In a bid to slow down the spread of the coronavirus, the Government has announced that UK residents must stay at home. Journeys out are restricted to the collection of essential food and medicine, to assist vulnerable people, commuting for essential workers and for exercise.
Restrictions which temporarily close certain businesses have also been imposed which has led to concerns about access to breakdown services, MOT tests and cover for working from home.
Lee Griffin, founder and CEO of GoCompare commented, “None of us have ever experienced anything like this. The stricter self and social isolating measures announced by the Government to tackle the spread of the virus greatly restrict people’s work and activities and have implications for their insurance policies.
“The continuously changing situation has left many people confused and worried about how or whether they can use their cars and how working from home will impact on their home insurance. In a nutshell, insurers have automatically extended the cover of customers who are working from home because of self-isolation or Government advice, if their work is clerical. Likewise, policies of employees who are required to drive to work will not be affected, nor will the insurance of people using their own car to deliver medicines or groceries to support others.
“If you’re about to renew cover or buy a policy for the first time it is important to arrange cover suitable for your normal life – rather than the current restrictions. Otherwise, you will probably have to pay an increased premium and amendment fee for altering your insurance when life gets back to normal.”
Driving and car insurance
Driving should be limited to essential journeys as outlined by the Government. Legally, if your car is on the road, even if it’s just parked-up, it must be insured. So, car insurance is a bill you should continue to prioritise.
Drivers buying a new policy over the coming weeks should arrange cover based on their usual driving. So, if they would normally drive to work or use your car for business, then you need this to be covered – otherwise, you could be hit with a fee for adding cover later. Most policies (88%) contain a policy alteration fee, on average1 this works out at £28, but could be as much as £62.
Similarly, drivers tempted to save money by reducing their existing cover to reflect their reduced driving need to be aware of the charges and they could take a double hit if they remove and then subsequently re-add cover at a later date.
Customers with policies coming-up for renewal shouldn’t let their policy renew without first checking to see if they can get better deal. Comparison websites such as GoCompare make this a quick and easy job and you could save up to £256 by shopping around.2 Typically, it’s more cost-effective to pay for your insurance in one payment rather than a monthly direct debit. People who can’t make a single annual payment should consider using a 0% credit card.
The Government has now confirmed that private vehicle owners will be granted a 6-month exemption from MOT testing.
All cars, vans and motorcycles which usually would require an MOT test will be exempted from needing a test from 30 March 2020. Vehicles must be kept in a roadworthy condition, and garages will remain open for essential repair work. Drivers can be prosecuted if driving unsafe vehicles.
Drivers will still need to get their vehicle tested until the new regulations come into place. If you cannot get an MOT that’s due because you’re in self-isolation, the Department for Transport is working with insurers and the police to ensure people are not unfairly penalised for things out of their control.
Normally, the penalty for not having an MOT is up to a £1,000 fine. The only exceptions are to drive it to or from somewhere to be repaired or to a pre-arranged MOT test. If your MOT is due now and you are self-isolating/in quarantine you can get someone else to take it to be tested – but they must be insured to drive your car.
Drivers with breakdown cover should still be able to access roadside assistance from their provider. Recovery companies are still currently operating but motorists should check their provider’s website for any updated procedures or advice.
Cancelling insurance and SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification)
Drivers wanting to keep a car off the public road and stop paying and tax and insurance need to make a SORN, or face an £80 fine for having an uninsured car. Be aware, most insurers will charge a policy cancellation fee. Depending1 on the policy, fees range from £11 to £225, the average fee is £58.
Clerical work from home, due to Government restrictions or self-isolation should now automatically be covered by standard home insurance policies. However, if you receive business visitors while working from home, you should check with your insurer to see if any restrictions apply. Your home insurance is unlikely to cover any business equipment, such as a laptop. Typically, employers are liable for ensuring their equipment is insured away from the office.
Most standard home insurance policies do not provide cover for the costs of cleaning a property – even if it is contaminated by COVID-19.
Home insurance customers who, as a result of being quarantined or unable to travel home from abroad, have left their property unoccupied for longer than the timescale set out in their policy need to contact their insurer for advice.
For further information please contact:
Anders Nilsson or Louisa Marsden at GoCompare on 01633 654 054 / 01633 655 132
Gordon, Jason or Liz at MAW Communications on 01603 505 845
Keep up-to-date with GoCompare on Twitter; @GoCompare
Notes to editors
- Defaqto Matrix of 371 comprehensive car insurance policies (19 March 2020) - instant and unbiased market and competitor intelligence, from independent financial researcher Defaqto. Percentages are rounded up to the nearest whole number.
- Car insurance: According to independent research from Consumer Intelligence conducted between 1 October to 31 October 2019, 51% could save up to £256 with GoCompare Car Insurance.
GoCompare is a comparison website that enables people to compare the costs and features of a wide variety of insurance policies, financial products and energy tariffs.
GoCompare does not charge people to use its services, and it does not accept advertising or sponsored listings, so all product comparisons are unbiased. GoCompare makes its money through fees paid by the providers of products that appear on its various comparison services when a customer buys through the site.
When it launched in 2006, it was the first comparison site to focus on displaying policy details rather than just listing prices, with the aim of helping people to make better-informed decisions when buying their insurance. GoCompare has remained dedicated to helping people choose the most appropriate products rather than just the cheapest, and has teamed up with Defaqto, the independent financial researcher, to integrate additional policy information into a number of its insurance comparison services. This allows people to compare up to an extra 30 features of cover.
GoCompare is the only comparison website to be invited to join the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).