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What should small business owners know about insurance policies during COVID-19?

Businesses all over the First Coast are feeling the impact from the coronavirus. Many are being forced to close their doors altogether or limit their service.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — While President Donald Trump has announced a $1 trillion plan to help stabilize the economy and keep businesses afloat, that plan may not take effect until April and many small business owners are wondering what they can do right now to stay financially stable.

Businesses all over the First Coast are feeling the impact from the coronavirus. Many are being forced to close their doors altogether or limit their service. With such financial losses, many owners inquired about the eligibility for 'loss of income' through their insurance policy.

State Farm agent and Jacksonville City Councilman Matt Carlucci tells First Coast News he's been busy answering that question, among other concerns, for his clients, so he wanted to pass along some advice for other business owners. 

Q: Is a business owner eligible for loss of income under their insurance policy during this crisis with COVID-19?

A: There has to be a covered loss to trigger business interruption coverage; if there is not a covered loss business interruption coverage is not triggered. A general loss resulting from viruses capable of inducing illness or disease are not covered. Each scenario may be unique and specific circumstances of the event will determine if a covered loss has occurred which will trigger this kind of coverage. There has to be a covered loss to trigger business interruption coverage; if there is not a covered loss business interruption coverage is not triggered. In general loss caused by or resulting from viruses capable of inducing illness or disease it is not covered. Each scenario maybe unique and specific circumstances of the event will determine if a covered loss has occurred which will trigger this kind of coverage.

Q: Since that is not an option, what is an alternative? 

A: Every business is different and owners will have to come up with different approaches to the market and/or take care of other customers while maintaining safe distancing measures and staying within the confines of the new restrictions. As restaurants look to just utilize out orders, other businesses that sell commodities might want to look to technology as a way to reach customers and make sales, but make no mistake about it, businesses will suffer and we are already suffering because of this unprecedented virus to invade our country and city. It has affected my business, well. 

Q: Should people contact their own insurance companies for specific policy questions?

A: Business owners should certainly contact their insurance companies to see if any business interruption coverage may apply at this time, but it’s my opinion there would be very few, if any, that would cover for this occurrence. If someone is down with a virus and it lasts a long time they might be able to utilize disability coverage. Disability policies usually have at least a 30-day waiting period.