FAQs - Coronavirus & Insurance

Do we answer your question below? Take a look, then get in touch if you are still none the wiser on your insurance query. 

Coronavirus FAQs

In these unprecedented times of global crisis, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our teams have compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions.  A number of these answers are courtesy of the Association of British Insurers and we will endeavour to update them as and when new information becomes available.

 

The High Court sat in session on the 2ndOctober 2020 to hear submissions from Insurers seeking leave to appeal the judgement that was handed down on the 15th September 2020.

The High Court has allowed the “Leap Frog Appeal” which means the case will now bypass the Court of Appeal and move straight to the Supreme Court

Neither Zurich nor Ecclesiastical Insurance have appealed the original High Court decision as the Court found in their favour and it has been determined that the Business Interruption extensions under their particular policies do not provide cover for losses as a direct result of the Covid Pandemic.

The other Insurers participating in the Test Case have four weeks from the 2ndOctober to enter their submissions at which point the Supreme Court will decide whether to accept the Appeal. If granted it is anticipated the hearing will take place prior to the end of the year with the judgement, which will be binding on all parties, to be delivered early in 2021.

The FCA has set expectations around keeping policyholders updated about the test case and its implications for potential claims under their relevant policies.

AXIS has provided a summary on our website and will update this as the case progresses: https://www.axiscapital.com/covid-19-resource-center/business-interruption

If you would like further information on the FCA test case, the FCA has a website which you may find useful:https://www.fca.org.uk/firms/business-interruption-insurance

Insurers are carefully monitoring the fast-moving developments of the coronavirus outbreak, and some have therefore withdrawn travel insurance for sale to new customers. Others have stopped covering cancellations or disruption related to the Coronavirus.

Insurance is based on assessing the possibility of an event occurring. Insurers take account of when any risk becomes more of a probability than a possibility and then make commercial decisions.

Be reassured, trips already booked abroad under existing policies remain unaffected. Travel insurance for non-Covid19 related risks also remains available.

If you travel against Government advice, then you are likely to invalidate your travel insurance.

Holidays are not classed as essential travel.  If you do need to travel, you should discuss your reasons for travel with your insurer whether or not your trip is likely to invalidate your insurance policy.

We would encourage all customers to follow Government advice and to also check with their broker/insurer prior to travel.

If you are required to be quarantined while abroad, you should be covered by your insurance policy, including any relevant medical expenses that are required. Your insurer may consider additional travel expenses at the end of the quarantined period to allow you to return home.

Many policies can be extended for a specific period, if you are unavoidably detained from returning to the UK.

In both instances you are advised to check with your insurer as soon as the situation arises.

Our brokers discuss the various commercial insurance options with potential clients to enable them to reach an informed decision as to what policy will be the best fit for their business needs.

Insurance policies are tailored to the individual needs of each business.  With no two businesses being 100% alike, business insurance is not a one size fits all approach.

Standard commercial insurance policies provide cover against a wide range of risks, including damage caused by fire, flood, losses by theft, accidents involving employees and the need for temporary trading premises in certain circumstances.

Only a very small number of businesses have the cover that specifically provides for contingency business interruption arising from notifiable diseases, such as COVID-19, where their premises have been contaminated.  This is not a common addition to commercial policies.

Business interruption insurance covers a business for loss of income during periods when they cannot carry out business as usual due to an unexpected event.  Details of the perils associated to these events will generally be specified in the policy.  The cover aims to replace certain losses sustained by the business during the period of the disruption.

The insurance may compensate the business for any increased running costs and/or shortfalls in profits, up to limits set out in the policy, that arise as a result of the specified event.

Most business interruption policies only provide cover for physical damage that is associated to a named peril, such as fire, flood or storm.  This will include damage to premises or equipment, and in some cases the breakdown of essential equipment as a result of the covered peril.

Some policies may also provide cover for business interruption due to people not being able to access the business due to a specific circumstance.  These circumstances will often include situations such as police cordoning off an area due to terrorism, a fire, or the risk of a building collapse.  In many cases this will be known as ‘restricted access’ cover or ‘non-damage business interruption’ cover and is usually an addition to a standard policy.

Standard business insurance policies are designed to insure standard risks and are therefore unlikely to cover global pandemics like COVID-19.  This will include forced closure by the authorities.

Some may have chosen to purchase cover that provides for business interruption arising from notifiable or infectious diseases.  The costs associated with cover for these unusual risks are often prohibitive to businesses.

Businesses who are concerned about the impacts of COVID-19 should check the scope of their cover, and check with their insurance broker.

Most notifiable disease extensions tend to cover specific diseases that will be named in the cover. If COVID-19 is not specified, then cover may not apply.

Some notifiable disease extensions are more general and do not specify certain diseases.  In these cases, business interruption cover for COVID-19 may apply.

Businesses who are concerned about the impacts of COVID-19 should check the scope of their cover, and check with their insurance broker.

Working from home, due to the need to self-isolate should be covered under standard home insurance policies, assuming that work is of a clerical nature.

If individuals are working from home and receiving business visitors to their home for business matters, they should check with their insurer as to what cover may be applicable. In some cases, there may be restrictions in cover such as loss of money or theft of property, unless there is evidence of forcible or violent entry.

Home insurance is unlikely to cover business equipment used.  Employers would be liable to ensure that their equipment is covered when away from the office.

For anyone unsure we recommend speaking to a broker or investigating working from home insurance.

Most standard home insurance policies do not provide cover for cleaning costs.

The safety of their customers and the wider community of the number one priority of any insurer.

Insurers will continue to provide cover for customers as promised in their policies, this includes finding the cost of alternative accommodation, whilst acting in accordance with the UK Government’s advice.

It is vitally important that you discuss your individual situation with your insurer.  Each claim in handled in a case-by-case basis to ensure the customer’s interests are best protected.

Insurers will be taking a pragmatic approach to individuals who are quarantined or stuck abroad and are unable to return to their property within the timescales set out in their policy.

However, individuals should contact their insurer to obtain advice on the issue.

It is a legal requirement to have valid car insurance unless you register your vehicle off the road and apply for a SORN. 

Different insurers have different processes for these situations.  We recommend speaking to your insurer or broker about individual circumstances and the options that may be available to you.

Insurers recognise the important role that voluntary organisations play, and most insurers cover volunteer driving with regular motor insurance policies.

If in doubt always check with your insurer or broker.

We can usually arrange travel insurance that covers pre-existing conditions.  However, if for some reason we are unable to find you affordable travel insurance for your medical conditions, the Money Advice Service has launched a directory listing companies that may be able to help you.  The directory can be accessed by clicking here or calling 0800 138 7777.

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