British insurers commit to support customers during pandemic

27 March 2020   By Francine Carrel

Home and motor insurers have said they will help people through the Covid-19 crisis, publishing a list of commitments to their customers.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has said its motor and home insurance members will offer "enhanced help and support" to customers affected by Covid-19, including special help for key workers.

The body published a list of general commitments from ABI home and motor insurers:

  1. Support those who need to make a claim
  2. Support those who are working from home
  3. Support those who cannot work from home
  4. Support those who use their cars to help communities
  5. Support our key workers
man wearing a breathing mask

What does it mean?

The ABI went into a bit more detail on each list item:

  • Those who need to make a claim will be helped as quickly as possible, given the "challenging circumstances". Insurers will offer additional support to people in vulnerable circumstances.
  • Those working from home will not have to update their home insurance to reflect their change in circumstance.
  • Those who cannot wok from home and who have to drive into work won't have to update their car insurance to reflect this.
  • Those who use their cars to help their communities, for instance by volunteering to drive supplies to vulnerable people, will not have to update their car insurance to include the change in use.
  • Key workers, whose work is "critical to the national response to Covid-109", will not have to update their car insurance to reflect any new or differing work-related driving to do with the pandemic.
abi covid-19 commitments
What is a key worker?
Find the Government list of which people are key workers here.

How does this affect me?

If the Covid-19 virus means parts of an insurance policy could be called into question - for instance, whether a car is used for commuting, or how often someone is in a home - these commitments should ease uncertainties.

In a nutshell, temporary changes to work and home life caused by the pandemic should not make home and motor insurance policies invalid.

Is my insurer a member of the ABI?

Most household name insurers are members of the ABI. See the full list on the association's website.

Is insurance affected by the coronavirus crisis?

In some cases, yes. These commitments from the ABI follow Government advice on Covid-19 and insurance policies, which highlighted potential issues with travel, car and home insurance.

The advice mainly focused on travel insurance, as those are the policies most dramatically affected by the virus. But they also included potential problems caused by changes in driving habits and places of work.

While the Government issued advice to customers, it gave guidelines to insurers, who will be expected to be flexible during the pandemic.

The new ABI list seems to follow the Government guidance to businesses, as it focuses on fairness and understanding towards people affected by the Covid-19 crisis.

What else are businesses doing?

Lots of sectors are making temporary changes to help their customers during the pandemic.

Broadband providers Sky and Virgin Media, for instance, are giving free extras to their customers. BT are also bringing in initiatives including removing charges for out-of-call-plan services like landline and mobile calls, and capping any out-of-bundle charges at £5.

Energy suppliers are also moving to help vulnerable customer. All home energy providers in the UK have signed up to emergency measures designed to protect pre-payment customers from supply disruption.

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