May 01, 2020

Does My Business Insurance Cover Losses From COVID-19?

Possibly yes; it depends on the policy, and it depends on whether you take action.

Because this is a new and evolving situation, courts and government officials are making decisions on insurance coverage for coronavirus right now.

Some insurance policies are better than others for supporting these claims, but the bottom line is that every policy is different and needs to be evaluated as such.

We can evaluate your business interruption insurance policy free-of-charge, and we are working to help businesses assess whether their policies should cover their losses. If we decide that we’re able to help, we can assist you with the process of filing an insurance claim, or potentially filing a lawsuit if your insurer refuses to pay.

Will It Be Expensive If I Get Help From Your Law Firm?

We can help your business with no out-of-pocket cost to you.

First, we can evaluate your policy free-of-charge. Then, if we determine that we can help, our work is done on a contingency fee basis. That means if we file a business interruption insurance lawsuit on your behalf, we only get paid if we successfully recover money from your insurance provider.

How Can I Tell If I Have Business Interruption Insurance?

If you have it, it may be rolled into one of the following:

  • General liability insurance
  • Commercial property insurance
  • Business owner’s insurance

You should be aware that whenever you renew your policy, it’s common for insurers to send you only a few pages with updates to “declarations,” which lists limits to the main policy. You may have gotten a full copy of your policy at the time that you first purchased the insurance; you can also ask your insurance agent for a full copy.

If you send us your policy, we can help determine whether you have business interruption insurance.

What If My Insurance Agent Says Coronavirus Isn’t Covered?

Don’t assume what they’re saying is right. You should know that insurance companies do all they can to avoid paying out. During this pandemic, we’ve heard of insurance companies instructing agents to discourage business owners from filing claims by issuing blanket statements about not covering coronavirus.

But the law requires insurance companies to fairly consider each claim. That includes investigating the details of your specific situation and considering the specific wording of your policy.

The law also says that insurance companies don’t have the final say on whether the policies they’ve sold cover coronavirus; a court can still rule in your favor. If you send us a copy of your policy, we can help determine whether you have a claim.

What If My Policy Has A Clause Excluding Virus?

You may still have a claim. In the past several years, some insurance companies have unilaterally added a clause attempting to exclude virus in the policies they’ve sold.

However, insurance law says that the burden is on insurers to be clear in their language. For example, the clause may exclude contamination from virus, but your property may have been closed due to government orders, rather than virus contamination. If something is ambiguous, there’s a strong argument that you should get more coverage rather than less. 

What Should I Do Next?

  • Send us a copy of your policy: be sure to send a copy of the full policy, rather than just the “declarations.”
  • Maintain records of your business losses and expenses.
  • Maintain records of all communication with your insurance company: keep in mind that it’s possible for insurance agents to say something on the phone but then fail to follow through.
  • Be aware that many insurance companies have a tactic of denying claims first: if this happens, we can tell you whether we think you still have a claim, and you can decide whether to file a lawsuit.

Who Should I Contact?

Please contact the Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC and Gibbs Law Group LLP Business Insurance Interruption Litigation Hot Line: 1.800.924.7107 or email: BusinessInterruption@classlawgroup.com