PEI

Why some P.E.I. home insurance policies will now come with a COVID-19 exclusion

Island homeowners looking to renew their home insurance policies may notice something new over the next number of months, an exclusion for communicable diseases, which could include COVID-19.

Homeowners encouraged to talk to insurance providers if exclusion added to policy

A communicable disease exclusion will protect insurance companies from any claims related to the COVID-19 pandemic, says Amanda Dean with the Insurance Bureau of Canada. (Laura Meader/CBC)

Island homeowners looking to renew their home insurance policies may notice something new over the next number of months, an exclusion for communicable diseases, which could include COVID-19.

Amanda Dean, vice-president Atlantic for the Insurance Bureau of Canada, said any exclusion on a home insurance policy represents something that your policy doesn't cover. 

A communicable disease exclusion will protect insurance companies from any claims related to the COVID-19 pandemic, she said.

"Homeowners may or may not find a lot of difference, because typically pandemic risk is not something that is covered," Dean said.

"Because every corner of the globe is experiencing a pandemic, it's the same thing as fire, you can't necessarily purchase fire insurance when your entire subdivision is on fire." 

Dean said the exclusion endorsement prevents anyone who contracts COVID-19 at someone's house from making a claim against a home insurance policy.

"It's something the industry is still certainly working through, in terms of how it's being impacted by the pandemic but also noting that it has policy holders that it wants to protect the policies of," she said. 

"As long as we all continue to do what we should be doing, wearing masks, social distancing, complying with the guidelines and the numbers with respect to getting together with family and friends then we should all be OK." 

Talk to your provider 

Dean said communicable disease exclusions started showing up in home insurance policies last summer. She said primary insurance providers started adding the exclusions when similar changes were made within the international reinsurance market — which is where primary insurers purchase their insurance — in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Dean says homeowners who notice a communicable disease exclusion on their home insurance should reach out to their provider to find out what it means for their specific policy. (Paula Gale/CBC)

"If the reinsurance companies are adopting these exclusions it's then a business decision for these insurance companies domestically to adopt that same wording," Dean said. 

Dean said anyone who notices a communicable disease exclusion on their home insurance policy should speak to their insurance provider to find out why it's there and what it means for your specific policy.

She said the exclusion doesn't put homeowners at any elevated level of risk because typically a pandemic and communicable diseases would be excluded from a home insurance policy anyway.

"It doesn't put homeowners at any additional risk and again, especially those homeowners that are complying with all public health guidelines," Dean said. 

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