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COVID-19 HOME INSURANCE QUESTIONS ANSWERED.

Amy Payne, Marketing Executive, TMA

Many of us have been working from home since the start of the initial lockdown in March 2020, but little did we know we would still be working from home and in ANOTHER lockdown almost 12 months on. With this is in mind, ABI have released some useful Q&A’s relating to Home Insurance and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Will my customer’s home insurance policy be affected if they have not told their insurer that they’re working from home?

If your customer is an office-based worker and is working from home as a result of the pandemic, their home insurance cover will not be affected. They do not need to contact their insurer to update their documents or extend their cover. For anything over and above clerical or office work, customers should contact their insurer to discuss their specific insurance requirements.

If your customer is able to return to work, but is choosing to work from home more often, then they may need to inform their insurer that their pattern of work has changed. They can check their policy documents, and if they are still unsure then check with their insurer.

If they will be receiving visitors to their home on business matters, they should check with their insurer. In some cases, there may be some restrictions in cover, such as loss of money and theft being excluded, unless there is evidence of forcible and violent entry to the property.

Business equipment used (e.g. laptop) is likely not to be covered. However, in most cases the employer would be liable for ensuring their equipment is insured away from the office

My customer is renewing their home insurance and plans to work from home on a more regular basis from now on. Do they need to inform their insurer?

For office based workers, insurers waived the need to inform them of working from home during lockdown, but if they are planning to work from home on a more regular basis such as once a week, or they have visitors to their home on business matters, they may need to inform their insurer.

My customer’s property has suffered damage (from a fire, flood or other named peril) and it’s uninhabitable. They are self-isolating, so will their insurer help them find alternative accommodation?

Insurers’ priority is the safety of their customers and the wider community. Insurers will continue to provide cover for customers as promised in the policy – including funding the cost of alternative accommodation – whilst acting in accordance with the UK Government’s advice at that time.

It is vitally important that your customer contacts their insurer to discuss their claim further, as each one will be managed on a case-by-case basis to ensure that customer interests are best protected.

Does my customer need to continue to make regular visits to their unoccupied home if it is against government guidance?

Given the Government guidance to avoid non-essential travel during the lockdown period, domestic insurers are keen to take practical steps to support customers and therefore have waived the requirement for individuals to check on their home regularly if they are unable to do so, as long as the property is suitably secure. This includes second homes and unoccupied homes where renovations are taking place.

A friend or relative is staying with my customer during the lockdown period. Will this affect their home insurance?

Insurers will take a pragmatic approach to additional visitors that may be staying with your cutomer during the lockdown period, as specified by Government. Insurers understand that some individuals may require additional care and help during these unprecedented times and will not require your customer to contact them to advise that they shave additional long-stay guests. This advice is subject to change depending on the length of time that Government require the current social distancing requirements.

Remember it may be that some claims for theft will only be accepted if there is evidence of a break-in, so your customer should fully trust the person they’re allowing to stay in their home for free. They should keep their home protected by showing their guest how to ensure the property is secure, where the stopcock is, and any other information that they may need to know.

My customer has a guest staying with them during Coronavirus lockdown, will their possessions be covered while they stay with them?

If your customer’s guest has their own home insurance policy, this may cover their possessions away from home while they are temporarily staying there. There may be a limit to the cover provided, so they should check their policy wording. If your customer’s home insurance policy includes ‘Visitor cover’ this will often cover their guests’ possessions, up to a limit, while they are staying with them.

Will home insurance cover the cost of a deep clean to my customer’s property should it become contaminated by COVID-19?

Most standard home insurance policies do not provide cover for the costs of cleaning a property.

Share these Q&A’s with your customers to ensure they are fully aware of how their policy is affected during COVID-19.

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Source: https://www.abi.org.uk/products-and-issues/topics-and-issues/coronavirus-hub/home-insurance/?timeout=s