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19 April 2020

Covid-19 and your home and contents insurance 

Answers to our most frequently asked questions about how Covid-19 lockdown impacts your home insurance and contents insurance policies.

For any questions not covered here please contact your broker.

Home and contents insurance policies

Working from home

Home and contents policies will continue to cover loss or damage to your home while it is used as a home office. The liability section of your policy doesn’t cover you for any business activity so if you’re doing manufacturing or trades work, please contact your broker to discuss cover.

Using work equipment at home

Equipment provided by employers to allow working from home should be covered by their policy, however your contents policy may cover you for damage to the equipment if you are legally liable.

Renewals and home valuations

Most valuation companies will be able to provide updated home valuations based on information they already hold on file. If a valuation cannot be provided due to alert level restrictions, some insurers may defer the requirement until the next renewal, however others may insist on an updated valuation once these services can recommence.

As requirements vary between insurers, please check with your broker what applies for your specific policy.

Another option, in lieu of a registered valuation is using the rebuild estimate report from the free online Cordell Sum Sure calculator.

Vacant, unoccupied homes and holiday homes

Home policies generally include conditions that vacant, unoccupied homes, and holiday homes are inspected within set time frames, lawns and grounds maintained and mail cleared, or cover may cease.

As the time frame for inspections varies between insurers, it is important to check your policy wordings. 

If these obligations cannot be fulfilled due to alert level restrictions, insurers should not decline cover on the grounds that an inspection was not completed.

However as soon as restrictions are lifted and it is appropriate to do so inspections and property maintenance must be completed to ensure cover remains in place.

Contents in storage

Most contents policies extend to cover goods in storage (under certain criteria), for a maximum period. If this period expires when alert levels prevent access to the storage facility, most insurers will automatically extend cover.

Once the alert level reduces to a level that allows access to your items, and your cover period has expired you will need to remove your contents. 

If you are still unable to remove your contents, please contact your broker to discuss extending the cover period.

Settling a property but delaying possession

If settlement proceeds but possession is delayed due to alert level restrictions, your insurance must start from the settlement date. If the vendor or a tenant is remaining until alert levels allow possession, your lawyer will need to amend the sales contract to reflect the continued occupancy.

Deferring a property settlement

If the settlement date for your house purchase has altered due to the Covid-19 alert level, the commencement date of your insurance policies will also need changing to the new settlement date.

We’re here to help

One of our responsibilities as a broker is to ensure you have all the information you need to make informed decisions about the risks you face. With the effects of Covid-19 being felt in a number of ways by our clients across the country, we wanted to share some advice to help you protect what’s important during this difficult and unprecedented time.

We hope you find the information above helpful. If you have any questions or if you would like to speak to us regarding your personal insurance please talk to your broker.

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