Your Personal Insurance – 3 important considerations as you adapt to a new normal
On 20 March 2020 the Association of British Insurers (ABI) released a statement advising that their motor and home insurance members that they were committed to offer help and support to all their customers affected by Coronavirus – including home workers, key workers or those taking on additional duties such as volunteering in the community.
Fast forward to the present day and from 1st August 2020, a new phase in the UK Government strategy to ease restrictions from the lockdown period in many regions of the UK has begun, switching the emphasis from ‘working from home’ where possible, to ‘return to work’ where possible. This change means you may need to check your personal insurances to make sure those changes and whatever the ‘new normal’ looks like is taken into consideration with the protection you have with those insurance policies.
Griffiths & Armour have an established Private Clients team, looking after many of our clients personal insurance requirements so we asked the team to provide some guidance on some frequently asked questions, including discussing the points that were issued as temporary blanket extensions to cover.
Here are the top 3 questions that the team have been asked and the guidance they have provided;
1. Do I need to inform your insurer if I am returning to the office?
The future of working remotely has changed drastically in the past four months, with up to 25% planning to continue home working, either temporarily, or on a more permanent basis. Initially, support was offered to all office-based workers who needed to work from home and policyholders were informed that their household insurance would not be affected, and insurers did not need to be notified.
At the beginning of the lockdown period, 60% of adults were found to be working from home. As Government advice shifts, many office employers have given staff the choice of returning to the office or continuing to work from home for the foreseeable future if staff are unable, or uncomfortable, to return.
Under most household policies, the customer should let their insurer know about a change in circumstances – even if this is working from home. Although burglary has decreased in the past four months due to higher occupation of the home, accidental damage claims, DIY mishaps and home fires have increased. Some polices allow for office/clerical work as part of their standard wording whereas others refer to occasional work or make no reference at all – meaning that insurance could be invalidated if home working is not discussed with insurers, especially if working involves visitors to the home. The author’s own insurance notes occasional clerical work being allowed, but on speaking to the insurer, an endorsement with an associated small additional premium has been made for ongoing regular home working.
For those with second and holiday homes insured under their policies, insurers had also waived the requirement for properties to be regularly checked, if they were suitably secure. However, these inspections will need to either be restarted, or insurers consulted about the ongoing issues.
2. Does my Motor Insurance cover me as a key worker and/or employee returning to the office?
Although many people did not use their car for a few months earlier this year, others used their cars whilst volunteering, shopping for others, getting prescriptions or becoming NHS Volunteer Responders. Similarly to household cover, insurers gave support to these people by extending the cover on motor policies so that if the use of the car changed, Insurers did not have to prepare an endorsement for the cover. This included key workers using their cars while public transport was limited or suspended.
Going forward, anyone continuing to volunteer, or key workers continuing to use their own cars, will need to check their cover and speak to insurers to update this if required. If you are an employee returning and choosing to drive to work rather than using public transport, you will need to check that your insurance covers commuting to and from work.
The government also extended all MOT certificates that were due between 30 March and 31 July, by six months. However, those due on 1 August and beyond are not extended, and you should ensure that your test is completed in order to legally remain on the road.
3. What will my Travel Insurance policies cover?
Insurances purchased after 5 March are unlikely to include cover for Covid related events. However, most travel policies should cover you for any Covid-related emergency medical treatment that you may need overseas. It is strongly recommended that you confirm the position with your insurer.
If you travel to a country where the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has already advised against all but essential travel, you may not have any cover under your insurance policy. If the guidance changes while you are abroad, your policy may cover you in order to curtail your trip.
If you have already booked a holiday, it is important that you check your cancellation rights as many companies are now offering risk free bookings. If travelling in Europe, ensure your EHIC is valid, and with you. You should never have to pay for one of these, but they do expire. Travel insurance does not cover you if you choose not to travel, but it should offer cover if a member of your party is against travelling. Once again, we advise that enquiries should initially be directed through your travel agent.
If you are a Griffiths & Armour client who has a question about your personal insurances and policies or have any questions on the contents of this article, you can reach the Private Clients Team directly by sending your enquiry using the link below.
If you are interested in finding our more about how Griffiths & Armour can help with your personal insurance requirements through our Private Client proposition, please contact your usual Griffiths & Armour broker or click below to submit your enquiry.