Coronavirus and business insurance

Business owners are understandably concerned about the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on their business, staff, supply chains and revenue. We look at what help is available.

Business owners are understandably concerned about the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on their business, staff, supply chains and revenue. We look at what help is available.

Emily Kindness
Business insurance expert
minute read
Do you know someone who could benefit from this article?
Posted 8 APRIL 2021

Is coronavirus covered by business interruption insurance?

In general, business-interruption policies are designed to provide cover for physical damage that stops a business trading – like fire, floods and natural disasters. Some policies may also include some form of cover for certain diseases. However, they may exclude compensation for diseases that aren’t specifically listed in the policy and for communicable disease outbreaks, such as COVID-19.

If you’re unsure, contact your insurance provider to find out if COVID-19 is covered under your existing insurance policy.

Please note: The information in this article was correct at the time of publication on 8 April 2021, but, because of the impact of COVID-19, things are changing rapidly. We aim to keep this page updated, but check with your insurance provider or potential provider directly to confirm any details.

Will I be covered if health authorities order my business to close?

It is unlikely, unless your policy lists you as being covered for both pandemics and government-ordered closure. If this is the case, you may be able to get compensation in the event of forced closure, but it will depend on the exact nature of your policy.

You should check with your insurance provider to see if you’re covered.

Does personal accident insurance cover for coronavirus?

Personal accident insurance offers protection for you if you are unable to work due to an accidental injury. This type of insurance doesn’t cover sickness, and so you won’t be able to make a personal accident claim in relation to coronavirus (COVID-19).

I am losing business due to coronavirus. Can I get compensation?

COVID-19 is having a huge impact on businesses both through lack of footfall and uncertainty, leading customers to back out of contracts.

Several factors may affect whether an insurance provider covers a claim. These may include whether covered diseases are specifically listed in your policy, or whether authorities feel that a business is required to close. Check your policy documents carefully to see what your insurance provider says. Claims will likely be looked at on a case-by-case basis.

Am I covered for coronavirus if I’m self-employed?

While new business-interruption insurance policies don’t cover coronavirus (COVID-19), previously existing policies are being reviewed on a case-by-case basis. You should check your policy documents carefully, or ask your provider for advice. 
However, the government is offering help to the self-employed in a variety of ways, depending on what you’re eligible for and what your circumstances are. 
The coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) is the main scheme to help the self-employed. Applications for grants under the next phase of the scheme will open in late April 2021. The scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a total of £7,500 paid in a single instalment. 
A final SEISS grant covering May to September 2021 was announced in the Budget. If you’re eligible, you’ll be able to claim from late July, The amount you may be eligible for depends on how much your turnover has been reduced in the year April 2020 to April 2021.  
You might also be eligible for rate relief, business interruption loans, deferral of tax payments, grants and Universal Credit. 

Will public liability or employers’ liability insurance cover me for staff sickness?

If you have a public liability or employers’ liability claim made against you on the grounds that you didn’t protect staff or members of the public adequately against the disease, you may be covered by these types of business insurance.

Public liability and employers’ liability claims are being considered on a case-by-case basis, so if this issue arises for your business, get in touch with your insurance provider.

If an employee has symptoms of COVID-19 or needs to self-isolate in line with government advice, they are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from day one.

Many businesses can claim back SSP paid because of COVID-19 – find out more here

Find out more about government support for businesses here.

Key person insurance may provide cover if a key member of staff becomes unwell with coronavirus. Be sure to check your policy or contact your provider for details if you are unsure.

Can I upgrade my insurance to cover COVID-19?

Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to upgrade your insurance policy to cover COVID-19. However, it’s always worth contacting your insurance provider to discuss the best option for you and your business.

I don’t have business insurance. Is it too late to get cover for coronavirus?

It is most likely too late to get cover for COVID-19 under a new insurance policy. It may be worth investing in business insurance to help protect you against disruption in the future, but it’s unlikely to cover events like pandemics.

Is there any other support available for businesses?

The government put forward an initial £330 billion package of measures to help businesses in the coronavirus outbreak. It has since added several new measures, including some specifically targeted at the self-employed. This includes:

  • A Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which all UK employers are eligible for. The scheme has now been extended until 30 September 2021. 
  • Loan support for large firms 
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) – delivered by the British Business Bank, supporting loans of up to £5 million. The government guarantees 80% of the finance to the lender and pays interest and any fees for the first 12 months. The scheme is open until 31 March. 
  • The Recovery Loan Scheme will help businesses access finance once CBILS ends. It will run from 6 April 2021 to 31 December 2021.  
  • 100% business rates holiday for the 2020/21 tax year for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England – including nurseries 
  • Statutory Sick Pay relief for SMEs, to help them claim back SSP 
  • The HMRC Time to Pay Scheme – businesses may be able to get support on a case-by-case basis 
  • Relaxing regulations to allow pubs and restaurants to start providing takeaways without a planning application 
  • One-off grants worth up to £9,000 per property for retail, hospitality and leisure companies 
  • A £594 million discretionary fund for businesses that aren’t eligible for these grants, but that are affected by coronavirus restrictions.  
  • Restart grants to support high street businesses. 
    Allowing self-employed people to access Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to Statutory Sick Pay for employees 

Find out more about government support.

Businesses and self-employed people who are having difficulties paying their tax because of coronavirus can call the HMRC Coronavirus Helpline on 0800 0159 559.

Help is also available from Business Debtline on 0800 197 6026.

Looking for a quote?

Compare business insurance from leading providers

Get a quote
Get a business insurance quote and you could start saving now Start a business insurance quote