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?

    We are aware of the impact of COVID-19 on many peoples' jobs and livelihoods. If you find that you can't pay for your cover this month, through no fault of your own, you should speak to us as soon as possible as it gives us the best chance of providing support.

    The UK Government has announced a range of financial measures to support individuals and businesses through the pandemic, and you can find more details on how to access this support here.

  • Q Can I remove non-essential covers from my policy?

    You can remove covers on your policy provided they are not deemed by us as a core cover. 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. Please note, you are only able to cancel your policy or remove a cover if you have not made any claim(s) in the current period of insurance.

    To ensure you do no remove any covers essential to your needs, please contact us to discuss your policy.

  • 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?

    We need to prioritise urgent claims and vulnerable customers, so if your claim is urgent please call us, but if your claim can be dealt with later please hold off for now. You can start some claims online, so please visit our claims page to find out more.

Business insurance

  • Q Can I claim on my business insurance for COVID-19?

    We're aware that our small business customers may have concerns in relation to the impact of COVID-19 on their business.

    Firstly, we advise all customers to follow the latest Government guidance.

    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).

    Our small business customers have access to a legal advice helpline through their Direct Line business cover. Customers with questions relating to their legal obligations in relation to their commercial contracts for example, can seek advice through the helpline. Please refer to your policy documents for contact details.

    In addition, the UK Government has announced a range of financial measures to support businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic. Follow this link for more details on how to access this support.

  • Q If I'm self-employed and have to self-isolate, will my insurance cover my time off work?

    Self-isolation, the inability or the reduced ability to work as a result of COVID-19, is not covered under our business interruption insurance.

    For additional information on how different policies respond to the COVID-19 please refer to the Association of British Insurers' website.

    In addition, the UK Government has announced a range of financial measures to support businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic. Follow this link for more details on how to access this support.

  • Q Can I claim on my business insurance if the Government enforce a mandatory shutdown?

    Our business interruption policies have a standard policy extension to cover losses arising from the closure of the premises due to "disease", however, the extension applies to specified diseases and we don't provide cover for losses or interruption caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

  • 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.

  • Q Will my business insurance cover the cost of sanitising my business premises if required?

    Our commercial policies cover a range of specified diseases. However, they will not cover the costs of cleaning or sanitising business premises as a result of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

  • Q Is it possible to add business interruption cover to my existing policy?

    Yes, although please note that our business interruption policies do not cover for interruption or loss as a result of Coronavirus (COVID-19). For further information and to get a quote please click here.

  • Q My policy includes an extension for 'denial of access', will this cover me if the Government forces a mandatory business closure?

    The 'denial of access' extension requires physical damage to the business premises. It will not cover interruption or loss as a result of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

    The UK Government has announced a range of financial measures to support businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic. Follow this link for more details on how to access this support.

  • Q My policy includes an extension for 'closure' by a competent authority, will this cover me if the Government forces a mandatory business closure?

    This relates to closure as a result of defective drains or other sanitary arrangements such as toilets/sinks, or the removal of vermin or pests. This extension will not cover interruption or loss as a result of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

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

  • Q My policy includes a 'Public Emergency extension' will this cover me if the Government forces a mandatory business closure?

    The Public Emergency extension specifically excludes any infectious or contagious disease. As such it will not provide cover for losses or interruption caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

    The UK Government has announced a range of financial measures to support businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic. Follow this link for more details on how to access this support.

  • Q What do I do if my premises becomes temporarily unoccupied due to COVID-19?

    The recent Government announcements mean more properties will be unoccupied for the next few weeks, and potentially beyond.

    With effect 24th March 2020 we are extending the period which a property can be temporarily unoccupied for. This period will increase to 90 consecutive days to cover businesses temporarily closing due to COVID-19. For any policyholders whose premises is going to be out of use for longer than 90 days, please notify us via phone.

    Any building left unoccupied naturally poses a greater insurance risk and we therefore need policyholders to take the following additional measures for the above extension to apply:

    • Where practical, turn off the gas, water and electricity supply at the mains (except electricity needed to maintain any fire or intruder alarm systems, or water and heating systems for sprinklered Premises).
    • Where possible, You or a responsible person acting on your behalf should visit once every 7 days to physically check the premises and carry out immediately any work necessary to maintain the security of the Premises.
    • Ensure any accumulations of combustible materials such as junk mail and newspapers are removed during each inspection of the Premises.
    • Remove all trade refuse and waste materials from the interior of the Premises, allowing no accumulation of refuse or waste in the adjoining yards or spaces owned by You.
    • Ensure that the Premises is secured by putting all protective, locking devices in place and any alarm protection is set and in effective operation. Where any other security measures are in place such as CCTV, ensure these remain in place and are monitored remotely, where possible.
    • Police response or alarm companies response to alarm activations should remain intact, but the reaction times may be significantly lower. Where Policyholders are made formally aware that services are to be reduced, this should be notified to us by phone.

    Where possible, you must:

    • Secure all stock, wines, spirits, tobacco and other theft-attractive items to secure locations.
    • Remove/dispose of any perishables as the closure of the premises may be for a period of months.
    • Keep an inventory of non-perishable items that remain stored at the premises.
    • Remove all stock of spirits from bars and displays and locked away in more secure areas.
    • Ensure that security arrangements are in place with any key-holder when an auto dialler alarm is installed at the premises, including any arrangements with landlords in relation to 'tenanted' locations. It can be expected that some 'live-in' arrangements will continue, even where the main premises are not in use.

    These conditions will continue to apply, unless otherwise agreed to be impractical due to COVID-19 Government-directed actions limiting or restricting the movement of people.

  • Q My employees are working from home due to recent Government guidance, will they still be covered by my employer's liability insurance policy?

    Yes, your employer's liability cover will extend to cover your employees while they are working from home during this period. You must ensure that everyone working from home is doing so in a safe manner.

  • Q Some of my employees have had to take work equipment home with them in order to work there. Will my insurance cover work equipment at my employees' homes?

    If you currently insure business contents and stock at your business premises, we will extend this cover to include these insured items while they are temporarily at your home or your employees home during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes business or electrical equipment, such as computers or laptops, that are needed at home to enable you (or them) to continue to work, or where stock has been taken home to fulfil deliveries or for safe storage.

    We will cover your business contents, electrical equipment and stock up to a maximum of 20% of the sum insured stated in your schedule or £10,000, whichever is the higher amount. This extension does not provide any additional cover in excess of the sum insured currently stated in your policy schedule. If you need to be covered for a higher amount, please contact us.

  • Q If I continue running my business from home during the lockdown, will my insurance still cover me?

    The Government have issued advice on which businesses and venues must remain closed and the exceptions that apply.

    If you are one of these businesses that is an exception and can remain trading from home, your insurance remains in place providing you 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, subject to our normal policy terms and conditions.

Landlord insurance

Our rent guarantee cover is an extension of our legal expenses cover, provided on our behalf by DAS Legal. 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 so that no tenant will be evicted during the next three months. During this period landlords are able to apply for a three-month payment holiday on their Buy to Let mortgages if necessary.

    Our rent guarantee cover is an extension of our legal expenses cover, provided on our behalf by DAS Legal. 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 27th March (after the Coronavirus Act) states that the court service will suspend all ongoing housing possession action, initially for 90 days. The Government is also intending to change the requirements for landlords to undertake before they can apply for a possession hearing. The combination of these two announcements means 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, we cannot pay any new rent guarantee claims as there is no legal mechanism to process a claim. Once this three-month 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. In the meantime, if you wish to discuss a potential claim or your options, please call
    0345 878 5024.

    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 DAS472301, 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 amended the law so that no tenant will be evicted during the next three months. During this period landlords can apply for a three-month payment holiday on their Buy to Let mortgages if necessary. 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 three-month 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, provided on our behalf by DAS Legal. In the meantime, we (along with DAS) 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 DAS472301. 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.

  • Q What do I do if my property becomes temporarily unoccupied due to COVID-19?

    The recent Government announcements mean more properties will be unoccupied for the next few weeks, and potentially beyond.

    With effect 24th March 2020 we are extending the period which a property can be temporarily unoccupied for. This period will increase to 90 consecutive days for both commercial and residential properties, to cover businesses temporarily closing due to COVID-19. For any policyholders whose premises is going to be out of use for longer than 90 days, please notify us via phone.

    Any building left unoccupied naturally poses a greater insurance risk and we therefore need policyholders to take the following additional measures for the above extension to apply:

    • Ensure that the Premises is secured by putting all protective, locking devices and any alarm protection in effective operation.
    • Where practical, turn off the gas, water and electricity supply at the mains (except electricity needed to maintain any fire or intruder alarm systems, or water and heating systems for sprinklered Premises).
    • Where possible, You or a responsible person acting on your behalf should visit once every 7 days to physically check the premises and carry out immediately any work necessary to maintain the security of the Premises.
    • Ensure any accumulations of combustible materials such as junk mail and newspapers are removed during each inspection of the Premises.
    • Remove all trade refuse and waste materials from the interior of the Premises, allowing no accumulation of refuse or waste in the adjoining yards or spaces owned by You.

    These conditions will continue to apply, unless otherwise agreed to be impractical due to COVID-19 Government-directed actions limiting or restricting the movement of people.

Tradesperson and van insurance