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30 August 2021

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 insurance policies will continue to cover loss or damage to your home while it is being used as a home office. Cover is excluded if the home is being used for business or commercial purposes, like manufacturing or trades work. So, if you’re doing these types of activities, contact your broker to discuss the type of business cover that's appropriate for you.

Most contents insurance policies already provide cover up to certain amounts for office furniture or office equipment you own and use for earning income. Check your policy or contact your broker if you need more cover, or to clarify the type of items covered by your policy.

Using your employer's work equipment at home

Most employers will arrange their own insurance policy for work equipment they provide to you. However in some instances, 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, while 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 the rebuild estimate report from the Cordell Sum Sure calculator, which is available free online.

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.

If you are unsure of conditions in your policy, please contact your broker.

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. 

Settling a property but delaying possession

If settlement for a property proceeds but possession is delayed due to alert level restrictions, your insurance must start from the settlement date. If the vendor or a tenant remains in the property until alert levels allow possession, talk to your lawyer as they 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 changes in alert level, the commencement date of your insurance policy 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 challenging times.

If you have any questions or if you would like to speak to us regarding your personal insurance please talk to your broker.

Client Advisory      Personal insurance     

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