In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses in South Carolina and all across the United States have closed down to reduce the spread of the virus. While this will contribute to keeping hospitals stable and saving lives, it’s a precarious time for business owners.
As a business owner, you know your legal obligations when it comes to insurance coverage. However, there are so many additional coverage options you should be aware of. When you recognize the different policies available, you’ll be able to understand how business insurance benefits differ during a pandemic than in a natural disaster.
If you’ve been affected by COVID-19, Solomon Law Group may be able to help your businesses. You may run into denial problems if you go to file a claim, but we can help you file a business insurance dispute and put you on track to receiving the money you need to keep your business alive. In order to understand what you need to do to protect your business during the coronavirus pandemic, first let’s take a look at common policies for natural disasters.
Property Insurance Policies for Natural Disasters
Not all businesses face the same risks, which is why it’s important for each owner to review their coverage and ensure they are covering all their bases. Depending on where a business is located and what the time of year is, an owner could be concerned about flooding, fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, or snowstorms.
A solid policy will cover property, perils, deductibles limits, and exclusions. When you review the different types of coverage, they’ll often be included under a single property insurance policy. Some of the coverages to look into include the following:
- Physical Loss or Property Damage Policy. This coverage takes care of physical loss or damage, including raw materials, inventory, equipment, and buildings. In the event of a weather event that destroys your place of business, this coverage will help you rebuild. In most situations, the money to replace or repair what’s been damaged is included.
- Debris Removal Coverage. With many natural disasters, there’s a lot of debris that needs to be removed. Removal is often expensive, which is why debris removal coverage is a common property insurance policy. This coverage will ensure you have the means to clear and clean up your property so you can focus on getting operations back up.
- Extra Expense Coverage. When a natural disaster strikes, there are bound to be additional expenses that pop up. When you have extra expenses coverage, you’ll have access to the funds you need when you need them. For example, you may need to purchase generators if electricity will be down for some time after a storm.
- Business Interruption Coverage. Business interruption coverage is designed to cover lost income and profits after a natural disaster. There is usually a 72-hour waiting period before this coverage kicks in.
In order to ensure your business has the coverage it needs to stay standing in the midst of a disaster, speak with a lawyer and an insurance specialist. Together, they’ll be able to help you protect your business no matter what happens.
Protecting Your Rights During a Pandemic
While insurance coverage is readily available for natural disasters, options for losses related to pandemics are not. Currently, many businesses are suffering losses in connection to COVID-19. Because such losses are not caused by the type of physical damage required to file a traditional claim, it’s likely claims will be denied.
For example, business interruption insurance could potentially save businesses from having to close completely after the pandemic has passed. Currently, however, that type of coverage only applies to physical damage. It’s likely, as a result, there will be opposition from insurers.
During this confusing time, there are steps business owners can take to protect themselves from the effects of the coronavirus. It starts by closely analyzing the existing insurance policies and reviewing governing law. If a policy does not expressly define terms or is ambiguous, a business owner could use that to their advantage is their initial claim is denied. It’s also important to make note of virus exclusions. The law interpreting virus exclusions is underdeveloped, which means there is no clear precedent for how cases should be handled.
In addition to having a comprehensive understanding of their insurance coverage, business owners should stay up-to-date with legislative developments. States are starting to consider bills to force insurance companies to cover business interruption losses caused by COVID-19. While there’s no way to predict what lawmakers will decide, being aware of future developments is crucial if you’re submitting a claim or dispute.
Get Help From Solomon Law Group
With this unprecedented situation, it has yet to be seen how insurance companies will react to business insurance claims for losses related to the coronavirus. If you file a claim and receive a denial, you can file a dispute. If you choose to do so, working with a Columbia lawyer from Solomon Law Group will ensure you have everything you need to pursue a successful appeal. To learn more, contact us today.