Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

Last updated: 31st March 2020

Following the Government’s announcement asking everyone to stay at home, we’re making some changes to the way we work to make sure we’re looking after our people and our customers. We’re setting up as many of our colleagues as possible to work from home, but this will take a few days.

In the short-term, we’re only accepting new business online. That means new customers can't buy insurance over the phone.

Existing customers: Please don’t phone unless it’s absolutely necessary.

We need to prioritise:

  • Customers who have an urgent claim, for example your car is undrivable following an accident, you are injured, or your home is uninhabitable.
  • Customers who can’t pay now as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, call us - we want to help you.

If you have questions about your renewal or want to make a change to your policy, you can use our virtual assistant. 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, please make sure your insurance still meets your needs.

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

  • Two fifths (43 per cent) of those in rented accommodation do not have contents insurance to protect their personal possessions
  • Nearly a third (29 per cent) of people renting mistakenly believe their possessions are covered by a landlord's buildings insurance policy
  • The average value of contents uninsured in UK rental properties is £7,000

New research from Direct Line Home Insurance1 reveals that almost £50 billion2 of home contents across the UK are not insured. In fact, with nearly 17 million (32 per cent) adults living in rented accommodation in the UK, 43 per cent (seven million people) do not have home contents insurance.

The main reason behind this is confusion amongst renters, who believe that their contents are covered by another insurance policy (36 per cent). The most common mistake is that renters think they are covered by their landlord's buildings insurance policy (29 per cent), followed by another insurance policy from the landlord (26 per cent) or their parents' home insurance policy3 (19 per cent).

Whilst renters might be shocked to learn they are not covered under their landlords' policies, if their home was affected by a fire, flood or if they were victim of a burglary, their contents would be at risk, leaving them to face a huge bill to replace their belongings (on average nearly £7,000).

The highest value items that renters would need to replace are furniture, with the average household in the UK owning furniture worth around £1,621, followed by electronic (£1,342) and kitchen items (£919).

Table one: Average value of renter's contents broken down by item

Item Average value of items in each category
Furniture £1,612.13
Electronic items £1,341.75
Kitchen items £918.92
Clothes £875.28
Other high value items (e.g. bike) £767.47
Soft furnishings £721.63
Jewellery £719.14
Total UK average contents £6,956.32

Source: Direct Line Home Insurance 2018

Jeremy Bristow, Head of Home Insurance at Direct Line, commented: “This research shows the true scale of the lack of insurance amongst the rental market in the UK, with over seven million renters leaving themselves at risk of losing their personal belongings and facing a huge bill at what is already an incredibly stressful time.

"No matter whether you are living in rented accommodation or if you own your property, it is important to ensure that you have the appropriate home contents and personal possessions cover in place, so that you are not left out of pocket if the worst does happen."

Although one in seven renters (15 per cent) have had contents insurance in the past, over a quarter (28 per cent) have never had it. Young people are the most vulnerable, with half of 18-34-year olds living in rented accommodation (50 per cent) not insuring their contents, compared to just a third (32 per cent) of those over 55.

Contents insurance explained:
Simply put, if you turn your house upside down, everything that would fall out would be considered as your home contents and covered under a home contents insurance policy. Anything that would remain in your home would then be considered structural and would be covered by your home buildings insurance.

Discounts: Get 20% off when you buy online at https://www.directline.com/home-cover/contents-insurance5

Personal possessions cover explained:
Personal possessions cover is an optional extra when purchasing home insurance and provides cover for your family's belongings when they are away from home and for up to 60 days a year whilst they are abroad.

Accidental damage cover explained:
Accidental damage cover is an optional extra when purchasing home insurance and provides cover for unexpected accidents which happen in your home, such as; spillages on the carpet, breakages around the house or accidentally drilling through hidden pipes.

Family legal protection explained:
Family legal protection is an optional extra when purchasing home insurance and provides up to £100,000 cover for claims including contract disputes, personal injury and motoring prosecution.4

For more information about Direct Line contents insurance visit
https://www.directline.com/home-cover/contents-insurance

Notes to Editors

1 Research completed by Opinium Research among 2,005 UK adults aged 18+ between 9th and 11th October 2018
2 Of the 16.8 million adults (32 per cent) who live in rented accommodation, over two fifths (43 per cent) do not have contents in 50,231,103,28
3 Students are covered under their parent's contents insurance policy as standard for up to £5,000 with Direct Line Home Insurance and £10,000 with Direct Line Home Plus for the loss or damage of their contents in student accommodation at university, college or boarding school; including but not limited to; gadgets and electrical items, books and clothing.
4 Protection provided only when more than a 50% chance of recovery
5 Introductory cover, minimum premiums apply. Excludes optional extras/covers. Excludes SELECT Premier

For further information please contact:

Claire Jarrett
PR Manager
Direct Line Group
Tel: 01651 832 411
Email: claire.jarrett@directlinegroup.co.uk

Samantha Stewart
Citigate Dewe Rogerson
Tel: 0207 282 2856
Email: samantha.stewart@citigatedewerogerson.com

Direct Line

Started in 1985, Direct Line became the first UK insurance company to use the telephone as its main channel of communication. It provides motor, home, travel, pet and life insurance cover direct to customers by phone or on-line.

Direct Line general insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England and Wales No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line and UK Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.
Customers can find out more about Direct Line products or get a quote by calling 0345 246 3761 or visiting www.directline.com/home-cover