Covid-19: Latest updates and relevant information

Last update Saturday 16 January

 

Scotland has tightened its lockdown restrictions in addition to its 'stay at home' message:

  • Click-and-collect services will be available for essential items only, and must be done outdoors.

  • Takeaways won't be able to serve customers indoors.

  • The consumption of alcohol outdoors will be banned.

You must not leave your home unless it's for an essential purpose.

The restrictions apply to mainland Scotland, which is at level 4. Most islands remain at level 3.

For more information, visit GOV.SCOT

 

People in England will have to stay at home from Wednesday 6 January.

You should only leave your home for essential reasons.
 
For more information on England's lockdown rules visit GOV.UK. 

 

 

Wales has entered a level 4 lockdown until further notice. This means: 

  • you must stay at home
  • you must not travel without reasonable excuse
  • you must work from home if you can
  • all non-essential retail is closed
  • all hospitality, close-contact services, gyms and leisure centres are closed
  • education and childcare providers can stay open.

For more information, visit GOV.WALES 

 

Rules and restrictions around coronavirus may vary depending on where you live. For more information, check the government website for: 

 

How does the pandemic impact day-to-day life? 

As we all try and adapt to the new normal, we at Confused.com understand that there are lot of questions and confusions. We’ve put together some information to help clear things up: 

 

 

Driving and insurance 

Do I need to tell my insurance company that my driving habits have changed? 

If you now have to drive to work when you used to use public transport, you don’t need to update your insurance policy. 

This will be reviewed on 31 March 2021. For more information, visit the Association of British Insurers (ABI).

READ MORE: Coronavirus: impact on drivers

 

If I make a non-essential trip, is my insurance invalid?

If you're in an area under lockdown and you're caught making a 'non-essential' trip, you could get a £200 fine (see section 21).

Some have said if your car is in an accident while on a non-essential trip, your insurance could be invalid.

This is untrue.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) said:

"You should follow government restrictions, but if you do use your car for non-essential travel, you won't risk invalidating your car insurance.”

 

My vehicle is due for its MOT. What do I do?

If your MOT was due between 30 March and 31 July 2020, you’ll have had a six-month extension.

So your MOT will be due between 30 October 2020 and 31 January 2021.

If your MOT is due after 1 August, you must book your MOT test as usual.

You should take your vehicle to the garage immediately if you notice something wrong. You can still be prosecuted for driving an unsafe vehicle.

If you’re vulnerable or self-isolating and your car needs a repair or your MOT is due, contact your local garage. They may offer safe pick-up and drop-off services.

To keep an eye on your MOT end date and get a notification when it's due, download our app.

 

Check MOT and tax

Download the Confused.com app to find out your MOT and tax dates, and set reminders so you never miss a date.

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Working from home and home insurance

I’m working from home. Do I need to tell my insurer?

If you're office-based and you're working from home, you don't need to update your policy.

This will be reviewed on 31 March 2021. For more information, visit the Association of British Insurers (ABI).

READ MORE: Working from home during the pandemic

 

Is my laptop covered?

If your company has given you a laptop or equipment, it should be covered under their insurance.

 

What about my broadband and energy bills?

If you’re at home full time, you’re bound to see your energy bills rise. If your workplace doesn't cover expenses for heating and broadband usage, you could claim tax relief.

Visit GOV.UK for more information.

READ MORE: How to reduce your energy costs during the pandemic

 

Holidays and travel

Will the pandemic impact my travel plans?

Each UK nation has its own guidance around travel, which may change day to day. Check the advice for your area:

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) has advised against all but essential travel to many countries.

There is a list of countries that are exempt from this, which can change daily.

To see the full list of countries, visit GOV.UK

READ MORE: Coronavirus and travel insurance: Where to get the latest information

 

Life insurance

I’ve got an income protection policy. Will it cover me if I can’t work because of coronavirus?

If you took out your policy before 18 March 2020 it should cover you if you can’t work due to illness.

Many income protection policies have an initial waiting period. Depending on how long this is, you may not be able to claim if you’re self-isolating and can’t work for a few weeks.

 

Will a life insurance policy cover me or my partner if we need to make a claim due to coronavirus?

Your life insurance company should handle it like it would any other claim as set out in their policy terms. But it’s best to get in touch with them to check as the specifics of each policy may differ.

You can still get life insurance, though the company may ask you questions related to coronavirus before you can get a policy.

 

Energy

Will the pandemic mean a disruption to my energy supply?

No. Energy suppliers are all working as normal. They still have to meet the same standards of service and supply.

 

Now that my family are all living and working at home, our energy bills have gone up. What if we can’t afford them?

If you’re struggling with bills, your supplier might review your payment plan or give you a payment holiday.

Make sure you speak to your supplier as soon as you can. For more information about coronavirus and your energy, take a look at the advice from Ofgem.

The maximum rate for energy has also been cut, which could help you as we go into winter.

READ MORE: The energy price cap explained

 

Paying the mortgage or rent

I’m worried that I’m not going to be able to make my mortgage repayments. What can I do?

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has encouraged lenders to offer 'mortgage payment holidays' for up to six months.

This is where you agree that you won’t have to make a repayment for a certain amount of time. You’ll still owe the money – you just delay making a payment.

Don’t forget that interest will still be charged on what you owe. So if you opt for a payment holiday, you’ll end up owing more than before.

That means you might have to extend the length of your mortgage.

For more information, visit the FCA website.

 

I’ve missed some mortgage payments. Will my lender repossess my home?

The ban on repossessions ended on 31 October. But lenders have been reminded that repossessions should be a last resort.

Lenders shouldn’t repossess your house if you’ve been affected by any lockdown measures.

The FCA has proposed an extension to the ban on home repossessions to January 2021.

 

I can’t afford my rent payments. What should I do?

Make sure you tell your landlord as soon as possible that you’re having difficulty.

They might suggest ways to ease the burden, for example, letting you pay what you can afford for the time being.

In England, evictions won't be enforced until 11 January 2021.

For the rest of the UK, the ban on evictions ended on 21 September 2020. But landlords have to give month' notice for evictions until 31 March 2021.

Citizens Advice can offer more support.

 

Your pets

Can my pet catch coronavirus?

There have been some rare cases where pets have caught coronavirus from their owners.

But it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you’re self-isolating, limit contact with your pet where you can.

Keep cats indoors if you can and ask a friend or family member to walk your dog.

There's currently no evidence that humans can catch it from animals, though.

For more information, visit GOV.UK

 

My pet needs to see a vet but I’m self-isolating. What should I do?

Get in touch with the vet. Some vets offer online consultations, or they may be able to give you advice over the phone.

READ MORE: Looking after your pets during the pandemic

 

Your business

Will my business interruption insurance cover me for lost income?

Your policy might cover business interruptions due to illness or disease. But, coronavirus is a new illness that probably isn't listed on your policy.

So the bad news is you likely won’t be covered. It's best to get in touch with your insurer to find out how they're responding to this crisis.

Help is available from the government. You can apply for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan.

 

I'm an employer. What happens if many people are off sick?

The government is letting businesses claim back two weeks of Statutory Sick Pay for every employee off due to coronavirus.

Find out more about the support to businesses available on the GOV.UK website.