Insurers Split COVID Support For Home, Motor Customers

By Irene Madongo
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Law360, London (April 21, 2021, 6:30 PM BST) -- British insurers will make some temporary help measures for pandemic-hit policyholders forced to work at home into a permanent feature, but end some support for motorists as restrictions begin to lift.

The crisis assistance, which was brought in following government-enforced lockdowns, allowed home and car insurance customers flexibility with their policies, and was part of pledges to help clients, the Association of British Insurers, the sector's trade body, said on Tuesday.

The insurers said in October 2020 that policyholders forced to work from home do not need to update their home insurance cover until the end of December. The same applied to motor insurance customers, who had to drive to work rather than use public transportation because of the virus.  

But with many companies considering adopting flexible working for longer periods and restrictions now beginning to be lifted, insurers have reviewed the measures, the trade group said, and have therefore decided to make them permanent, with some exceptions.

"As many businesses and workers adapt to more permanent and flexible ways of working, continuing the pledge to support office-based workers will be of great help to many of the U.K.'s 17 million home insurance customers," Laura Hughes, the trade body's manager of general insurance policy, said.

For motor insurance clients, some COVID-19 measures will continue. For example, policyholders using their own cars for voluntary purposes, such as to help people hit by the virus, will continue to be covered at no extra cost by most trade body members, the association said. But it urged volunteer drivers to check their individual policies as some insurers may wish to be informed.

Motorists will need to check that their insurance cover is appropriate for their needs as travel to workplaces becomes more routine, the trade body said.

Policyholders will also need to contact their insurers if there are ongoing changes to their driving activities since they signed up for the cover, the association added.

"Insurers appreciate this may continue to be a difficult time for some customers and will be ready to discuss insurance cover, including options for those who may be experiencing financial hardship," the trade body said.

--Editing by Joe Millis.

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