Homeowner’s Insurance Issues during Coronavirus Outbreak
At first glance, it seems like the coronavirus outbreak would not affect your homeowner’s coverage, since it’s a disease that isn’t likely to affect your premiums or force you to file an insurance claim if you or one of your family members contracts COVID-19.
But, because of the circumstances of many people now working from home and people self-isolating, there are a few instances you need to be aware of that could require you to take some action on your policies.
Also, if you have a claim at this time, you and the insurance company may need to make special arrangements as it’s unlikely that the insurer can send a claims adjuster to your home during the ongoing health crisis. And what if you can’t afford to renew your policies if your income stream has dried up?
Here’s what you should know about your homeowner’s insurance at this time.
Business at home
If you have had to move your business to your home, you may want to review your homeowner’s coverage. The typical homeowner’s police has very low limits on business property (usually up to about $2,000), which would likely not be enough if your equipment is damaged or stolen.
If you are suddenly running your business from home, please call us and we can go through your policy and, if needed, we can work with your insurer to see if they offer a home business endorsement or higher coverage limits for business property.
Also, if you are running an Airbnb out of your home for a room or another property, you should have purchased landlord coverage or home-sharing coverage as a typical homeowner’s policy may not cover damage incurred by paying guests.
At this time, you are likely not getting anybody staying at your place, so you should contact your insurance company about pausing or canceling coverage since you will have no need for it for a while.
Filing a claim
If you have an incident in your home and need to file a claim, there’s a good chance that your insurer will be unable to send an adjuster for an inspection. Most homeowner’s insurers now have apps or offer you the ability to file your claim online on their website.
The procedures for filing a claim using an app or doing it on your insurer’s website is pretty straightforward. You can start by taking pictures of the damage and providing receipts or a list of the property that may have been damaged or stolen. If it was stolen, make sure you file a police report and submit that with the claim as well.
However, if you have a high-dollar claim, the insurer may send an adjuster to inspect the damage before they pay the claim. For smaller claims, it’s likely they will pay them out.
What insurers are doing
Insurers are making adjustments to their operations and policies during this time as well. Their actions will vary from company to company, but there are similarities in some of their responses:
- Some insurers have announced that they won’t cancel a policy for a policyholder who is temporarily out of work or has seen their income drastically cut. These carriers are granting premium payment extensions.
- For those people whose policies may be in danger of lapsing because they cannot afford to pay the full premium, some insurers are working with them to reinstate the policies and set up a payment plan. They are often waiving reinstatement fees as well.
- Many insurers are postponing scheduled home inspections.
- If an insurer has asked that certain home repairs be carried out for a policy to renew, and the policyholder can’t meet the inspection deadline, some companies are giving more time to finish the repairs.
- Insurers are still running their call centers (in some areas, these staff are working from home).