British insurance firms have agreed to extend measures designed to help customers during the Covid-19 crisis, a leading trade body has confirmed. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) says providers will continue to honour concessions made to drivers when lockdown was first introduced at the end of March.
Back then, insurance companies promised to cover customers forced to drive to and from their workplaces as a result of the pandemic, even if commuting was not part of their insurance policy. Such customers do not need to contact their insurer or amend their cover in any way.
Insurers also changed their rules so drivers using their own car for voluntary purposes, such as transporting medicines or groceries to support people impacted by Covid-19, remain covered without needing to contact their insurance provider. This applies to all kinds of NHS Volunteer Responders, including those transporting patients, equipment or other essential supplies.
Although the measures do not constitute direct financial aid for customers, the ABI says it hopes the support package, which will now stay in place until December 31, 2020, will help customers navigate the current situation.
At the same time, the ABI has also confirmed insurers will continue to allow customers to work from home. Just like car insurance customers, there is no need for affected consumers to contact their insurer and inform them of the change in circumstances.
“The extension of these temporary pledges underlines the commitment of insurers to helping customers through these continued challenging times,” said the ABI’s manager for general insurance, Laura Hughes. “From pledges of extra support, paying over £1.8 billion in Covid-related claims, and donating through the Covid-19 Support Fund over £100 million to help the most vulnerable, insurers continue to do all they can to help their customers and wider society during the crisis.”
The news comes as the government imposes new ‘lockdown’ measures on various parts of the UK. With coronavirus cases on the rise, particularly in the north-west of England, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has introduced a three-tier alert hierarchy across the country.
At present, Liverpool and surrounding areas are the only regions in the highest ‘Very High’ alert level, which forbids households mixing indoors or in gardens, while pubs and bars are being forced to close. Much of north-west England, as well as parts of north-east England and Midlands are now in the ‘High’ alert stage, meaning households cannot mix indoors, but businesses can continue to operate. The rest of the country is in the lowest ‘Medium’ alert level, with limited social interaction indoors and ‘the rule of six’.
So far, government data shows more than 43,000 people have died within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test, while more than 630,000 people have now tested positive for the virus since it was first detected early this year.