Frequently asked questions about the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We are currently experiencing a high volume of calls from Members who have business cover with The Retail Mutual and have questions in relation to coronavirus and how it may impact their business. We have pulled together some frequently asked questions surrounding coronavirus.

If the Government forces my business to close, am I covered?

If there is a forced closure of businesses by the Government, there would not be cover in place for any resulting loss to your business.

The government is issuing daily updates on the COVID-19 outbreak; find the latest guidance for businesses, as of 17th March, here.

Click here for more information and guidance from the government on addressing coronavirus in the workplace; this is updated regularly in line with the changing situation.

You may be eligible for financial support from the government following the recent announcements from the Chancellor.

There is a case of coronavirus at my business, am I covered?

You may be covered by The Retail Mutual if you have business interruption cover and

  • there has been a confirmed case of coronavirus on your premises, or
  • the virus is found at your premises, but no one has been affected.

In both cases, you should report the outbreak to the local authorities.

For example, you may be covered should your business be closed as a result of either your staff being taken ill due to a coronavirus outbreak on your premises or the virus being found at your premises.

Please check your business cover wording under Business Interruption for further information.

Is it too late to take out business interruption cover for coronavirus?

If you don’t already have business interruption cover in place you may be considering taking it out, but ensure you check the cover carefully with your provider as it may exclude coronavirus.

Cover provided by The Retail Mutual is designed to protect our Members from the negative consequences of unexpected events. Because losses arising from coronavirus are now widely predicted, we have decided that with effect from 17th March 2020 and until further notice, any business interruption cover added or newly taken out will exclude all claims arising out of or in connection with coronavirus.

Am I covered if I fall ill with coronavirus?

If you should fall ill, you will not be covered under personal accident cover. Our cover wording contains the following exclusion:

“you, a director, partner or employee suffering from an illness or disease that does not result from a bodily injury”.

Is my business covered if I leave it unattended due to being in self-isolation or quarantine?

If you have the appropriate business cover in place, your business may be covered if there is an outbreak of coronavirus on the premises and you leave it unattended for a period of time due to self-isolation or quarantine.

This may include, but is not limited to:

  • theft of stock via forcible entry to the premises
  • damage to the premises (e.g. windows and shutters) due to forcible entry
  • accidental damage due to fire or flood

If your premises are in Northern Ireland, you will not be covered if the police or the Government deem the incident to be related to rioting.

You can leave the premises unattended for a period of time due to self-isolation or quarantine. You should ensure that the premises are locked, shuttered (if you have shutters) and your intruder and fire alarms are set. However, if they are unattended for longer than 7 days it is best to make arrangements for someone on your behalf to check the premises are secure on a regular basis.

Please note that: –

1) there is no cover for damage or theft if the premises are “empty” for more than 45 days in a row. That means “not physically used or accessed for your business”;

2) We require that Members must notify the Mutual if any part of the covered property is “empty”; and the Mutual may agree to continue cover for certain risks but can reserves the right to impose new conditions or to increase your contributions under these circumstances;

3) if the premises or any part of them are “empty” and the Mutual agrees to continue reduced cover, they must be inspected at least once a week and you must follow the fire prevention, security and maintenance requirements in your cover wording (“Security” on page 35 and “Empty buildings or property” on pages 42/43).

If you are a Member of The Retail Mutual and have any further questions around coronavirus, please call our claims team on 0333 2121 008.