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30 Jul 2020
Adam Bate Confused.com

How the coronavirus pandemic impacts day-to-day life

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COVID-19 is having a profound impact on all of us and touches every aspect of our lives.

We’ve put together some answers to questions about how it might affect you. You’ll find links where you can get more information too. 

 

Update: 30 July 2020

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared that anyone showing symptoms of coronavirus should self-isolate for 10 days rather than seven.

The key recognised symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • A new, continuous cough

  • A raised temperature

  • Any loss of smell or taste

 

Working from home and home insurance

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

If you’re using a laptop and taking conference calls with your team then you don’t need to update your insurance. It’s only if you turn your home into a bustling office with people coming and going that you might need to change things. 

Is my laptop covered?

If you’ve been given a laptop or office equipment by your company, then it’ll be covered under their business insurance. 

What about my broadband and energy bills?

There’s no two ways about it. If you’re at home full time, you’re bound to see your energy bills rise. Thankfully there are some things you can do to keep bills down. Take a look at our tips

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Working from home

Holidays and travel

Will the coronavirus impact my travel plans?

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) lifted its ‘all but essential travel’ rule to some countries on 4 July.

The isolation rules will differ between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. If you’re travelling abroad, check your local authority’s advice on self-isolation.

The exempt countries will form travel corridors.

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

READ MORE: How will the coronavirus impact my travel plans?

Driving and insurance

How can I deep clean my car to reduce the risk of infection?

Experts think that coronavirus can linger on hard surfaces for 2-3 days. So it’s important to clean your car, especially if you have taken passengers in it recently. 

Make sure to clean all the surfaces that might touch regularly. So that’s steering wheel, gear stick, indicator light stick, door handles and audio equipment.

Try to use an alcohol-based disinfectant or antiseptic wipes. And always wash your hands after driving somewhere. 

If you drive a van, take a look at our tips on deep-cleaning your van.

 

My car is due for an MOT soon. What do I do?

All drivers with an MOT due from 1 August are being urged to book an MOT test. This is a legal requirement.

Drivers who have an MOT test due before 1 August will be granted a 6-month extension. For example, if your MOT is due on 31 July, it’ll be extended to 31 January 2021.

But even if your vehicle is exempt, you should take it to the garage immediately if you notice something wrong. You can still be prosecuted for driving an unsafe vehicle.

A few garages UK-wide remained open during the outbreak to conduct essential repairs. Now, 90% of garages are open across the country.

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.

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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 it should cover you if you can’t work due to illness.

But it might not cover you if you can’t work because you’ve been told to self-isolate. We’ve never been in this situation before and it will be up to each individual insurer. 

READ MORE: Income protection and coronavirus

My partner has died because of coronavirus. Will their life insurance cover it?

As it is a new condition, coronavirus probably won't be mentioned in the life insurance policy. But it looks as though insurers will still pay out if someone dies due to coronavirus.

You’ll need to ask the life insurance provider directly. 

Energy

Will the coronavirus mean a disruption to my energy supply?

No, the energy suppliers are all working as normal and 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 rocketed. What if we can’t afford them?

The government has launched an emergency package to make sure people can carry on receiving their energy supply.

If you’re struggling with the 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

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?

Some lenders offer 'mortgage payment holidays'.

This is where you agree that you won’t have to make a repayment for a certain amount of time - usually up to three months. You’ll still need to pay back the amounts you don’t pay. 

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

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

Get int touch with your mortgage lender for more information.

I’ve missed a number of mortgage payments. Will my lender repossess my home?

No. This is a time of crisis and the government is determined that no one should be at risk of losing their homes. 

More questions? Check out the information from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

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

The government has announced a ban on evictions, so your landlord can’t begin court proceedings against you for at least three months.

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. 

Citizens Advice can offer more support. Shelter England also has regular updates

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, keep your contact with your pet to a minimum if 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.

 

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

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

Your business

Will my business interruption insurance cover me for lost income?

Your policy might cover business interruptions due to illness or disease. However, coronavirus is a new illness that probably won’t be listed on your policy.

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

I employ people. What happens if a number of people are off sick?

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


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

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