Insurance claims and COVID 19 – Everything you need to know
Nobody enjoys dealing with property damage or insurance claims, but during a global pandemic, it’s only natural to feel like it’s almost an impossible task. At Action Insurance Repair, we’ve continued working during lockdown to ensure our clients get all the support they need when it comes to emergency repairs, insurance claims and even home renovations on empty properties.
We’ve decided to compile a list of the most common questions we are being asked regarding insurance repairs, insurance claims and what safety measurements should be implemented during this crisis. So, here goes!
Will Covid-19 affect the way my insurance claim is handled?
If your property were to suffer damage, whether it is caused by fire, flood or a storm, your insurer will, in most cases, appoint a loss adjuster to validate your claim. To do this, generally, loss adjusters need to visit the property to gather evidence and ask you any questions they deem relevant.
Because of the current restrictions, many insurers are now offering virtual visits, so that they can assess the damage to your property using a video link and images. This can be a good solution in some cases, but it can also cause complications. Fair settlements rely on very thorough inspections, and if the property damage is viewed remotely, there is a risk that some elements may be missed. This could lead to repair work not being scoped correctly, resulting in lower settlement offers from your insurance company.
To minimise these risks, consider seeking specialist advice before you accept your insurer’s assessment. Our team at Action Insurance Repair specialises in insurance repairs, and we work with a number of local loss assessors to make sure you have the best help throughout every step of your claim. A loss assessor will liaise and negotiate with your insurer on your behalf to ensure your claim is progressed as quickly as possible, and we will handle all the repairs to ensure you get your property – and your life! – back to normal without having to deal with the stress of it all.
Are contractors still permitted to carry out repairs?
Government guidance states that ’work carried out in people’s homes, for example by tradespeople carrying out repairs and maintenance, can continue, provided that the tradesperson is well and has no symptoms.’
This covers all work – not just essential or emergency work. However, it is crucial that tradespeople follow Public Health England guidelines including maintaining a two-metre distance from residents.
At Action Insurance Repair, we’ve implemented strict guidelines when it comes to social distancing and the use of PPE to ensure the safety of our team and clients.
Can emergency repair work still be carried out if I’m self-isolating?
If your home suffers serious damage that risks the safety of the household, emergency repairs can still be carried out if the tradesperson is willing to do so. In such cases, Public Health England can provide advice to tradespeople and households.
No work should be carried out in a household which is isolating because one or more family members has symptoms or where an individual has been advised to shield – unless it is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household.
When working in a household where somebody is clinically vulnerable, but has not been asked to shield, for example, the home of someone over 70, prior arrangements should be made with vulnerable people to avoid any face-to-face contact, for example, when answering the door.
I own a property that is now unoccupied because either myself or my tenant had to move out as a result of the damage. Can you come out to conduct a survey?
Absolutely. In fact, if the property is empty it makes it easier for us not only to do the survey, but to conduct any work you need doing to it – be it emergency repairs or even renovation work!
My insurer has told me to find my own contractor – how can I make sure they have the right skills for the job?
As with any business, there are good, and not so good tradespeople out there. During this pandemic, you might find that there is a reduced number of contractors available to carry out specialist repair work, so tread carefully before hiring someone.
It’s really important to choose fully qualified professionals that are specifically experienced in insurance repair work – not just general construction. If the contractors don’t fully understand the work involved, this could cause further problems down the line and insurers are unlikely to pay out to correct issues caused by poor workmanship. If you want to find out more about what to look out for when hiring a contractor, you can read more on our blog here
Appointing an insurance repair specialist can overcome these issues. At Action Insurance Repair, our management team have been working in the insurance sector for over 20 years and our qualified tradespeople are managed in house and have a proven track record of high-quality work, check out our customer reviews.
If my property is deemed inhabitable, can I still move to alternative accommodation when the government is advising people not to move to a new house?
If severe damage has made your property uninhabitable – for example, it no longer has a working kitchen or bathroom – then you will be able to move to alternative accommodation.
The ABI states that ‘insurers are expected to continue to provide cover for customers as promised in the policy – including funding the cost of alternative accommodation – whilst acting in accordance with the UK Government’s advice at that time.’
Your insurers’ priority is the safety of their customers and the wider community, and they will continue to provide cover for customers as promised in the policy – including funding the cost of alternative accommodation.
It is vitally important that you contact your insurer to discuss your claim further, as each one will be managed on a case-by-case basis to ensure that customer interests are best protected.
If the property is habitable at present but will be rendered uninhabitable when the reinstatement works take place, the works will be considered non-essential so should be postponed until lockdown restrictions have been lifted.
Will my building insurance cover the cost of deep cleaning my property because it is contaminated by Covid-19?
Unfortunately, a deep clean of this nature would not be covered by most standard building insurance policies. However, if your business premises are affected and you have business interruption insurance or environmental insurance then you may be covered so it is worth checking with your broker or insurers.
I have been quarantined or am unable to travel from abroad and therefore my home may be left unoccupied for over the 30 or 60 day limit on my policy. Will I be covered?
The ABI states that insurers will be taking a pragmatic approach to individuals who are quarantined or stuck abroad and are unable to return to their home within the timescales set out in their policy. However, you should put your insurance company on notice you’re your property is unoccupied and obtain their advice on the matter.
Do I need to continue to make regular visits to my unoccupied home if it is against government guidance?
The ABI states that given the Government guidance to avoid non-essential travel during the lockdown period, insurers are keen to take practical steps to support customers and therefore have waived the requirement for individuals to check on a property regularly if they are unable to do so, as long as the property is suitably secure. This includes second homes and unoccupied homes where renovations are taking place.
Still have questions? Not to worry, we’re here to help. Just get in touch!