everything you need it to.
When you buy travel insurance, each insurer will have different levels of cover around coronavirus. You’ll need to read policy documents and look out for cover for things like cancellation, medical expenses, repatriation and extended stays. It’s worth looking for supplier-end failure and scheduled airline failure cover too.
Should I update the usage or mileage on my existing car insurance policy?
You don’t need to update your current policy or tell your insurer if your driving habits have changed temporarily because of coronavirus.
But as restrictions change and travel to work becomes more routine again, you need to make sure you have the right cover. And that includes making sure you have the right type of use on your policy.
For example, during the lockdowns, insurers waived the need for anyone limited to social domestic and pleasure cover to upgrade their policy because they now needed to use their own car to get to work. But as we return to normal, you need to make sure your policy accurately reflects how you use your car.
So if you've decided to carry on driving to work, you should ask your insurer to increase your cover to include commuting or business use, plus the extra miles you'll be driving annually.
Do I need to adjust my car insurance at renewal or when shopping around for a new policy?
Yes, if your driving habits will be different in the upcoming year, even if the change was originally something to do with coronavirus. For example, if your mileage is now much lower because you work partly from home and will continue to do so over the next policy year, you should give your insurer your new lower mileage.
I want to volunteer for the NHS. Am I covered by my car insurance?
Yes, absolutely. Any claim you need to make will not be rejected because you’re using your car differently – running groceries or prescriptions, for example. The Financial Conduct Authority have made it clear to insurers that they expect them to be fair to customers during the coronavirus outbreak.
Your insurer may want to be notified that you're using your own car for volunteering purposes. Check your policy wording and if in any doubt, contact your insurer to let them know how you'll be using your car.
If I have to self-isolate, can I put my car insurance on hold?
You can’t really pause car insurance, but you can cancel it (cancellation fees will probably apply) and make a Statuary Off-Road Notification (SORN).
With self-isolation usually being for a few weeks at most, it's probably more cost-effective and practical to keep your policy in force instead of cancelling it.
If you do apply for a SORN, you won’t be able to drive your car as it must be parked up off the road. When you want to start using your car again, you’ll need to get it insured and taxed first.
Keep in mind that if you cancel your standard car insurance, you won't have any cover if your car is stolen, vandalised or gets damaged by fire. You can get laid up car insurance though, if you want to insure your car during its SORN.
I’m isolating. Can anyone else drive my car to pick up essentials for me?
Unfortunately not. Only you and your named drivers who you have added to your policy can drive your car.
The only exception is if whoever you ask to drive your car has cover to drive other cars included on their car insurance. If they do, it’ll be outlined in their policy documents. And most likely only third party only cover.
You could add a family member or friends as a named driver on your insurance, but it could increase your premiums, and you’ll almost certainly have to pay an admin fee to do it.
Short-term car insurance will probably be the cheaper alternative, particularly if you only need someone to drive your car for a couple of weeks.
I’ve started working from home, do I need to tell my insurer?
No, you don’t need to tell your insurer if you’ve started working from home because of coronavirus and you're in the middle of your policy. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have made it clear that insurance providers need to be fair to customers during the coronavirus outbreak. That means working from home will not have any impact on your insurance, or if you need to make a claim.
This just applies to people who are doing desk work, though. If you’re having visitors to your house to do your job, it’s best to get in touch with your insurer and let them know.
Also, if your home working becomes permanent, you need to tell your insurer at renewal. You might find it actually makes your policy a little cheaper if there's someone at home during the day all the time, but it depends on your individual circumstances.
What about contents insurance and any office equipment I’ve been sent home with?
If your employer has sent you home with any office equipment, it’s their responsibility to insure it, not yours. If anything happens to this equipment, for example something gets stolen or damaged, you do not need to claim on your home insurance for it.
I’m self-isolating, or stuck abroad, and my home is left unoccupied. Will this have an impact on my insurance?
Most home insurance policies have a limit on how many days your home can be unoccupied for. It’s usually 30 or 60 consecutive days. If this happens to you, let your insurer know. They’ll do their best to look after you in this situation. But each case will have to be handled individually.
What if I’m renewing, or getting a new home insurance policy?
If you’re getting a new quote for your home insurance, or renewing your policy, answer the questions just as you would under normal circumstances, so that when the situation changes you have the cover you need. For example, if your home is usually empty during the day because you or your family are at work/school, then say so when you’re getting quotes.
If you run a business from home, you’ll need to state this when you’re getting quotes.
Will business insurance cover me if I've had to close because of coronavirus?
It’s not likely. Most standard business insurance policies won’t include cover for closure, or any other sort of impact, due to an infectious disease – check with your insurer to see exactly what you’re covered for.
If you’re an existing Simply Business customer, you can use their policy checker tool to check what you are or aren’t covered for.
What is business interruption insurance? Can it help with business losses due to coronavirus?
Business interruption cover is usually offered as an add-on to your business insurance. It’s designed to step in if there’s an unforeseen event which means your business isn’t able to operate as normal.
Most business interruption polices have a list of dangers that they’ll cover. But notifiable diseases aren’t usually considered a peril, so they’re unlikely to cover coronavirus.
If my business interruption policy covers infectious diseases, does that include coronavirus?
If you do have cover for infectious diseases, there’ll usually be a list specifying which ones are covered – coronavirus is a new risk and it won’t be listed, so it won’t be covered.
However, some infectious disease clauses are more general and so could include coronavirus. Get in touch with your insurer or broker for personalised advice.
Can I take out a new business interruption insurance policy?
You can, but a lot of insurers have removed this cover from their policies recently. For those that still offer it, it’s very unlikely that they’ll cover you for coronavirus-related claims.
I’ve got rent guarantee insurance, can I use it?
From 1 August 2021, you have to give your tenant two month's notice of eviction in most cases, or four weeks notice where there's more than four months of rent arrears. You usually need to have regained possession of your property before you can make a claim on your policy for rental arrears, so this could delay your claim. But potentially you can still make a claim if you have this cover.
What if I need to complete a gas safety inspection or make repairs to a tenant’s property?
As long as your tenants are well you can carry out routine inspections and repairs as normal, while practising social distancing.
However, if your tenants are self-isolating you need to re-arrange any non-urgent checks or repair work for when the self-isolation is complete.
For urgent repairs or other legally required visits – like a gas safety inspection – you can carry them out with the permission of the tenant if you and any contractors are not symptomatic and practice social distancing.
Can I still get wedding insurance?
Many wedding insurers now have clauses excluding any problems relating to coronavirus. But you'd still be covered for other unforeseen circumstances.
Can I claim if I have to cancel my wedding due to coronavirus?
Only if your policy was taken out before the pandemic hit and providers started excluding it from cover.
Some insurers won’t cover any cancellation claims as a result of any notifiable diseases – which coronavirus is now classed as.
You won’t be covered if you’re self-isolating or can’t travel due to restrictions either.
If the venue cancels, or a supplier fails to deliver, you should be covered as well because it’s outside of your control.
My wedding abroad was cancelled – can wedding guests get a refund?
Whether your guests can get a refund or not depends on if they have travel insurance. And, if they do, when they bought the policy and its terms and conditions around travel cancellations due to the pandemic.
If your wedding was due to take place somewhere that the FCDO has subsequently advised not to travel to, your wedding guests should be covered for cancellation. That’s assuming they have their own travel insurance policies with disruption cover, and they bought their insurance before the FCDO advice was given.
Guests that don’t have travel insurance can get in touch with their travel agent or tour operator for advice.
Will income protection or ASU cover pay out if I can’t work due to coronavirus?
Yes, these policies are designed to replace a portion or your earnings if you can’t work due to illness or injury or are made redundant, within the terms and conditions of your policy. The pay outs usually last until either you can return to work or the policy runs out – whichever comes first.
There’s usually a minimum amount of time you’d have to be off sick for to get a pay out though – that can be as short as four weeks or as long as 12 months, so it’s unlikely to cover a period of self-isolation or confirmed coronavirus.
There’s often a waiting period before pay outs start too. That means you won’t get your pay out for anywhere between 30 days and 12 months after you’ve made a claim, depending on what you chose when you took the policy out.
Will income protection or ASU insurance pay out if I self-isolate?
No, not unless you’ve been advised to by a medical professional. Self-isolation that hasn’t been medically recommended won’t be covered, unless your symptoms are extreme and last longer than the minimum sickness period outlined in your policy.
Can I still get income protection or ASU cover during the coronavirus outbreak?
A lot of insurers have stopped offering unemployment cover, but you can still get insurance that covers accident and sickness. As long as you’re signed off work by a medical professional, and for a period longer than the minimum term in your policy, you should be covered for injury or illness.
If you were hoping for cover for sickness due to coronavirus it’s unlikely you’d be able to claim. Most people recover in a matter of days, and your policy is unlikely to cover such short periods of illness. If you can claim, any pay out will be paid in line with your waiting period.
How can I top up my prepaid energy meter if I’m self-isolating?
Get in touch with your energy supplier to let them know if you’re ill with coronavirus or self-isolating as a precaution and you don’t have anyone to help you.
You may be able to nominate someone else to top up for you, have emergency funds added to your meter or receive a preloaded gas or electricity card in the post. You credit meter will not be disconnected during the outbreak.
Smart meter users should be able to top up by phone, mobile app or online.
For more information, take a look at the Citizens Advice website.
Could coronavirus impact me if I’m on a standard meter?
The government has said that no energy supplies will be cut off, and that all energy suppliers must provide support if you’re struggling financially, by offering payment breaks, for example.
Exactly what support is available depends on the supplier, so get in touch with yours if you need help.
What if there’s a power cut, or I have an urgent problem with my supply?
Contact your supplier straight away. Tell them what the problem is and let them know if you’re not well or self-isolating.
If a supplier needs to access your home, you’ll also need to declare if you’re ill or self-isolating. If it’s safe for the visit to go ahead, it can do so in line with social distancing guidelines.
Can I still switch energy suppliers?
You can, but if you need your meter switching, from prepayment or Economy 10 to a standard meter, for example, there might be a delay in getting this done if you’re self-isolating. The same goes for the installation of smart meters.
What help is available if I’m struggling with my mortgage?
Coronavirus-related mortgage payment holidays ended in June 2021, but if you're continuing to struggle, you should speak to your lender as soon as possible.
Your lender might be able to help you in other ways and should offer you tailored support.
But don't bury your head in the sand - get in touch with your mortgage lender to see how they can help you.
Can I still get a mortgage?
Yes, although some lenders aren’t offering certain types anymore, like tracker mortgages, so there might be a wider range of fixed-rate deals available.
Is coronavirus covered by critical illness cover?
No. Insurers have a list of conditions that they’ll cover and consider critical. coronavirus isn’t one of them. But, if you were to contract a secondary illness – pneumonia, for example – you might be covered. It depends on whether the secondary illness is considered a critical illness in your policy.
Get in touch with your insurer. There are minimum standards for critical illness cover set by the Association of British Insurers (ABI), and your insurer might be able to help you. It’ll be on a case-by-case basis though.
What about life insurance?
Thankfully, most people make a full recovery from coronavirus, but some people are dying. If you have a life insurance aspect to your cover, then most policies will pay out if this were to happen.
I want to take out a new policy, is there anything I need to know?
Quite a few insurers are asking new questions about any pre-existing symptoms or confirmed diagnosis of coronavirus – that applies to critical illness cover and life insurance. You might be asked if you have symptoms, are currently self-isolating or have tested positive.
You probably won’t be offered a policy until you’ve fully recovered from coronavirus, or any symptoms that are similar to coronavirus. Your offer will be deferred – most likely for three months.
The same goes if you plan to travel abroad against the latest FCDO advice, or if you’ve recently returned from a high-risk country.
All of these cases will be underwritten on a case-by-case basis. So, if an insurer chooses to defer your cover, how long that’s for will depend on your individual circumstances.
Will coronavirus affect my broadband and landline bills? What about my mobile phone plan?
The following major broadband and mobile providers have made commitments to help their customers during the coronavirus outbreak:
These providers have agreed to offer support if you’re struggling to pay your bill.
If you’re on a limited data broadband deal, the allowance cap will be removed so you’ll have unlimited broadband data.
Some providers are also offering more generous mobile and landline packages to help you stay connected. These new packages can include things like cheaper data boosts or free calls from your landline or mobile, for example.
If your broadband or landline connection goes wrong and can’t be fixed because you’re self-isolating, you’ll be offered alternative ways to communicate.
What help is available for loans, credit cards or overdrafts if I’m struggling to keep up with repayments because of coronavirus?
If you’re finding it difficult to repay personal loans and other forms of credit because of coronavirus, your lender should provide you with support - whether you’re struggling for the first time, or if you’ve already had support that’s ending soon.
Help may be available for loans, credit cards and overdrafts, but you’ll need to get in touch with your provider. These things won’t happen automatically.
Loan, credit card and store card payment holidays - Covid-related payment holidays have now ended for personal loans, credit cards and car finance. But you should be offered tailored support measures if you're still struggling. Be aware that any tailored support you're offered can appear on your credit report where future lenders can see it.
Overdrafts - Whether or not you've previously had help with your overdraft, your bank might be able to reduce or waive interest, or agree staged reductions in your overdraft limit.
Your lender should also support you to transfer your debt to a cheaper provider or alternative product if it would reduce your debt and make it easier to repay.
You won't be able to get help unless you ask - be honest with your bank about your situation and what measures you think could ease the pressure.
If you’re in financial difficulty, you should contact the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) for further guidance.