COVID-19 Small Business Insurance
Survival Guide

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Coronavirus Small Business Commercial Insurance Information

COVID-19 Small Business Insurance Survival Guide

COVID-19 Small Business Insurance Survival Guide. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has brought the US economy to a fast halt. The economic fallout is going will last for months, and probably years.

As congress and other state and local government authorities work to bolster areas of the economy, it's important to understand what commercial insurance resources you have available to you as a small business owner.

Even if you're lucky enough to be in an industry that doesn't require you to shut down operations nearly 100% while the pandemic rages, there are still losses to bear and risks to manage. This is true even if you find innovative new ways to serve customers online.

In this time of uncertainty it's vital to know what your business insurance policy will and won't do. That's what the COVID-19 Small Business Insurance Survival Guide is all about.

Read the COVID-19 Small Business Insurance Survival Guide to get answers about how your commercial insurance can protect you from losses due to the the Coronavirus pandemic.

Below are answers to common coverage questions COVID-19 claims:

Will My Business Interruption Insurance Cover My Financial Losses During The COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic?

Coronavirus 2019 nCOV

Check your individual policy, but there may be bad news.

After the 2003 SARS epidemic most insurance policies added a clause which excluded them from covering companies with business loss policies in the event of an epidemic or pandemic.

Some states, like New Jersey, are trying to enact legislation to make them pay anyway.

The insurance industry argues that having to be responsible for billions of dollars of coverage that was not accounted for in their premiums could collapse the industry. Lawmakers are responding by saying insurance providers have to be at least part of the solution.

It's uncertain where this will all shake out, but for the moment your business interruption policy is not a good thing to rely on.

For more in-depth information, check out Does Business Interruption Insurance Cover COVID-19 Coronavirus?.

Can I Buy A Policy For COVID-19 Losses AFTER a Coronavirus Related Loss Occurs?

No. Just as you can't purchase life insurance on a person that already died, you can't buy business insurance coverage for a loss that has already happened.

Commercial insurance companies require you to attest that you have "no known losses" before they will issue a policy. A claim filed for a Coronavirus (COVID-19) loss that took place before the policy was in force will be denied.

Can I Make Claims For COVID-19 Losses On Other Policies?

COVID-19 Losses

It's possible.

Workers Compensation Insurance

If an employee contracts coronavirus, is my business liable for related healthcare and other costs?

You won't be sued, but in some states this can make them eligible for workers compensation insurance. However, most workers comp policies don't cover "ordinary diseases of life." Since COVID-19 is novel, we don't know how it will be classified.

Any workers comp claims require employees to demonstrate that the COVID-19 illness arose both out of and in the course of their employment "on the job" while interacting with clients, customers, coworkers, or vendors. If employees can't show this, the claim will be denied.

There are two conditions that must be met before any illness or disease (including the Coronavirus) is classified as occupational and then is eligible to be covered under worker's compensation:

  1. The illness or disease must be occupational - it was acquired while 'on the job'.
  2. The illness or disease must arise out of or be caused by the conditions unique to the work being done.

An easy way to think about this is - Was the employee benefitting the employer when exposed?

Other states are only allowing claims from health care providers and first responders. Check your state's workers compensation and COVID-19 guidelines.

If you any of your employees have contracted the Coronavirus, contact your workers compensation carrier's claims department to start the claims process.

You should also have a conversation with your insurance agent about the specifics of your workers compensation policy, how COVID-19 could impact your premiums, and what you can do to improve workplace safety so as to reduce pandemic claims.

Key Person Life Insurance

Key person insurance could step in if COVID-19 has taken the life of named officer of your company.

Where Can I Get Coronavirus Insurance Coverage?

As of March 2020, there are no business insurance policies explicitly offering coverage for COVID-19 Coronavirus.

However, there are ways that you can limit losses:

  • Allow employees to work from home
  • Cancel nonessential meetings and travel
  • Enforcing strict employee safety guidelines
  • Offering services like webinars, phone conferences and delivery
  • Safety precautions to guard against exposures using the latest hygiene standards
  • Social distancing of employees and customers

If My Insurance Company Won't Help Me, Who Will?

As it turns out, there are already a number of economic relief opportunities.

First, you can look into an SBA economic injury disaster loans. Small business owners in all U.S. states and territories are currently eligible to apply for a low-interest loan due to Coronavirus (COVID-19). You can use the loan to pay fixed debts, to make payroll, to pay bills, and to pay employee sick leave. According the SBA Disaster Loan website:

"The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Upon a request received from a state's or territory's Governor, SBA will issue under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration.

  • Any such Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance declaration issued by the SBA makes loans available statewide to small businesses and private, non-profit organizations to help alleviate economic injury caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). This will apply to current and future disaster assistance declarations related to Coronavirus.
  • SBA's Office of Disaster Assistance will coordinate with the state's or territory's Governor to submit the request for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance.
  • Once a declaration is made, the information on the application process for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance will be made available to affected small businesses within the state.
  • SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
  • These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can't be paid because of the disaster's impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
  • SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower's ability to repay.
  • SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loans are just one piece of the expanded focus of the federal government's coordinated response, and the SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible.

You can check whether your state is on the list by visiting the SBA Disaster Loan Assistance Portal.

If you're not eligible for a disaster loan you may be able to find relief in other ways. For example, many banks are offering payment arrangements or payment holidays to business owners. If you lease your business location you may get relief from your landlord.

COVID-19 Small Business Insurance Survival Guide - The Bottom Line

If the COVID-19 outbreak has hurt your business, it makes sense to reach out to your insurance carrier to discuss your loss exposures and go over any relevant coverages.

However, with so many new commercial insurance issues brought up by Coronavirus, there are no hard and fast rules to predict if any type of COVID-19 related claim will be covered. The only way to really know if your business small insurance policy will cover a loss is to review the terms and conditions of the particular policy, speak with a knowledgeable insurance broker and file a claim with your insurer.

Types Of Small Business Insurance - Requirements & Regulations

Perhaps you have the next great idea for a product or service that you know will appeal to your local area. If you've got a business, you've got risks. Unexpected events and lawsuits can wipe out a business quickly, wasting all the time and money you've invested.

Operating a business is challenging enough without having to worry about suffering a significant financial loss due to unforeseen and unplanned circumstances. Small business insurance can protect your company from some of the more common losses experienced by business owners, such as property damage, business interruption, theft, liability, and employee injury.

Purchasing the appropriate commercial insurance coverage can make the difference between going out of business after a loss or recovering with minimal business interruption and financial impairment to your company's operations.

Small Business Information

Insurance is so important to proper business function that both federal governments and state governments require companies to carry certain types. Thus, being properly insured also helps you protect your company by protecting it from government fines and penalties.

Small Business Insurance Information

In the business world, there are many risks faced by company's every day. The best way that business owners can protect themselves from these perils is by carrying the right insurance coverage.

The The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is the U.S. standard-setting and regulatory support organization. Through the NAIC, state insurance regulators establish standards and best practices, conduct peer review, and coordinate their regulatory oversight.

Commercial insurance is particularly important for small business owners, as they stand to lose a lot more. Should a situation arise - a lawsuit, property damage, theft, etc. - small business owners could end up facing serious financial turmoil.

According to the SBA, having the right insurance plan in place can help you avoid major pitfalls. Your business insurance should offer coverage for all of your assets. It should also include liability and casual coverage.

Types Of Small Business Insurance

Choosing the right type of coverage is absolutely vital. You've got plenty of options. Some you'll need. Some you won't. You should know what's available. Once you look over your options you'll need to conduct a thorough risk assessment. As you evaluate each type of insurance, ask yourself:

  • What type of business am I running?
  • What are common risks associated with this industry?
  • Does this type of insurance cover a situation that could feasibly arise during the normal course of doing business?
  • Does my state require me to carry this type of insurance?
  • Does my lender or do any of my investors require me to carry this type of policy?

A licensed insurance agent or broker in your state can help you determine what kinds of coverages are prudent for your business types. If you find one licensed to sell multiple policies from multiple companies (independent agents) that person can often help you get the best insurance rates, too. Following is some information on some of the most common small business insurance policies:

Business Insurance Policy Type What Is Covered?
General Liability InsuranceWhat is covered under commercial general liability insurance? It steps in to pay claims when you lose a lawsuit with an injured customer, employee, or vendor. The injury could be physical, or it could be a financial loss based on advertising practices.
Workers Compensation InsuranceWhat is covered under workers compensation insurance? This type of insurance protects a business and its owner(s) from claims by employees who suffer a work-related injury, illness or disease. Workers comp typically provides the injured employee with benefits to cover medical expenses, a portion of his/her lost wages, rehabilitation costs if applicable, and permanent partial or permanent total disability.
Product Liability InsuranceWhat is covered under product liability insurance? I pays an injured party's settlement or lawsuit claim arising from a defective product. These are usually caused by design defects, manufacturing defects, or a failure to provide adequate warning or instructions as to how to safely use the product.
Commercial Property InsuranceWhat is covered under business property insurance? General liability policies don't cover damages to your business property. That's what commercial property insurance is for. It protects all of the physical parts of your business: your building, your inventory, and your equipment, giving you the funds you need to replace them in the event of a disaster. If you work from home, you might consider a Home Based Business Insurance policy instead.
Business Owners Policy (BOP)What is covered under a business owners policy (BOP)? This is a policy designed for small, low-risk businesses. It simplifies the basic insurance purchase process by combining general liability policies with business income and commercial property insurance.
Commercial Auto InsuranceWhat is covered under business auto insurance? This type of insurance covers automobiles being used for business purposes. This could include a fleet of business-only vehicles or a single company car. In some cases it might cover your car or your employee's car while they're being used for business. These policies have much higher limits, ensuring you can cover your costs if one of these vehicles gets into an accident.
Commercial Umbrella PoliciesWhat is covered under commercial umbrella insurance? This type of policy is a sort of "gap" insurance. It covers your liability in the event that a court verdict or settlement exceeds your general liability policy limits.
Liquor Liability InsuranceWhat is covered under liquor liability insurance? It covers bodily injury or property damage caused by an intoxicated person who was served liquor by the policy holder.
Professional Liability (Errors & Omissions)What is covered under professional liability insurance? This type of business insurance is also known as malpractice oe E&O. It covers the damages that can arise from major mistakes, especially in high-stakes professions where mistakes can be devastating.
Surety BondWhat is covered under surety bonds? Bonding is a contract where one party, the SURETY (who assures the obligee that the principal can perform the task), guarantees the performance of certain obligations of a second party, the PRINCIPAL (the contractor or business who will perform the contractual obligation), to a third party, the OBLIGEE (the project owner who is the recipient of an obligation).

Who Needs General Liability Insurance? - Virtually every business. A single lawsuit or settlement could bankrupt your business five times over. You might also need this policy to win business. Many companies and government agencies won't do business with your company until you can produce proof that you've obtained one of these policies.

Business Insurance Required by Law
Small Business Commercial Insurance

If you have any employees most states will require you to carry worker's compensation and unemployment insurance. Some states require you to insure yourself even if you are the only employee working in the business.

Your insurance agent can help you check applicable state laws so you can bring your business into compliance.

Other Types Of Small Business Insurance

There are dozens of other, more specialized forms of small business insurance capable of covering specific problems and risks. These forms of insurance include:

  • Business Interruption Insurance
  • Commercial Flood Insurance
  • Contractor's Insurance
  • Cyber Liability
  • Data Breach
  • Directors and Officers
  • Employment Practices Liability
  • Environmental or Pollution Liability
  • Management Liability
  • Sexual Misconduct Liability

Whether you need any or all of these policies will depend on the results of your risk assessment. For example, you probably don't need an environmental or pollution policy if you're running an IT company out of a leased office, but you would need data breach and cyber liability policies to fully protect your business.

Also learn about small business insurance requirements for general liability, business property, commercial auto & workers compensation including small business commercial insurance costs. Call us (855) 767-7828.

More Helpful Commercial Insurance Articles

Read informative articles on small business commercial insurance including costs and coverages.

Small Business Insurance Articles

Get useful tips and information about how much commercial insurance costs, small business risks and exposures, how insurance regulations effect your businesses' and detailed descriptions of coverages and exclusions and more. Most small businesses need to buy the following four types of insurance at a minimum to cover their operations from every day risks:

Property Insurance: This policy covers a business if the property used in the business is damaged or stolen as the result of common perils like fire or theft. Commercial property insurance covers the buildings, structures and also business personal property - which includes furniture, inventory, raw materials, machinery, computers and other items.

Liability Insurance: Any company can be sued. Slip-and fall lawsuits are very common and be costly. Customers can claim you injured them or damaged their property - and lawsuits are very expensive. Commercial liability insurance pays damages and can include attorney's fees and other legal expenses. It also ca pay for the medical bills of injured third parties

Commercial Auto Insurance: For vehicles owned by the business. Commercial auto insurance pays bodily injury or property damage costs for which the business is found liable - up the the policy limits for liability and property damage.

Workers Compensation Insurance: In almost every state employers must provide workers comp when there are W2 employees. Workers compensation pays for the medical care of employees and can replace a portion of lost wages - regardless of who was at fault for the injuries.

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