Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

Last updated: 7th April 2020

Please be aware we can only accept new business online. With the exception of life insurance, customers can’t currently buy insurance over the phone.

Existing customers: We’re ready and able to help, but at times we can be busy. Please bear with us.

Use our virtual assistant if you have questions about your renewal or want to make a change to your policy. If your policy is due to renew in the next week and you haven’t opted for auto-renewal, please call us. If you have opted for auto-renewal, check your insurance still meets your needs, you don't need to contact us in order to renew.

Customers who can’t pay now as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, call us - we want to help you.

For frequently asked questions about COVID-19, go to our Coronavirus help and support page.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is affecting all of us in different ways, and customers need to know where to find the most up-to-date information.

These are unprecedented times for all of us, and we appreciate your cooperation as we find the best ways to protect and assist customers.

Please don’t phone unless it’s absolutely necessary.

We're getting a lot of calls right now and wait times are very long. Many questions can be answered by our FAQs.

We have made temporary changes to some of our products, and you can find out more below.

Coronavirus guidance and advice

We’re experiencing high volumes of travel claims at the moment. We’re working as hard as we can, and it may take longer than normal to respond. We appreciate your patience at this time.

Please be assured that there is no time limit to register your claim. If you need advice please visit our FAQs.

Due to the high volume of claims we are focusing on customers who are currently abroad or due to travel in the next 48 hours.

Only contact our claims department with queries related to Coronavirus if you are travelling in the next 48 hours and you have already spoken to your travel provider.

If you paid by credit card you may be protected under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 and should contact your card issuer for further information. Similarly, if you paid by debit or charge card you should contact your card issuer for advice as you may be able to make a claim under their chargeback rules.

We advise all customers who are due to travel to monitor and follow the advice issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO): www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus and the advice of the UK Government: www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Our claims department can be reached on 0345 246 0415 .

For existing travel insurance customers any new trips booked on or after 13th March 2020 will not provide cover for any claim caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. Insurance is there to help with unknown or unforeseeable events. As Coronavirus is now a known event, no cover is available.

See the most frequently asked questions.

We know many customers are concerned about the impact the Coronavirus pandemic may have on their life insurance.

See the most frequently asked questions.

We know many customers are concerned about the impact the Coronavirus pandemic may have on their home insurance.

See the most frequently asked questions.

We know many customers are concerned about the impact the Coronavirus pandemic may have on their car insurance.

See the most frequently asked questions.

We know many customers are concerned about the impact the Coronavirus pandemic may have on their pet insurance.

See the most frequently asked questions.

We’re aware that our small business customers may have concerns about the impact of COVID-19 on their business. Business owners and landlords should go to our dedicated Coronavirus information page.

We’re aware that our small business customers may have concerns about the impact of COVID-19 on their business. Business owners and landlords should go to our dedicated Coronavirus information page.

Frequently asked questions for...

No, any trips booked, or insurance purchased on or after 13th March 2020 will not be covered for any claim relating to Coronavirus, as this is now a known event.

All customers currently abroad should now seek to return to the UK, as per the advice of the FCO

You should speak to your travel provider in the first instance. If you’re unable to use or amend your original return tickets your policy covers reasonable costs for additional accommodation and travel, less any refund you receive from your travel provider, subject to the policy limit.

If your travel provider is unable to assist you, the Government is now arranging the repatriation of UK citizens abroad. Customers stranded abroad should check the FCO website and social media of the UK Embassy or High Commission of the country they are in. For further information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-government-partnership-with-airlines-to-fly-back-more-tourists-stranded-abroad

If the earliest flight you can get is after your original return date, your travel insurance will automatically extend cover until the earliest time you could reasonably return home.

If you’re abroad and don’t want to return to the UK earlier than planned, then please be aware there’s no cover for additional transport and accommodation expenses if you become stranded abroad past your original date of travel. Your travel insurance will also end on your original return date.

Yes, you can claim for cancellation of a trip if the FCO advises against all but essential travel to your intended destination, as long as you are travelling within 28 days and the advice wasn’t in place when you booked the trip or purchased your insurance.

You can also claim for cancellation of a trip if the FCO advises against all travel to your intended destination, as long as the advice wasn’t in place when you booked the trip or purchased your insurance.

You can see what date the FCO advice came into force by visiting www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

Where the FCO advice is not in place, there is no cover under your travel insurance and you should continue to monitor FCO advice and speak to your travel provider.

You can claim for the cost of any lost deposits where the FCO is advising against travel to your destination, as long as the advice wasn’t in place when you booked the trip or purchased your insurance, and your trip is due to start in the next 28 days.

If your trip isn’t due to start in the next 28 days then there is no cover for cancellation and you should decide if you want to make any balance payments due for your trip, you will only be able to claim cancellation if FCO advice against travel is in place within 28 days before your trip is due to start.

Valid cancellation claims will cover the amount you have paid for the trip, less any refunds you have received and the policy excess.

For any trip, you must first seek a refund from your trip provider and the provider of your debit / credit card in the first instance before contacting our claims team.

Cover for UK trips of two or more nights in pre-booked commercially operated accommodation are covered for cancellation where the accommodation is closing due to the coronavirus, you should seek a refund from either your accommodation provider or debit / credit card provider in the first instance.

We’re also extending the advice of the FCO to trips in the UK, based on the Government guidance around social distancing, this applies to trips due to the start in the next 28 days. This means that if FCO advice is against all or all but essential travel, we will apply that to UK based trips.

For any trip, you must first seek a refund from your trip provider and the provider of your debit / credit card in the first instance before contacting our claims team.

Yes. As long as your initial booking was made before 13th March 2020 and there was no FCO Travel Guidance in place when you booked your trip.

No, there is no cover under your travel insurance please speak to your travel provider to get a refund.

In the first instance you should speak to your travel provider to arrange any amendment to your trip, including being returned to the UK.

You can claim to return home early from your trip if the FCO advises against all travel or all but essential travel for your destination while you are on your trip.

You can claim to return home early whilst on your trip if your accommodation or the immediate surrounding area is locked down as a result of Coronavirus.

Where FCO advice is already in place when your trip starts, or where the FCO advice is not in place or the local or national authorities confirm it is safe to remain in the area, there is no cover under your travel insurance and you should continue to monitor FCO advice and speak to your travel provider.

You can claim for cancellation of a trip if you are due to travel in the next 28 days and the country you are due to travel to has closed its borders to UK citizens.

Where you are not due to travel in the next 28 days you should continue to monitor FCO advice for your destination and speak to your travel provider.

If you are on a trip and your accommodation is locked down so you can’t return home as planned, your policy will provide you with cover under the ‘cutting short your trip’ section of the policy for reasonable additional accommodation and transport. There is no cover for food.

As long as your insurance was in place, you booked your trip before 13th March 2020, you are not travelling against doctor’s advice and are not travelling to an area where the FCO has advised against all travel, then you will be covered for medical and reasonable additional travel expenses that you may incur as a result of becoming ill.

If the FCO advice changes while you are on your trip, you will still be covered if you need to claim for medical expenses.

There is no cover under your travel insurance where you are refused entry to your destination because you do not have the correct visa or passport.

You should speak to your tour operator as they may be able to help you, and you should continue to monitor the FCO advice: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

For any trip, whether abroad or in the UK, you must first seek a refund from your trip provider and the provider of your debit / credit card in the first instance before you contact the travel insurance claims team.

Important note: This general advice does not replace the terms and conditions of your Travel Insurance policy and you should read your policy booklet for further information.

If you have been diagnosed with Coronavirus, AIG would postpone any underwriting decision until you make a full recovery. This is done with any application where AIG is aware of a potential health risk that is still being assessed.

Yes. AIG remains open for business and continues to help meet the needs of customers with both in-force and new business. A customer can apply for life insurance or critical illness insurance in the UK. When they do, they should answer all application questions honestly and accurately, to the best of their knowledge and belief.

AIG has no plans to introduce exclusions related to Coronavirus on its UK policies and we have no plans to stop customers applying for life insurance or critical illness insurance at this time.

When a customer applies for life insurance or critical illness insurance with AIG in the UK, it bases its underwriting decision on the information the customer provides and on its underwriting philosophy at the time. So, it’s important that customers answer all application questions honestly and accurately, to the best of their knowledge and belief.

AIG hopes and encourages its policyholders to stay healthy at this time, claims related to Coronavirus would be reviewed and handled like any other life insurance claim.

No. The virus is not a named critical illness and therefore would not be a valid reason for a claim under a critical illness policy.

AIG is currently investigating premium payment holidays in recognition of the difficult financial circumstances many of its customers may be facing.

This refers to policies bought between 1st January 2013 and 19th July 2019, provided by L&G.

Bereavement: In the unfortunate event that COVID-19 leads to a claim, we’ll approach this as we normally would. Please refer to your policy documents for information on what would be a valid claim, including any exclusions that may apply to your policy.

Critical Illness Cover: COVID-19 isn’t a specified critical illness under the terms of our policy. In the unfortunate event that you were to develop a critical illness that we cover as a result of Coronavirus, we would approach this claim in the same way as we would usually. For more details of your policy please refer to your policy documents.

If you are carrying out clerical work from home, such as using a phone and computer, you do not need to call us. If your work means that you will have an increase of visitors to your house, please give us a call on 0345 246 8372 so we can make sure you have the right cover in place.

If your employer has provided you with equipment to work, this will usually be covered by their business insurance so you do not need to add it your policy.

Typically, if a home is unoccupied for more than 60 days, then any insurance will not cover loss or damage caused by the following:

  • by theft or attempted theft
  • by vandalism or malicious damage
  • by water or oil escaping from any fixed water or heating installation or from any domestic appliance
  • by any fixed water or heating installation freezing
  • by accidental damage
  • to freezer contents
  • to contents outsid

However, we are in unprecedented times and all claims will be treated on a case by case basis so therefore unavoidable un-occupancy due to COVID-19 be considered acceptable up to 12 weeks. Where it is safe to do so, we would encourage family and friends who are not vulnerable to periodically check on the unoccupied property and take all reasonable steps to ensure that it is secure

No, this is not covered by your home insurance. Loss of Rent is covered when someone has to move to alternative accommodation following an incident which is covered by your policy.

No, this is not covered by your home insurance.

No, you don’t need to call us if you are home more often because of the virus.

Yes. These questions will be asked as part of our supplier triage process. Our supplier will then discuss with you the most appropriate way of dealing with your claim.

Yes. These questions will be asked as part of our supplier triage process. Our supplier will then discuss with you the most appropriate way of dealing with your claim.

We can’t guarantee this at this stage as it would require regular testing. Our suppliers are closely monitoring the health of their workforce and are complying with the current Government guidelines on social contact and isolation.

We will discuss this with you and offer advice depending on your circumstances. We will also be offering customers practical advice on steps they can take immediately and for certain types of claim we may be able to progress via a digital route.

We’ll take a pragmatic approach to additional visitors that may be staying with you during the lockdown period, as specified by the Government.

We understand that some individuals may require additional care and help during these unprecedented times and will not require you to contact us to advise that you have additional long-stay guests.

This advice is subject to change, depending on the length of time that the Government requires the current social distancing requirements. Remember, any claims for theft will only be accepted if there is evidence of a break-in. We recommend that you keep your home protected by showing your house guest how to ensure the property is secure and any other information that they may need to know.

Please get in touch with us to discuss the options you may have.

We will remotely assess the damage on the vehicle and then arrange pick up/drop off after your isolation period has ended.

Our aim is to keep customers safe. If you’re not in isolation we will come out to you. However, if you’re in isolation and at home, please contact us after your isolation period. If you aren’t in isolation we’ll prioritise on a case by case basis.

Let us know. We will extend foreign use for free for those stuck abroad due to closed borders or isolation.

We’ll offer a full refund for foreign use if your holiday has been cancelled.

You don’t need to tell us. You are covered for NHS voluntary service. Don’t ring us to check, you’re fine. And thank you for helping at this crucial time.

Please get in touch with us to discuss the options you may have.

You don’t need to contact us to extend your cover, or update your documents if:

  • Your job is critical to the national response to COVID-19 and you need to use your own car to travel to different locations for work
  • You have to drive to your workplace because of the impact of COVID-19
  • You are using your car for voluntary work i.e. transporting medicines or groceries to support people affected by COVID-19

Your insurance will remain valid, as long as your car remains roadworthy. However, you must follow Government guidelines in order to ensure you’re still driving legally.

If your MOT is due to expire before 30th March, you can find the Government guidance here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-mots-for-cars-vans-and-motorcycles-due-before-30-march-2020

If your MOT is due to expire on or after 30th March, you can find the Government guidance here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-mots-for-cars-vans-and-motorcycles-due-from-30-march-2020

As always, please make sure you still take the time to carry out basic vehicle checks such as checking tyre pressure/tread, water levels, ensuring windscreen liquid and oil are at the correct levels and that lights work.

It’s a legal requirement for your vehicle to be insured, even if you’re not driving it, unless it is declared as 'off the road' with the DVLA. You can find more information here: https://www.gov.uk/sorn-statutory-off-road-notification.

Car repairs: At peak demand times we may prioritise the repair of undrivable vehicles. If your vehicle is still roadworthy we may contact you to change the original booking date, but we’ll do our best to minimise any inconvenience and we'll let you know if your current repair is affected. Vehicles are being cleaned in line with Government guidelines.

Medical treatment: Our suppliers will continue to treat patients as long as it is clinically safe and appropriate to do so. However, should you prefer not to attend a clinic for treatment at the moment, or are self-isolating, this can be placed on hold until the period of self-isolation ends or until further notice. Treatment can’t be provided on a remote, virtual or online basis at the moment.

No, you don’t need to worry, even if you have received an email which says your policy may be cancelled. We know lots of customers are unable to drive or leave the house at the moment, so we've put steps in place to make sure your policy won't be impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. The only thing we ask, is you install the device as soon as you can, if you haven't already.

When you’re able to drive the car, if there are no journeys showing within 48 hours, please let us know. You can email us on support@directline.com or call us on 0345 8786374

. Our lines are open Monday to Friday 10am to 6pm.

There are no restrictions. As long as you’re following Government guidelines, you’re fine from our point of view too.

To protect our colleagues and customers, we’ve made the decision to temporarily stop offering installations. As soon as we’re able to, we’ll contact you to offer an appointment. Your insurance will continue to run as normal and won’t be impacted by the device installation delay. Your renewal price will be based on your driving score, which will be calculated from the point that your device gets installed.

The OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) has said: "There is no evidence that dogs play a role in the spread of this human disease or that they become sick." If you suspect your pet may be infected, as a Direct Line customer you can get advice from a vet at Pawsquad, free of charge and at any time of day.

If you are infected or are self-isolating as a precaution, the Government is advising pet owners to also limit contact with their pets as a precaution until more is known about the virus. If your pet requires care, wash your hands before and after any interaction with them and wear a face mask if possible. Keep cats indoors if possible and try to arrange for someone else to exercise dogs, taking care to restrict any contact with the person walking your dog and making sure they practice good hygiene. This is to reduce the likelihood of your pets spreading the disease through environmental contamination on their fur – there is no evidence that pet animals play a role in the spread of the disease or that they become sick themselves.

Take advice on whether your pet really needs to be seen at a veterinary clinic or not. If you have a Direct Line policy, PawSquad can help. We find that many concerns can be dealt with safely and effectively through an online consultation, without the need to visit a vet. Speak to a PawSquad vet now.

As part of your Direct Line policy, you have free 24/7 access to Pawsquad, who can advise you on the best steps to take regarding your pet. Speak to a PawSquad vet now.

If on or after 13th March, as a result of the Government social distancing restrictions you’re unable to get to your vet or your vet is postponing non-urgent treatment such as surgery, we will temporarily extend the 12 month time limit for a condition for an additional six months (18 months in total). This does not apply where the 12 month time limit has already been reached by 13th March or for routine or maintenance treatments such as repeat medication.

Where you are unable to get to your vet for your pet’s medication you can ask your vet for a prescription and register with our partner Pet Drugs Online by visiting https://www.petdrugsonline.co.uk/directline (and can claim up to £15 back on the cost of prescription fee by sending Direct Line a copy of your prescription along with a receipt or invoice for the amount the vet charged to write the prescription).

If you’re unable to get to your vet or you are unsure if your pet needs to see a vet you can speak with a fully-qualified vet on video chat or via webchat by registering with our partner, Pawsquad. Visit www.pawsquad.com/direct-line to register and activate your Pawsquad account.

For customers who are abroad on or after 13th March and are unable to return home due to travel restrictions relating to Coronavirus (COVID-19) we will automatically extend the period of insurance until your new return date.

In the event of a claim you will need to provide written confirmation that your return was delayed.

We will also cover reasonable and necessary repeat tape worming costs and reasonable accommodation expenses (up to £300 as per policy terms and conditions) if your departure for the United Kingdom is disrupted and you miss your rearranged departure due to your pet having to get repeat tapeworm treatment.

If you’re no longer planning to travel with your pet, you can remove the additional overseas travel cover. Remember, if you do book a future trip overseas with your pet you will not be covered if your policy does not include the overseas travel cover. To amend your policy, call 0345 246 8246

Important note: This general advice does not replace the terms and conditions of your Pet Insurance policy and you should read your policy booklet for further information.

As long as the consultation is for an eligible condition, we will cover remote vet consultations. Normal terms and conditions apply including the consultation fee limit as stated under vet fees in your policy booklet. If you’re unsure whether your pet needs to see a vet or if you are unable to speak to your vet, you have free 24/7 access to PawSquad as part of your Direct Line policy, who can advise you on the best steps to take regarding your pet. Speak to a PawSquad vet on https://www.pawsquad.com/direct-line

If you‘re unable to visit your vet for your pet’s annual dental check-up, due on or after 13th March, or your vet is unable to carry out dental treatment within three months of recommending it, we will continue to cover your pet for necessary dental treatment as long as you arrange the treatment as soon as reasonably possible and providing this is within 12 months of your vet recommending the treatment.

 

Important note: All other terms and conditions of your Pet Insurance policy apply and you should read your policy booklet for further information.

Your pet will continue to be covered if your vet has advised you not to vaccinate at this time. However, in order to make sure your pet remains protected you should check with your vet as to when they will be resuming pet vaccinations. If your pet’s vaccinations were not up to date before the 13th March you will not be covered should your pet require treatment for a condition that a routine vaccination is available for.

Important note: All other terms and conditions of your Pet Insurance policy apply and you should read your policy booklet for further information.

You can visit our website and submit your claim using our online claims portal or alternatively downloading a claim form from our website and emailing this to us. Alternatively, you can give us your permission to contact your vet directly and ask them to use our online claims portal. Get the form from this link.

We’re aware that vets may have limited resource to deal with pet insurance claim forms. Please be assured that if your claim is delayed a result of Coronavirus (COVID-19) this will not affect your claim.

This advice does not replace the terms and conditions of your policy and you should read your policy booklet for further information.

If your question isn’t covered in these FAQs, and you’re not asking about business insurance, try our virtual assistant service.

For business-specific queries, contact Direct Line for Business.