the COVID-19 lockdown and your charity’s liability insurance
17 April 2020

How does the COVID-19 lockdown affect your charity’s liability insurance?

updated 21 April 2020; still current at: 2 February 2022

We’re working to help and advise our customers on issues arising around liability insurance through this COVID-19 pandemic. Issues such as homeworking, furloughing, mothballing, scaling back or diversifying in these challenging times will be new to many charities and businesses.

Staff working from home

Does employers’ liability insurance cover our staff working from home during the lockdown?

Staff working from home must still be covered by an Employers’ Liability policy.  In the majority of cases, Employers’ Liability insurance will cover employees working at any location. However, if in doubt you should check your policy wording or get in touch with us.

Are there any cyber liability implications that would need cover with staff working from home?

Staff working from home have a duty of care to ensure that they adhere to data security measure that apply at their normal place of work. Employees should consider the basics, such as locking their laptop whenever they are away from it or ensuring any critical documents are either shredded as soon as practicable or locked away safely at the end of the working day. Other measures that need consideration include ensuring they only use their work laptop and making sure that all software (including antivirus software) is up to date.  

Don’t forget your material damage or contents and equipment insurance.

Don’t forget your material damage / contents and equipment insurance.
If your staff are working from home with equipment from their normal place of work, such as PC monitors, we suggest that you check your building and contents insurance policy to make sure that it is covered off site. Also, if you have had to buy or hire equipment for staff to be able to work from home, such as laptops to be used instead of desktop PCs, make sure these are added to your building and contents insurance policy.

Furloughing staff

Do we need employers’ liability for furloughed staff?

Employees are still legally employed while furloughed. They retain all of their rights as an employee, they accrue holiday and they can carry out training and development for their role from home. If you are employing these furloughed workers, you still have a legal obligation to maintain Employers’ Liability insurance. A gap in this compulsory cover could result in prosecution and a fine for your organisation. 

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ended on 30 September 2021. 

Operations have temporarily ceased

Can we cancel our other liability insurance?

Even though your charity or business may not be operating, the risks may still be present and potential claims could still made against you.  Therefore we recommend that you continue with your public, property owners or products liability cover.

If you are hiring out your building to other organisations, such as a nursery for children of key workers, while you are not operating, claims could be made against you for accidents at your premises by those using or visiting it.  Even a vacant building, warehouse or office will still have a public liability exposure. For example, if a member of the public entered your premises and had an accident, you may be held liable. Therefore, we recommend that you keep your property owners liability cover in place.

If you normally provide or sell products, we advise that you keep your products liability insurance in place, because claims can still be made against you for the products you’ve already sold or supplied before the lockdown restrictions. 

Diversifying or undertaking different activities

We’re doing different activities, are we still covered?

During the coronavirus outbreak you may be diversifying to make money or serve your community in a different way.  As this may have different risks you must let us know as you may not be covered for these activities.  We can check whether you are covered under the existing terms of your policy or whether you need to make a temporary change to your cover. We can arrange insurance for a vast array of charity and business activities and multiple business descriptions to make sure you have suitable protection.

Why not get in touch for a no-cost review of your existing cover? 

Our specialist team can let you know what you are and aren’t covered for and make recommendations on the steps you can make to better protect your business. 
For a chat with one of our friendly advisors, get in touch on

  • 0345 040 7731 (for charities and not-for-profit organisations) 
  • 0345 040 7732 (for businesses).