Business Interruption Insurance

Your business needs coverage against unexpected shutdowns and suspended operations.

Christine Lacagnina Written by Christine Lacagnina
Christine Lacagnina
Written by Christine Lacagnina

Christine Lacagnina has written thousands of insurance-based articles for by authoring consumable, understandable content.

Reviewer: Jeffrey Green Reviewed by Jeffrey Green
Reviewer: Jeffrey Green
Reviewed by Jeffrey Green

Jeff Green has held a variety of sales and management roles at life insurance companies, Wall street firms, and distribution organizations over his 40-year career.  He was previously Finra 7,24,66 registered and held life insurance licenses in multiple states. He is a graduate of Stony Brook University.

Closed sign in store window front. Find Business Interruption Insurance.

What Is Business Interruption Insurance?

One important aspect of business insurance is business interruption coverage. Business interruption coverage kicks in during temporary closures and suspended operations caused by covered perils. Coverage reimburses for lost income as well as employee wages during the shutdown. Business interruption coverage is extremely important for all kinds of businesses in order to stay afloat, and an independent insurance agent can help you get it.

So many threats could force your business to suspend certain operations, or completely shut down for a period of time. Without the proper coverage, you could end up losing a ton of precious revenue, or even your hardworking crew. That’s why it’s so important to be equipped with the right business interruption insurance.

Fortunately an independent insurance agent can help you find the right kind of business interruption insurance for your company. They’ll get you equipped with more than enough coverage, long before you ever need to file a claim. But before we jump too far ahead, here’s a closer look at business interruption insurance.


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Business Closure Stats

Business Closure Statistics

Since just under half of businesses permanently shut down after just one disaster, having business interruption insurance is crucial to allowing your company to get up and running again. One quarter of businesses fail within a year of a disaster, and 90% never recover after that disaster within two years. To ensure your business can recover after an unexpected disaster, speak with an independent insurance agent ASAP about getting equipped with business interruption insurance.

Business Interruption Insurance vs. Business Income and Extra Expense Coverage

Before shopping for coverage for your business, it’s helpful to have a solid idea of what you’re looking for. But the names of coverage can vary slightly by insurance company, and these terms can get confusing. Business interruption insurance also goes by a different title, business income insurance. 

Extra expense coverage, on the other hand, is a component of business interruption insurance. It allows your business to be reimbursed for relocation costs and other expenses if you need to temporarily operate out of another location during a closure. Your independent insurance agent can further explain the differences between these terms.

Why Would My Business Close?

Businesses can benefit from business interruption coverage for numerous reasons. But it’s also handy to know some of the top causes of business closures across the US when shopping for coverage, to see how it may work for you.

Top 10 Property and Liability Claims

Most common Most costly
Burglary & theft (20%) Reputational harm ($50,000)
Water and freezing damage (15%) Vehicle accident ($45,000)
Wind and hail damage (15%) Fire ($35,000)
Fire (10%) Product liability ($35,000)
Customer slip and fall (10%) Customer injury or damage ($30,000)
Customer injury and damage (Less than 5%) Wind and hail damage ($26,000)
Product liability (Less than 5%) Customer slip and fall ($20,000)
Struck by object (Less than 5%) Water and freezing damage ($17,000)
Reputational harm (less than 5%) Struck by object ($10,000)
Vehicle accident (Less than 5%) Burglary and theft ($8,000)

Some of the top claims filed by all businesses are for incidences of water damage and freezing, fire, and wind and hail damage. Disasters like these could force a business to have to temporarily suspend operations during recovery, and thus create a need for business interruption coverage. Other common reasons your business might shut down include the following.

  • Fire: Even if it only destroys a part of your building, you may need to close your doors for a few weeks for cleanup.
  • Vandalism: Depending on the extent of the damage, you could find yourself creating a complicated equipment replacement strategy.
  • Equipment damage: Even the most reliable machine breaks down. It could take days or weeks to get the right part and get back on schedule.

An independent insurance agent can help your business get equipped with enough business interruption insurance to guard against these perils and much more.

Who Sells Business Interruption Insurance?

Business interruption insurance is available from many different insurance companies, and the best way to find the right carrier for you is through working with an independent insurance agent. Independent insurance agents know which insurance companies to recommend to meet your needs, and can provide informed suggestions based on company reliability, rates, and more.

While many insurance companies could provide business interruption insurance for you, finding coverage could also depend on the area you live in. Here are a few of our top picks for business interruption coverage.

Business interruption insurance companies Star rating
5 star rating
The Hartford
5 star rating
5 star rating
Farmers Insurance
4.5/5 star rating
Travelers Insurance
5 star rating

One business interruption insurance company outshines its competitors

  • Best overall business interruption insurance company: Nationwide

Nationwide is a leading small business insurer with an "A+" rating from AM Best. The carrier is on the Fortune 100 list and currently provides more than half a million customers across the US with quality coverage. Aside from their outstanding insurance catalogue, Nationwide offers superior customer service and 24/7 claims reporting. 

Nationwide's business interruption coverage offers the following benefits, as listed from their website.

  • Keep your business afloat if a loss forces you to close for a short time
  • Pay for lost net income and continuing expenses such as mortgage, advertising, taxes and salaries
  • Pay your relocation and advertising fees if you set up shop at a temporary site
  • Maintain business continuity

The carrier states that their business interruption coverage can reimburse businesses for the following.

  • Lost profits
  • Mortgage/rent
  • Utilities
  • Taxes
  • Payroll
  • Advertising
  • Relocation fees

With such a complete picture of protection, combined with reliable coverage and satisfied customers over the years, Nationwide easily earns our top recommendation for business interruption insurance.

What Does Business Interruption Insurance Cover?

Temporary closures can happen rather unexpectedly, so they need to be planned for in advance. Business interruption insurance often includes the following.

  • Coverage for temporary location costs: Business interruption coverage often reimburses for extra expenses necessary to operate your business out of a temporary location, including relocation costs, during a shutdown due to a covered peril, like fire.
  • Coverage for lost earnings: Business interruption also reimburses businesses for earnings lost during suspended operations.
  • Coverage for employee wages: Business interruption allows your company to keep employees actively on the payroll during temporary closures, so you don’t have to lose your team and hire new workers after a covered disaster.
  • Coverage for mortgage, rent, loan, or lease payments: Business interruption coverage allows your business to continue making these payments on time, even during a shutdown.
  • Coverage for tax payments: These can also continue to be made on time thanks to business interruption coverage.
  • Coverage for training costs: If your business needs to train new employees after a shutdown or needs to provide special training for existing employees on new machinery after a covered loss.
  • Coverage for civil authority shutdowns: Sometimes business interruption can protect your business from being shut down by a civil authority due to physical damage to a nearby company that results in a loss.

An independent insurance agent can further explain the core coverages provided by business interruption insurance, and help find a policy that works for you.

Business Interruption Insurance Exclusions

Like all other forms of coverage, business interruption insurance also comes with its own set of exclusions. Business interruption insurance works with your commercial property coverage. If a loss is not covered by the property insurance, it won't be covered by business interruption either. 

Standard business interruption policies often exclude the following perils.

  • Damage and closures due to floods and earthquakes
  • Damage and closures due to war or nuclear fallout and explosions
  • Damage and closures due to employee dishonesty
  • Damage and closures related to routine maintenance
  • Damage to utilities, because they're usually powered down during a closure
  • Damage to inventory, products, or supplies
  • Loss of undocumented income that's not included on financial records
  • Closures due to communicable diseases, like pandemics*

*Unfortunately business interruption insurance will not protect your business during a pandemic. However, there are still many critical protections offered by business interruption insurance that your company needs. Your independent insurance agent can help address any concerns you may have about exclusions in your business interruption coverage. Read more here about how pandemics impact insurance.

Optional Endorsements to Business Interruption Coverage

You may decide to add endorsements to your business interruption coverage to create a more complete picture of protection. One of the most commonly added endorsements is dependent property coverage.

Dependent property coverage protects businesses against damage or destruction to a non-owned property that terminates or reduces the business's earnings. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses have experienced lost income and increased other expenses during operational suspensions. 

These entities qualify as dependent properties.

  • Buyers: The person who buys or accepts the products, goods, or services of the business.
  • Drivers: Otherwise known as anchor stores or venues that draw customers to the area.
  • Suppliers: Supply the business with its products, materials, or services necessary to its operations.
  • Providers: Otherwise known as the manufacturing location that makes the products the business carries.

It's important to note, however, there is no coverage for a dependent property that shuts down. You can ask your independent insurance agent for more information about dependent property coverage endorsements to your business interruption coverage.

Do I Need Business Interruption Insurance?

All businesses are at risk of disaster and unexpected temporary closures. To better gauge whether you need business interruption coverage, consider how your company would otherwise recover from the following during a shutdown:

  • Tax payments
  • Continued employee payroll
  • Loan payments
  • Mortgage, rent, or lease payments
  • Lost income

Without adequate business interruption coverage, all of these expenses would continue to come right out of your company's pockets. Not only could you eat through your profits this way, but you could also lose your team of workers if you weren't able to continue paying them during the shutdown. Business interruption coverage is a necessity, no matter your niche or apparent risk level.

How Much Does Business Interruption Insurance Cost

Since business interruption insurance is just one aspect of a complete business insurance package, the cost of this coverage will account for only a portion of your total premium. While many factors influence the cost of your coverage, a general range is $40 to $130 monthly, and $500 to $1,500 annually.

Factors that influence the cost of your business interruption coverage.

  • Your business’s annual revenue
  • The amount of employees you have
  • Your business’s exact location
  • The age of your business’s property
  • Your business’s size
  • The risk level of your business

Costs can also depend on your area's weather risks, so businesses located along a coast might pay more for coverage since they're more susceptible to hurricane damage. An independent insurance agent can help you find exact quotes and figures for your area. They can also help you shop around for the most affordable policy, and see if you qualify for any discounts on coverage.

How Much Coverage Do I Need?

Coverage amounts are unique to each business and depend on the amount of revenue a company generates. How much money would be required to pay the bills if you were shut down for two days? Two months?

It’s also dependent on risk. Check on how long recovery times are for businesses that have experienced common threats in your area. You should also consider your employees. If you want to keep them on payroll while your doors are closed, you must include that in your coverage amount. 

Your best bet is to consider your gross earnings and future profit projections to determine the right amount of coverage. Ultimately, if business interruption costs surpass your chosen coverage limit, you'll be responsible for paying the remainder. Speaking with an independent agent is a good way to estimate how much business income insurance you might need and how the claims process works.

Frepaquently Asked Questions about Business Interruption Insurance

Business interruption coverage kicks in during temporary closures and suspended operations caused by covered perils. Coverage reimburses for lost income as well as employee wages and more during the shutdown.

Unfortunately, your business interruption insurance likely won't cover shutdowns due to COVID-19 or other pandemics. Communicable diseases are often a major excluded peril in business interruption insurance. Though it's worth double checking your specific policy with your independent insurance agent to be sure. Keep in mind that business interruption claims need to be related to commercial property damage, in any case.

Only time will tell. However, it seems unlikely that insurers will want to add coverage for future pandemics. Insurance companies tend to shy away from providing coverage for events for which the long-term damage outcome isn't easily understood, such as pandemics.

Business interruption insurance is a component of most standard business insurance policies. For a claim to be covered, it must be due to a peril listed in your business insurance's commercial property section. Covered perils include disasters like fire, windstorm, and more.

Work with your independent insurance agent to consider your business's future projected earnings and other factors that will influence how much coverage you need. 


Save on Business Insurance

Our independent agents shop around to find you the best coverage.

The Benefits of an Independent Insurance Agent

Independent insurance agents are kind of like the Google of insurance quotes. You tell them what you’re looking for, and they bring in the results. And since they aren’t tied down to one carrier, they’re free to shop around and bring multiple policy options to the table. 

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