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 The Supreme Court has ruled that some Business Interruption policies must pay for losses due to Covid-19, does this mean that I am covered after all?

    Direct Line business insurance policies were not included in the FCA's test case and are not impacted by the outcome of The Supreme Court ruling on business interruption. Our standard commercial policies provide cover for business interruption for a list of specified diseases. In addition, any claim for denial of access requires there to have been physical damage to property in order for the policy to provide cover. As regards any potential claims for closure by a public authority there is an exclusion for infectious or contagious disease. Consequently, irrespective of the Supreme Court ruling, there is no cover for business interruption for the Covid-19 pandemic.

    The FCA website has useful information on the outcome of the FCA Test Case and Supreme Court ruling on Business Interruption.

  • 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 contact 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 contact 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 contact 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 contact 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).

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?

    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.

    If your tenant is struggling to pay their rent please notify DAS as soon as possible by calling 0345 878 5024. 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 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

Van insurance refunds in the UK National Lockdown between 23 March – 31 July 2020 (the "UK National Lockdown")

We know that many customers were driving their vans less during the UK National Lockdown earlier this year. So, for those customers who have not yet applied for a mileage refund for the UK National Lockdown but would like to, please use this form to let us know, as you may be eligible to receive a refund from us.

At present such refunds are not being considered for second the lockdown in England (5 November – 2 December 2020), the circuit breaker lockdown in Northern Ireland (16 October – 13 November 2020) or the Welsh circuit breaker lockdown (23 October – 9 November 2020), but we are constantly monitoring the situation.

Remember, 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 I am self-isolating or because my local garage is closed. Will my insurance still be valid?

    The Department for Transport issued a six-month extension for all MOTs due to expire between 30 March and 31 July 2020. If you fall within this category, please ensure that you obtain your MOT in accordance with the government guidelines and, in the interim, 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.

    If your MOT was, or is, due to expire after 31 July 2020, please refer to the government website for the most up-to-date guidelines. You can check the latest advice here.