The coronavirus pandemic has triggered a sudden crisis for many businesses as they are forced to pivot or temporarily close down to preserve public health. We understand that you and your business are facing new challenges and may have questions about your business insurance. We hope this article may answer some of your coronavirus business insurance questions.
Can I cancel my business insurance?
Yes, business insurance can be cancelled at any time. If you’ve paid in advance, you’ll receive a refund for premiums paid for the remaining policy term.
Your policy is subject to cancellation terms, which your broker can outline and guide you through the process.
We recommend reviewing your contractual agreements and loan commitements before cancelling your business insurance policy. You may be required to carry a certain level of coverage or may be exposed to additional risks should you cancel your protection.
Can I defer my business insurance payments during the COVID-19 pandemic?
You may be able to defer premium payments for a certain period of time, however, this depends on your insurance company. As your broker, we can take your request to defer business insurance payments to the insurer. It is up to them if they will allow it.
Currently, the situation is very fluid and is evolving. If you need to defer your business insurance payments, please contact your insurance broker as soon as possible.
Some insurers are offering:
- Payment deferral options (between 7 and 120 days)
- Waiving NSF fees
- Temporarily extending coverage (including waiving cancellations for non-payment)
However, other insurance companies are not offering payment deferrals, waiving fees, extending coverage, or waiving non-payment cancellations. This is why it is critical that you talk to your broker.
Do I need business insurance if it is not operating during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Yes, you need business insurance even if you’re not operating during the COVID-19 crisis. Here’s why:
- Your property, equipment, and vehicles can still suffer loss and damage
- You may have contractual insurance obligations
- You would need to use cash to repair any damage if you had no insurance coverage
- Tough times often see an increase in claims (more crime, vacant buildings, et cetera)
How can I save money on business insurance during the coronavirus crisis?
You may be able to save money on your business insurance during the coronavirus crisis by:
- Amending coverage limits
- Deleting unnecessary coverages
- Changing the type of coverage or status from “operating” to “parked” or “idle”
Your broker is your best resource for saving money on your business insurance during the coronavirus crisis. It is important to consider the following before amending coverages:
- Contractual obligations that include insurance provisions (including mortgages, loans, lease agreements, franchise agreements, job-specific)
- Issued Certificates of Insurance (often require 30-days notice clause, others may require for their own contractual obligations)
- Other risks to your property
My building is now vacant or temporarily unoccupied. Are there any risks I should be aware of?
If your building is now vacant or temporarily unoccupied, there is increased risk of vandalism, theft, water damage and fire.
You should notify your broker and insurance company if you’re leaving your premises empty.
Here are some tips to help protect your vacant or temporarily unoccupied business:
- Have the building checked at least twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. We suggest that all visits are logged.
- Shut off water at the water main. This may cause additional complexities with sprinkler systems that are intended to mitigate and reduce significant damage due to fire. Discuss this with your Account Executive first.
- Arm your alarm systems.
- Maintain a normal level of exterior and interior lighting.
- If possible, have a minimum of one vehicle on-site to create the appearance someone is in the building. You may want to reposition the vehicle periodically.
- Ensure that the heat is on and operational.
Please remember that these questions and answers are generalizations and may not apply to every policy.
Although many of our locations are closed for walk-ins and in-person meetings, your broker is available to answer your questions and address your concerns by phone or email. They can help you review changes to your company’s operations and provide advice on how your insurance can adapt. Every situation is unique which why we recommend discussing it with your insurance broker.