Home Insurance and COVID-19 - What You Need to Know

Posted 30 March 2020 by Katie Sakka

The ABI (Association of British Insurers) is reassuring people that its home insurance members are offering enhanced help and support to all their customers who may be affected by the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

This means that if you are an office-based worker and need to work from home because of government advice or because you need to self-isolate, your home insurance cover will not be affected.

You do not need to contact your insurer to update your documents or extend your cover.

Commonly Asked Questions

Will my home insurance policy be affected if I have not told my insurer that I'm working from home?

  • Working from home, due to the need to self-isolate should be covered by standard home insurance policies, assuming that the work is clerical in nature. 
  • If individuals are working from home and 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. 
  • The 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.

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

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

My property has suffered damage (from a fire, flood or other named peril) and it’s uninhabitable. I am self-isolating, so will my insurer help me 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 you contact your insurer to discuss your claim further, as each one will be managed on a case-by-case basis to ensure that customer interests are best protected.

I have been quarantined or am unable to travel from abroad and therefore my home may be left unoccupied for over the 30 or 60 day limit on my policy. Will I be covered? 

Insurers will be taking a pragmatic approach to individuals who are quarantined or stuck abroad and are unable to return to their property within the timescales set out in their policy. However, individuals should contact their insurer to obtain advice on this issue.

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

Insurers will take a pragmatic approach to additional visitors that may be staying with you 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 you to contact them to advise that you have 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 make sure you fully trust the person you’re allowing to stay in your home for free. Keep your home protected by showing your house guest how to ensure the property is secure, where the stopcock is, and any other information that they may need to know.

I have a guest staying with me during Coronavirus lockdown, will their possessions be covered while they stay with me?

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

After urging insurers to make coverage allowances outside of terms and conditions, The Bank of England's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) offers further general insurance advice to that of the ABI saying:

Renewing your insurance policy

If your insurance is due for renewal, contact your insurer to discuss in good time.  It may be that, after renewal, the policy will no longer cover claims due to coronavirus.

Product suspension

We’re aware that some insurance firms are considering or have stopped selling new insurance policies to customers. We are not able to prevent firms from removing or amending products from the market for new customers as it is a decision for individual insurers. If you are looking for insurance, we suggest you speak directly to an insurer or insurance broker and ensure you buy insurance that fits with your demands and needs. 

Unable to pay your monthly premium

If you’ve bought an insurance policy and are paying the premiums in monthly instalments, this is known as ’premium finance’. If for any reason, you are, or will be, in financial difficulty, contact your insurer in the first instance and explain your situation.  In some instances, the insurer may refer the consumer to the credit broker.

Content © ABI FCA

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