These are challenging times for both individuals and business owners. Many of my business owners have been reaching out for information on how their insurance policy might respond. Here are answers to the most commonly-asked questions.
Does my Business Interruption coverage provide me for loss of income because of COVID19?
Sadly, the short answer is no.
Business Interruption insurance is designed as an add on to a property insurance policy. In order for the coverage to be triggered, there has to be a physical loss to the property that is covered in the policy. The business interruption coverage applies during the period of restoration. That’s the key word – no damage – no restoration period.
Remember there are common exclusions on a property policy include such events as earthquakes, smog, pollution, nuclear hazard, war, wear and tear, terrorism, intentional illegal acts or loss due to faulty design.
If I am sued as a result of COVID 19, will my General Liability Insurance respond?
As with property insurance, there are exclusions in the Commercial General Liability policy. For instance, pollution is one of those standard exclusions we can expect that insurers will contend that the virus would fall within that exclusion. It is possible that certain suits may be initiated however it does fall to the plaintiff to prove negligence. As always, refer to your policy wording and talk to your broker with specific questions.
What happens if I’m working from home? Do I have insurance protection?
Your personal insurance policy provides you with coverage for liability insurance only. You may have coverage for a limited amount of property like a computer, product samples etc. under your policy. Check with your insurance provider and also check with your employer to ensure that the commercial policy will extend to protect you in the event that something might happen arising from your work from home.
I have been forced to shut down my business and my premiums are due. What can I do?
The insurers recognize that is an unprecedented time and many policyholders will be struggling financially. Contact your broker to see what specific arrangements might be available for you.
What happens if I have a claim that is covered?
Most insurers already have 24/7 claims reporting. Underwriters and claims adjusters remain available as before. If you have a claim contact your broker or insurer directly and every effort is being made to ensure continued service.
If my business is closed, will my buildings, stock and equipment still be insured?
The normal vacancy clause allows for up to 30-days vacancy. However, the terms vacant and unoccupied may have different meanings. Please review your policy wording or check with your broker to see if you need an extension of coverage.