COVID-19 insurance considerations

By Robert Tidbury / 18 March 2020
3 min.
Worthwhile read for: Small Business Owner, CEO, COO, Business Manager, Landlord, Property Manager

Tips for insurance coverage during the COVID-19 outbreak

The recent outbreak of COVID-19 is having a major impact on businesses, both large and small.  You may be wondering whether potential losses are covered under your various insurance policies and whether your business requires any further coverage.

Our Insurance and Risk team have put together the following tips for businesses likely to be impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19:

  • Scope of cover: Commercial insurance policies provide cover against a wide range of risks, that can be tailored to the needs of individual businesses, including extensions to cover. Businesses who are concerned about the impacts of COVID-19 should check the scope of their cover, and check with their insurance adviser or broker. 
  • Business interruption: It is unlikely that standard insurance policies will cover loss resulting from business interruption due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Business insurance policies are typically designed and priced to cover standard risks and are unlikely to provide cover for the effects of global pandemics such as COVID-19.
  • Coverage for diseases: Businesses may have chosen to purchase cover that will specifically provide for business interruption arising from ‘notifiable diseases’. However, this type of extension is not commonly included in standard policies.
  • Notifiable diseases: Typically, notifiable disease extensions cover specific diseases that will be listed in the policy. If COVID-19 is not specified, then cover may not apply. Some notifiable disease extensions are more general and do not list specific diseases. In these cases, business interruption cover may apply if COVID-19 impacts the business. If you are unsure about what your policy covers your business for, check with the insurance broker you purchased the policy from or your insurer if you purchased it directly.
  • Commercial and residential properties left vacant: Owners of commercial and/or residential premises left vacant for extended periods as result of the need to relocate during the COVID-19 pandemic should check the scope of their public liability policy, property and home/contents insurance policies. It is common for these types of policies to exclude coverage for vandalism, water damage, theft and other losses if the premises are unoccupied for an extended period.

If you require advice in relation to the coverage provided under your business, public liability, home/contents or other insurance policy or if you require assistance in relation to preparing and lodging a claim on your insurance policy, please contact a member of our Insurance and Risk team for advice.

Robert Tidbury
Robert is the lead Partner and head of HopgoodGanim Lawyers’ Insurance practice.
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