Coronavirus (COVID-19) help and support

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is affecting all of us in a variety of ways, and we know that customers are concerned about multiple elements of the Coronavirus pandemic. These are unprecedented times for us and for you, and we appreciate your cooperation as we find the best ways to protect and assist customers. We're getting a lot of calls right now and wait times are very long, so please don't phone unless it's absolutely necessary.

Please be reassured that we're doing everything we can to keep you updated on how Coronavirus (COVID-19) affects your business, landlord and van insurance policies. Many of your questions can be answered by our FAQs below. Additionally, both the Government and NHS have FAQ pages which offer further guidance and support. Stay safe.

General

  • Q What if I can't afford to pay for my policy?

    If you're having financial difficulties, we can review your levels of cover, change your payment dates or offer a payment deferral.

    A payment deferral means putting off your payments for a short period. When you start paying again, the amount that has been "missed" gets spread over the remainder of the agreement.

    We will not charge any additional interest to you so the total payable won't increase as a result.

    Payment deferrals should only be used when absolutely necessary, the full credit agreement balance will still be due, but will be paid for over a shorter period.

    Agreed payment deferrals will not have a negative impact on your credit score.

    What should I do next?

    If you're struggling financially then please call us and we'll see what we can do to help. Don't cancel any payments or direct debits through your bank as this can affect your policy with us.

    For free and impartial money advice, please refer to the Money Advice Service's 'Money Navigator Tool' at https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/tools/money-navigator-tool, the Business Debtline at https://www.businessdebtline.org or visit https://www.fca.org.uk/consumers/dealing-financial-difficulties-coronavirus for advice on dealing with financial difficulties through Coronavirus.

  • Q Can I remove covers from my policy?

    You can remove covers on your policy provided they are not deemed by us as a core cover and you haven't made any claim(s) in the current period of insurance. This can be done by giving us notice on the phone. We will refund any premium paid for the remaining period of your insurance contract, and no administration fees will be charged. However, to ensure you do not remove any covers essential to your needs, please contact us to discuss your policy.

    Equally, if you need to make any amendments to your policy, no administration fees will be charged.

    If you're facing difficulty paying for your cover, we may be able to help you in other ways. Please speak to us as soon as possible as it gives us the best chance of providing support.

  • Q Can I freeze my insurance policy?

    We're not able to freeze policies, but we can offer payment options if you find that you can't pay for your policy this month. Please get in touch with us as soon as possible to discuss the options available.

    For example, we may be able to support you by:

    • Reviewing your levels of cover
    • Changing your payment date
    • Offering a payment deferral

    A payment deferral means putting off your payments for a short period. When you start paying again, the amount that has been "missed" gets spread over the remainder of the agreement.

    We will not charge any additional interest to you so the total payable won't increase as a result.

    Payment deferrals should only be used when absolutely necessary, the full credit agreement balance will still be due, but will be paid for over a shorter period.

    Agreed payment deferrals will not have a negative impact on your credit score.

    If you have closed your business temporarily, we have waived our cancellation fees during this pandemic, allowing you to cancel your policy without charges. When you’re back up and running, you can take out a new policy with us.

    What should I do next?

    If you're struggling financially then please call us and we'll see what we can do to help. Don't cancel any payments or direct debits through your bank as this can affect your policy with us.

    For free and impartial money advice, please refer to the Money Advice Service's 'Money Navigator Tool' at https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/tools/money-navigator-tool, the Business Debtline at https://www.businessdebtline.org or visit https://www.fca.org.uk/consumers/dealing-financial-difficulties-coronavirus for advice on dealing with financial difficulties through Coronavirus.

  • Q What if I need to renew my policy?

    You can still renew your policy with us, but as our phone lines are busy at the moment there may be a longer wait time. If your policy is on automatic renewal and if there are no changes you don't need to do anything.

  • Q What if I need to claim for something unrelated to COVID-19?

    If your claim is urgent please call us, alternatively you can start some claims online, so please visit our claims page to find out more.

  • Q What do I need to consider before reopening my business?

    Here are some things to think about relating to your return to business, ahead of lockdown restrictions easing:

    • Consult and follow the recommended Government guidelines for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
    • How will you implement social distancing requirements for staff and visitors to your business premises?
    • Utilise PPE, shielding, additional hand washing facilities and restricted access to keep everyone safe
    • Consider your contingency plan if employees display symptoms e.g. temporarily suspend trading or conduct deep clean
    • Ensure all employees are aware of any changes to safe system of work and changes are documented
    • Has equipment/machinery been idle for a period of time? What needs to be done to ensure safe operation?
    • Document additional staff re-training

    We've outlined further safety measures for reopening your business here (information is based on guidance for England).

  • Q Where can I find more information on the Financial Conduct Authority's Business Interruption test case?

    The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has commenced a test case in the High Court to determine how some insurance policies, which do not require damage to property, react to Business Interruption claims resulting from losses due to Covid-19. Once the hearing is concluded, a Court ruling will be made. Direct Line for Business standard policies are not affected by the outcome of the test case. The FCA website has useful information on the topic of COVID-19 and business interruption insurance which will be kept up to date on developments.

Frequently asked questions for...

  • Q My B&B/guest house has no new bookings and existing bookings are being cancelled in light of Coronavirus (COVID-19). Will my insurance cover me for this loss of income?

    Our commercial policies cover a range of specified diseases. However, we don't provide cover for losses or interruption caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

    For the latest information on the Government support available to small businesses please see here.

    Our business insurance policies include access to a 24/7 stress counselling helpline, provided on our behalf by DAS Legal. Both you and your employees can use this service You can find out how to use this service on page 1 of your policy documents.

  • Q I'm still trading but now offering food delivery/takeaway service, am I covered?

    If you're able to maintain staffing levels for kitchen services without breaching any self-isolation requirements and can comply with Government requirements, we'll cover you throughout the pandemic to deliver your goods to your customers or operate as a takeaway. You don't need to tell us that you're doing this.

    You'll need to follow the specific directions and safety measures set out by the Government, for example, ensuring suitable personal distancing precautions are being taken if you are delivering items. You may also need to check with your motor insurance provider to check you're covered to use your vehicle for business deliveries.

Our rent guarantee cover is an extension of our legal expenses cover. Claims are administered and managed by DAS Legal on our behalf so to stay up-to-date with the latest information and support available during this time, please visit their FAQ page.

  • Q Can I claim on my rent guarantee cover if my tenant stops paying due to COVID-19?

    We are currently in unprecedented times as the impact of COVID-19 spreads through all aspects of the UK economy. In response to the spread of COVID-19, the Government amended the law on the 23rd March so that no tenant would be evicted for a period of three months. The Government extended this period so no tenant will be evicted until the 20th September.

    Our rent guarantee cover is an extension of our legal expenses cover. It covers the unpaid rent required by the tenancy agreement. It is contingent on several factors being established, one of which being the landlords' individual prospects of succeeding in legally regaining possession of their property. The latest announcement from the Government on 21st August states that the court service will suspend all ongoing housing possession action until the 20th September. The Government is also intending to change the requirements for landlords to undertake before they can apply for a possession hearing. The Government's announcements mean that all repossession actions will fail during this period and there is no legal mechanism to assess the prospects of success of a claim during the same period.

    As a result of the change to the law and the suspension of the usual legal mechanism used to process claims, we have implemented a new claims process to assist our customers during this unprecedented period. If your tenant is struggling to pay their rent please notify DAS as soon as possible by calling 0345 878 5024. DAS are providing additional support to landlords during this period and early notification of any potential claims will allow DAS to support you ahead of the Government re-establishing the legal process. For further information please visit the DAS FAQ page.

    We are offering landlords additional support so they can help their tenants during this uncertain period. These measures include digital templates for payment plans and our legal advice helpline will continue to be available throughout this period. Our landlord customers can use this service by visiting www.dasbusinesslaw.co.uk and entering the code found on page 3 of your policy documents, or calling 0345 878 5024 (lines are open 24/7, but if you require specialist advice this will take place between 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday, excluding public and bank holidays). If you experience any problems accessing the service, please email details to businesslaw@das.co.uk with your policy number in the subject box.

  • Q What if I already have a repossession and rent guarantee claim underway, will that continue to be paid?

    If your claim has already been accepted and you are in receipt of rent guarantee payments, these will continue to be paid during the pandemic. For discussion on individual claims, you will need to contact the rent guarantee claims team on 0345 878 5024.

  • Q Given the current Government legislation regarding evictions, can I remove rent guarantee cover from my policy?

    In response to the spread of COVID-19, the Government has extended the initial three month suspension period for evictions, this period will now be in force until the 20th September. Because of the change to the law, we cannot pay any new rent guarantee claims as there is no legal mechanism to process a claim. Once this extended period has ended, and providing the Government re-establishes the legal process, we will be able to progress with the claim as per the policy guidelines.

    The Government have confirmed that as part of the new legal process they are intending to amend the pre-action protocols for all housing possessions, meaning that there are currently undefined new requirements for landlords to undertake before they can apply to court for a possession hearing. As a result, the law may change again.

    Our rent guarantee cover is an extension of our legal expenses cover. In the meantime, we (along with DAS, who administer claims on our behalf) are supporting landlords by issuing new tools to enable them to work with tenants to agree compromises and payment plans. This follows the spirit of the Government's recommendations and may help to establish a solution without the need for legal action. This should also help our customers to demonstrate that they have complied with likely future Governmental pre-action protocol requirements. When the full legal details of this have been released we will update our tools to ensure detailed legal compliance.

    Should you still wish to remove rent guarantee cover from your policy, we will be happy to assist. However, should you do this, please note that once the new legal process is in place you will not be eligible to submit any new claims for rent arrears.

    In addition, we have taken the decision to temporarily halt all sales of new rent guarantee cover until the Government re-establishes the legal process. Therefore, should you choose to remove rent guarantee from your policy, you will not currently be able to add this back on at a later date.

  • Q What additional support are you offering landlords during this pandemic?

    Our landlord customers are able to obtain the latest legal advice throughout the COVID-19 pandemic by contacting our legal advice helpline, meaning you can speak to a qualified legal advisor for no extra charge. You can use this by calling 0345 878 5024 (lines are open 24/7, but if you require specialist advice this will take place between 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday, excluding public and bank holidays).

    Customers also have access to additional support, such as temporary payment plan templates to help you help tenants who have seen a reduction in income. You can find these and other helpful templates at www.dasbusinesslaw.co.uk by entering the code found on page 3 of your policy documents. If you experience any problems accessing the service, please email details to businesslaw@das.co.uk with your policy number in the subject box.

  • Q I'm self-isolating but my tenant has asked me to fix something that's broken, will my insurance cover me to send a contractor round?

    Landlords who have selected Landlord Emergency cover have access to a 24-hour claims line which will send out a certified contractor to secure or prevent further damage to the property. Contractors covered include drainage engineers, electricians, glaziers, locksmiths, plumbers, pest control, roofers, gas and heating engineers and general trades people.

    Our Landlord Emergency insurance will cover call-out charges, the costs for labour and materials up to £1,500 per claim, with policy-holders able to make as many claims as they need. Furthermore, tenants are able to make a claim and have an emergency dealt with on behalf of the landlord, saving time and potentially further damage.

  • Q How can I carry out right to rent checks when we're being advised to self-isolate or practice social distancing?

    The legislation on right to rent process has not changed. The guidance requires you to copy certain documents and ensure that any photo ID matches the likeness of the holder. You will need to adopt social distancing in order to carry out this task in line with Government recommendations.

Van insurance refunds

We know that many customers were driving their vans less because of lockdown. Your insurance premium is partially based upon your estimated mileage, so if you were not on the road as much, your mileage will have reduced.

If you expect your annual mileage to reduce by at least 1,000 miles, use this form to let us know, as you may be eligible to receive a refund from us.

Remember though, even if you’re not driving your van, it’s a legal requirement for your vehicle to be insured, unless it has been registered with a SORN and is declared 'off the road' with the DVLA. You can find more information here.

Please see our FAQs for more information:

General van insurance FAQs

  • Q I'm volunteering for the NHS to help with the COVID-19 pandemic and using my van. Do I need to let you know?

    No, you don’t need to contact us to extend your cover or update your documents if:

    • You are volunteering for the NHS voluntary service
    • You are using your vehicle for unpaid voluntary work, such as transporting medicines or groceries to support people affected by COVID-19
  • Q My occupation has changed, am I still covered on my van insurance?

    If your occupation or employment status has permanently changed, you must tell us to ensure you have the correct cover in place.

    If it has temporarily changed for the period of the COVID-19 pandemic, you don't need to tell us and you will automatically be covered to drive your vehicle to various places of work, regardless of whether or not your employer has changed, unless:

    • You are working as a chauffeur, courier or driver (except when you are using your vehicle for voluntary work, i.e. transporting medicines or groceries to support people affected by
      COVID-19, in which case you are covered)
    • You work in the motor trade
    • You are being paid to deliver goods that are not owned by you or your employer.

    In these cases, we can only insure your van for social, domestic and pleasure (SDP) purposes. If you require additional cover, please seek specialist insurance through a different provider or through your employer.

  • Q My van MOT is expiring/has expired, but I cannot get a new one as my local garage is closed. Will my insurance still be valid?

    The Department for Transport has issued a six-month extension to all MOTs due for expiry from 30th March. Please take the time to carry out basic vehicle checks such as checking tyre pressure, water levels, ensuring oil and windscreen liquid are at the correct levels and that lights work - your safety is paramount. More details can be found here.