Homeowners Insurance And Coronavirus: What You Need To Know

Key Points
• The COVID-19 Coronavirus will not affect your homeowners insurance coverage.
• You may want to increase your liability and/or business property coverage with the family at home more often during the pandemic.
• Other policies may need to be added or paused.
• Don’t take offense to a more “remote” approach to servicing your claims.

It is unlikely the COVID-19 pandemic will directly affect your homeowners insurance coverages; however, there are some changes that could happen or considerations you should be making in regard to your coverage.
Homeowners insurance provides the insured with financial protection against damages to the structure of your home, belongings, and potential added living expenses should you be forced from your home in an emergency. Homeowners insurance also provides coverage for legal and medical expenses related to select cases of personal liability.

So, How Will COVID-19 Affect My Homeowners Policy?
It makes sense that COVID-19 has affected coverage policies like life, medical, travel, auto, and disability coverage. But how is your homeowners insurance affected?
The current functioning of your policy is not affected, but due to the COVID-19 response, you may want to consider making changes to your current policy. If you have a claim you need to file or are in the middle of the claim process, there may be a slight impact in how things are being handled in response.

Changes To Coverage
COVID-19 isn’t going to damage the structure of your home or your belongings, but it may affect your liability coverage. With kids performing their schooling remotely/virtually and many people are moving their jobs home, changes to your policy may be necessary.

You may want to discuss your liability coverage with your independent insurance agent at Magruder to determine if damage to loaned computer equipment or technology from school is included in your coverage. As well as ensuring you have enough coverage against liability your children may pose to neighbors (like a game of baseball in the backyard leading to a smashed window).

Home Business Property Insurance
If you are now working from home due to COVID-19, but under an employer, you’ll need to speak with your insurance agent about whether your employer’s business property coverage is enough or if you’ll need to add on protection to your homeowners policy. Those who are self-employed as a freelancer or run their own business may already have business property insurance—double check to make sure your coverage applies to working out of a home office.

Other Scenarios
If you own rental property or a vacation home—but due to the pandemic, aren’t renting out your space, then you may want to consider pausing coverage for these properties. In addition, home-sharing coverage should also be put on hold for those who put their home on Airbnb or VRBO.

How Coronavirus May Impact Your Homeowners Insurance Claims
To avoid spreading the Coronavirus or risking contracting it, covered parties are encouraged to go online, use their carrier’s app, or call to initiate the claim process. Due to the precautions recommended by the CDC and enforced by governments in some areas, having an adjuster come to you to document damage may not be possible. Be prepared to use photo or video documentation for your claim.
Active claims may take a bit longer to complete but insurance carriers are making adjustments as issues arise.

How Some Home Insurance Carriers Are Responding To COVID-19
Each carrier is responding to the coronavirus differently and are adjusting their procedures as necessary to ensure a smooth claim and policy process. The following do not apply to all carriers across the board but are examples of what some of our partnered companies are doing to help their customers. You can contact us or your carrier directly to see what new policies they have in place for your specific claim or policy situation.
• Offering premium payment extensions to individuals who are directly impacted by COVID-19
• Reinstating coverage and waiving fees to do so if your policy lapsed due to financial complications caused by COVID-19.
• Homes needed repair in order to maintain an active policy are being provided a deadline extension to find a home inspector willing to come out.
• Home inspections may be allowed to be performed by an out-of-network company if those sanctioned by the insurance company are not in operation.
• Many of the employees of insurance companies have moved to working at home, so there is little disruption to policy service; although call times may be increased as workers get their home stations set up.

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