Insurance payment holidays and cheaper deals possible during coronavirus crisis

Clients of insurance firms who are struggling financially because of coronavirus will be able to request payment holidays from next week. Some financially-challenged customers may also be able to move on to a cheaper deal or get a partial refund. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) confirmed the temporary help for customers, which will come into force on Monday, May 18 and be reviewed in the next three months.

It said customers' risk profiles may have changed because of coronavirus and there may be scope to offer customers materially lower premiums.

Lloyd's of London in the City of London as the the world's largest insurance market, said that the coronavirus crisis will cost it as much as the September 11 attacks, or all the hurricanes of 2017 combined.

This payment deferral should be granted for a period of between one and three months, although firms can go beyond three months. The FCA said customers should be able to request a payment holiday at any point during the period up to August 18, while the window for requesting a payment deferral is open.

Where to get help if you're struggling

You don't have to suffer in silence if you're struggling with your mental health. Here are some groups you can contact when you need help:

Samaritans: Phone 116 123, 24 hours a day, or email [email protected], in confidence Childline: Phone 0800 1111. Calls are free and won't show up on your bill

PAPYRUS: A voluntary organisation supporting suicidal teens and young adults. Phone 0800 068 4141 Depression Alliance: A charity for people with depression.

No helpline but offers useful resources and links to other information on its website Students Against Depression: A website for students who are depressed, have low mood, or are suicidal. Click here to visit

Bullying UK: A website for both children and adults affected by bullying. Click here Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM): For young men who are feeling unhappy.

Has a website here and a helpline: 0800 58 58 58 Where this is not considered appropriate, firms should offer customers other forms of relief, which could include accepting reduced repayments, or rescheduling the term, waiving missed or late payment fees or allowing a customer to amend their repayment date without any cost.

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The FCA said firms should consider whether there are other products available that would be better for customer needs and revise the cover accordingly. The regulator said customers who are struggling to afford their insurance or premium finance payments because of the impact of coronavirus should contact their insurer or insurance broker to discuss their options - and should not leave themselves uninsured.

Customers paying in instalments who are still struggling despite any reductions should be able to get a payment holiday from their insurer, unless it is obviously not in the customer's interests to do so, the FCA said.

Sheldon Mills, interim executive director of strategy and competition at the FCA, said: "Many firms in the insurance industry have already taken some of the actions we are suggesting here to support customers, such as premium reductions, discounts, waiving fees, and payment deferrals.

"The measures confirmed today will provide urgent support to those that need it."

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