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The majority of businesses will not be covered by their insurance against the outbreak of Coronavirus, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has warned.

Small businesses owners reacted angrily to Boris Johnson’s announcement that the public are “advised” not to go to bars, restaurants, clubs and theatres. They argued that by not forcing businesses to close, they would be unable to claim on their insurance for loss of business.

The ABI has since clarified that standard business interruption policies provide cover for damage to premises, such as following a flood or fire, and do not cover scenarios in which businesses are forced to close by authorities.

It means that most businesses will not be able to claim on their insurance, even if the government enforces closures.

A spokesperson for the Association of British Insurers said: “Irrespective of whether or not the government order closure of a business, the vast majority of firms won’t have purchased cover that will enable them to claim on their insurance to compensate for their business being closed by the coronavirus.”

Cover for infectious diseases is available as a policy add-on, but the statement from the ABI implies many will not have purchased it. And even if they did, analysts Defaqto has said Covid-19 is not among the diseases covered.

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