Can I File a Business Interruption Insurance Claim Because of the COVID-19 Outbreak?
Posted on behalf of Phillips Law Group on Apr 16, 2020 in Personal Injury
Across the nation, businesses large and small have suffered tremendous financial losses because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some have been forced to shut down because of stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders and social distancing guidelines.
If your business has lost money because of the coronavirus pandemic, and you have business interruption insurance, you may be able to file a claim for compensation to help get through this difficult time.
At Phillips Law Group, we have decades of combined experience helping policyholders recover compensation for damages. We have detailed knowledge of what is covered and what is not and are prepared to review the terms of your policy and negotiate for compensation for covered losses.
Our licensed attorneys understand how challenging this pandemic has been and how important compensation can be to the survival and health of your business.
Coverage from Business Interruption Insurance Policies
This insurance is meant to cover a business’ loss of income after a disaster, including losses from closing the business because of a disaster and/or the cost of rebuilding after a natural disaster.
If you have an all-risk policy, you may be covered for losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. You may also be covered if your policy lists government orders or infectious diseases as covered losses.
Business interruption insurance is not the same as property insurance, which may provide compensation for physical damage to the business from something like an earthquake or other natural disaster. However, your property insurance policy may include business interruption insurance.
The purpose of a business interruption insurance policy is to provide compensation to help put the business back in the position it would be in if the disaster had not happened.
Are COVID-19 losses covered by these policies?
This is a question you should ask a licensed attorney, as each policy is unique. You may be able to obtain coverage because a shelter-in-place or stay-at-home order may have prevented you from accessing your business, causing a loss in profits.
One thing to consider is that some insurers changed the language in their policies after the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak of 2003 so these policies would exclude coverage after viral outbreaks.
Compensation from a Business Interruption Insurance Policy
This will depend on the terms of your policy, which some businesses negotiate with the insurance company. That said, there are often certain kinds of damages for which you can seek compensation:
- Lost profits – You may be able to claim profits you would have earned if not for the pandemic.
- Operating expenses – This covers the operating costs you still owe while your business has been interrupted.
- Relocation – You may need to relocate your business during a disaster, often because of physical damage. You may be able to obtain compensation for the cost of relocating.
- Cost for commission and training – If you need to replace machinery damaged in the disaster, you may be able to obtain compensation to cover the cost of training the operators of the machinery.
- Other expenses – These are reasonable expenses that allow you to continue operating your business when the physical location is not accessible.
What Happens if the Insurer Denies My Claim?
Insurance companies may be losing money during this difficult time, along with many other businesses. Even in a strong economy, they often delay or offer less compensation than policyholders may deserve. Insurance companies also have a history of refusing to honor business interruption insurance policies. What’s more, they may have seen a huge increase in claims because of the pandemic.
If the insurance company denies your claim, you may still be able to obtain compensation. However, battling the insurance company on your own is not a good idea. Having a licensed attorney at your side can help level the playing field. You may need to file a lawsuit to obtain the coverage available in your policy.
Be careful what you tell the insurance company if and when they contact you. Statements you make could hurt your claim and you may not even realize it.
Contact Phillips Law Group Today to Discuss Your Claim
We know you may have many questions about your business interruption insurance policy. We are available to discuss the situation in a free legal consultation, with no obligation to hire our firm. Our lawyers do not get paid unless they recover compensation on your behalf.
Time is of the essence, so it is important to get the process started as soon as possible. Insurance companies often deny or delay legitimate claims.
Our founder Jeff Phillips is a member of the National Trial Lawyers Association – Top 100 and has served as lead counsel in more than 40 jury trials.