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Here’s How COVID-19 Could Impact your Personal Insurance Policies

Sentinel’s Private Client Service Group is standing by to answer your questions about how the ongoing coronavirus pandemic could affect your personal insurance policies. A list of the most frequently asked questions includes:

Property Insurance

  • Loss of use on rental properties no longer needed by children in college
  • Impact of working from home on homeowner’s policy

Auto Insurance

  • Potential for rate reductions during extended period of telework

Insurance Premiums

  • Extended payment terms available

Don’t see your question here? Call or email Sentinel’s Private Client Service Group at:

Mary Kunkle, mkunkle@sentinelra.com, 336-842-4804

Hilery Royster, hroyster@sentinelra.com, 336-842-4806

 

My college student’s classes are now online and he no longer needs his campus apartment. Can I claim loss of use?

No. Loss of use coverage can only be triggered by a covered loss that renders the property unfit to live in, either by direct damage to a neighboring premise or by ongoing dangers posed by the aftereffects of earthquakes or the release of certain pollutants into the environment. Coronavirus does not meet either criteria, unfortunately.

I’m no longer driving my vehicle to and from work.  What discounts will apply to my auto insurance?

There is good news on the potential for COVID-19 to reduce your auto rates in the future, but for now, your auto rates will likely stay the same.

It’s true that your monthly auto premium is calculated in part based on the average number of miles your car is driven, so the elimination of your daily commute would seem to warrant a rate recalculation at your next renewal. But auto rates take about 10 other risk factors into consideration, too, making a rate cut now unlikely.

Still, as this period of sustained isolation and telework begins to have a positive impact on auto claims nationwide, rates are likely to begin coming down, at least somewhat, in the next 18 months.

My employer has mandated we work remotely.  Will this affect my homeowner’s policy?

The short answer is no, though if telecommuting becomes your permanent new normal, give our Private Client Service Group a call to discuss a home-based business use endorsement policy.

Without that endorsement, the typical homeowner’s policy does not protect risks incurred through business activities, such as client visits, that may result in additional liability exposures. This would also be a good time to ensure you have adequate liability coverage through your homeowner’s policy. Sentinel recommends limits of at least $300,000 to protect your home investment in the event that you or members of your household are the subject of a lawsuit.

I was laid off due to COVID-19. Now that I am unemployed, can I ask my carrier to suspend my auto and homeowner’s premiums?

You can and you should. Give your Private Client Service Group team a call today. We’ll help you communicate effectively with your particular carrier and keep you apprised of any assistance programs they are offering.

Several carriers have already come forward with insurance extensions, late payment forgiveness and other programs. Meanwhile, advocacy groups are mounting campaigns at the state level to mandate a temporary suspension of cancellation and non-renewal of premium payments for those impacted by the pandemic.