For Consumers

Frequently asked questions (FAQ) about coronavirus and property insurance

Answers to questions submitted by the public about coronavirus and its affect on property insurance in Washington state.

Our State Farm Insurance agent told us in May that the agency is waiting for OIC's approval before reducing premiums in response to the much-reduced driving/risks. Is that still the case and is there something we can do to assist in moving this process along?

On May 7, the OIC approved State Farm Fire and Casualty Co.'s COVID-19 credit of 27.5% for 2 1/3 months. Any permanent rate changes must be filed with our office and are subject to a review process.

 

I received an email from Traveler's back in April that said I would get a 15% discount for two months of my premiums. However, I only received the 15% discount on one month and the next month they went back to charging the normal amount. I have written emails to the agency and to Traveler's about this but weeks later neither have responded at all or issued the second discount. What should I do?

The OIC approved Traveler's premium discounts of 15% for April, May and June 2020. If Traveler's isn't responding to your inquiries, you can file a complaint with us and we will contact the insurance company on your behalf.

 

Commissioner Kreidler recently deemed "businesses that have been temporarily closed due to the coronavirus outbreak are not considered vacant under the terms of an insurance policy." Does this transfer to personal rental properties also if it was unable to be rented due to the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order by Gov. Inslee?

The type of coverage you have on a rental property depends on the provisions of the insurance policy. Please contact your insurer to find out what your policy covers.

 

On May 30, a storm downed a tree that hit the power line to my well. I still do not have potable water and there are no motels available to stay at, therefore I must stay in my home. Do I qualify for a per-diem for loss of use? When the electrician is able to come repair the power line, I'll have no electricity for a while, which will make me unable to work remotely. Does that qualify me for loss of use because I won't be able to work?

Loss of use is dependent on the provisions of your insurance policy. You will need to contact your insurance company to see if you qualify for a per-diem loss of use and loss of wages for having no electricity. If your insurance company refuses to provide you with an explanation or answer your questions, you are welcome to file a complaint with us. If you file a complaint, we will contact your insurance company on your behalf to find out if you qualify for loss of use and loss of wages.

 

Can the insurance commissioner require auto insurers to lower their rates during the stay-home order since people are driving less?

The insurance commissioner can't order auto insurers to file or lower rates. If there is a long-lasting reduction in the amount people drive, we would expect to see that reflected in lower rates over time when insurers submit filings to update their rates. Insurers typically submit filings to adjust their rates no more often than about once per year, so a market disruption lasting only a few months might not be enough to convince insurers that a rate reduction is necessary. However, Commissioner Kreidler encouraged auto insurers to offer refunds or temporary reductions to customers during Gov. Inslee's Stay Home, Stay Healthy order. Read the news release.

 

As an independent adjuster in Washington, can I still inspect property claims during the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order from Gov. Jay Inslee?

Gov. Inslee's Stay Home, Stay Healthy proclamation established guidelines for determining essential businesses. You can find out which businesses are considered essential (coronavirus.wa.gov). If you don't see a business you are looking for, you can ask if your business fits the definition (coronavirus.wa.gov).

 

Can I place all my vehicles in comprehensive coverage or parked coverage only since we are on a stay at home order in Washington?

You may be able to limit the coverage on your parked vehicles if you don't have loans on them. If you have a loan on a vehicle, you may be required by your lender to have comprehensive and collision coverage on your vehicle, regardless of it being parked for an indefinite period of time. You will want to check with your lender to verify your requirements for insurance coverage for the duration of your loan.

 

During the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order, are repairs to a rental home considered essential? If not, is the insurance company responsible for extending the loss of rents coverage in the policy until the order ended and repairs are completed?

Gov. Inslee's Stay Home, Stay Healthy proclamation established guidelines for determining essential businesses. You can find out which businesses are considered essential (coronavirus.wa.gov). If you don't see a business you are looking for, you can ask if your business fits the definition (coronavirus.wa.gov).

The insurance company is responsible for processing your claim in accordance with the terms and conditions of your policy. If your insurance policy does not extend loss of rents coverage due to the government order, our office cannot compel your insurance company to extend the coverage.

 

We are an auto body repair shop. With COVID-19, we are finding two companies will not cover the cost of disinfecting the vehicle after a collision prior to our employees working on the vehicle. With the required social distancing rules in place, we are not allowed to have two people in the vehicle at one time. When we have additional sublet work to complete the vehicle, we have to tow it to comply with this order. Are insurers required to cover these costs during the COVID-19 state of emergency?

We are not aware of any specific regulation or law requiring that insurers pay for disinfecting a vehicle if it’s not directly related to damage caused by a collision. Any consumers whose policies don’t cover auto body shop or towing charges are welcome to file a complaint with us, so we can contact the insurer on the their behalf.