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Coronavirus Bulletin No 3

This bulletin covers the latest advice from the Government about maintenance work being allowed to continue in homes, and the impact of absence from properties on insurance policies.

Government Advice on Maintenance

The latest advice from the Government is clear about the ability of property maintenance to continue.

Work carried out in people’s homes, for example by tradespeople carrying out repairs and maintenance, can continue, provided that the tradesperson is well and has no symptoms. Again, it will be important to ensure that Public Health England guidelines, including maintaining a 2 metre distance from any household occupants, are followed to ensure everyone’s safety.

No work should be carried out in any household which is isolating or where an individual is being shielded, unless it is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household, such as emergency plumbing or repairs, and where the tradesperson is willing to do so. In such cases, Public Health England can provide advice to tradespeople and households.

No work should be carried out by a tradesperson who has coronavirus symptoms, however mild.

The full advice, from which this quote is taken, is here.

Impact on Insurance Policies of Prolonged Absence

Most household insurance policies say that if you leave your home ‘unoccupied’ for a period of time, normally 30 or 60 days, then you will not be covered for certain ‘insured perils’ (usually theft, attempted theft, malicious damage and escape of water).

But it is often unclear exactly what an insurer means when it talks of a property being ‘unoccupied’. Policies rarely define the term, although it is potentially unclear and ambiguous. Does it mean that the property is uninhabitable? Does it mean the property is incapable of being inhabited to a reasonable degree of comfort, health and safety? Or maybe it is simply that nobody was actually living in the property at the relevant time.

Given the current circumstances we find ourselves in, we would urge all clients to check their policy wording and to discuss with their insurance broker if they have any doubts. Bold & Reeves provides services to some clients whereby we check on the property on a periodic basis.