Coronavirus: How Will Your Insurance be Impacted?

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Since its initial emergence in December 2019, coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has spread across 157 countries and territories*.

With over 169,000 confirmed cases worldwide*, the coronavirus outbreak has significantly impacted international trade markets, with countries enforcing precautionary measures in a bid to contain the crisis.

In New Zealand, there have now been eight reported cases of coronavirus*. The impending threat of more cases coming to light is undeniable, with rising concerns being felt across the country.

As required under such circumstances, insurers are continually reviewing and assessing the ongoing relevance of their policies. Thus, it’s important you stay up-to-date with and understand the implications of coronavirus on your cover.

The existing climate is complex, and insurance policies differ between providers.

By speaking with your insurance provider, you can ensure you’re fully aware of your cover’s details, including any exclusions, during this volatile time.

While the following may act as a general guide, it’s suggested that you contact your insurance provider for information based on your specific policy.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance Policies Purchased After the 2nd of March 2020

If your travel insurance policy was purchased after March 2nd 2020, you won’t be covered for certain events associated with coronavirus. This includes the cancellation or delay of travel, as well as the loss of deposits.

For those with an Annual Business Travel policy, there are various dates after which these restrictions will apply. Such details vary depending on the insurer – your broker can advise you of these dates.

Travel Insurance Policies Purchased Before the 2nd of March 2020

From the 23rd of January 2020, the vast majority of providers placed restrictions on their policies, specifically those covering the Hubei Province in China. This was later extended to include mainland China on February 2nd.

If during or around this time you’ve incurred a travel-related loss because of coronavirus, speak with your insurer for advice tailored to your situation.  

It’s worth taking into consideration that, regardless of when your travel insurance was arranged, in most instances, ‘disinclination to travel’ isn’t covered. This means that, if you postpone or cancel your planned trip due to concerns about being exposed to infected travellers, you often won’t be entitled to compensation.

At this point in time, insurers have classified the coronavirus outbreak as a ‘known event’. As this could have direct implications for your travel cover, if you’re planning an overseas trip, it’s highly recommended that you get informed advice from your broker.

Material Damage and Business Interruption Insurance

Under the Health Act 1956, material damage and business interruption policies usually exclude cover for notifiable infectious disease. In addition to this, for a claim to be successful, applicants must evidence that they’ve endured a physical loss or physical damage.

Because of these terms, material damage and business interruption policies typically don’t cover any losses directly related to the coronavirus outbreak.

Marine Cargo Insurance

Shipments are incurring notable delays, including those going to and from New Zealand. Marine policies are unlikely to provide compensation for such occurrences as, usually, financial loss as a direct result of delays isn’t covered.

For more information, or if you have any concerns regarding the topics discussed in this article, please speak with your insurance advisor.

*All stats are accurate as of 16/03/20 12pm NZDT

DISCLAIMER

Conditions apply for each policy and the information expected from you for a policy to trigger. Coverage may differ based on specific clauses in individual policies. Please ask your advisor to explain the additional benefits and exclusions pertaining to your policy. The information provided is general advice only and does not take account of your personal circumstances or needs.