While schools have re-opened, not all parents have been on board with sending their children back into the classroom. One of the popular alternatives is organizing a pandemic pod where their child can learn and socialize with other children in a smaller group.
WHAT IS A PANDEMIC POD?
A pandemic pod is a group (pod) of children from different families invited into a home to learn together. The parents take turns teaching the group or chip in to pay for a private tutor.
The goal is to continue their child’s learning in a smaller “bubble”. While the intention is to lessen the risk of their family contracting the virus compared to sending them into a larger classroom and school setting, welcoming a pod into their home presents other risks which likely are not covered by their home insurance policy.
WHAT’S NOT COVERED?
Most home insurance policies will not protect homeowners in the event they are sued after a communicable disease (i.e. COVID-19) is spread in their pod. This is because most home insurance policies exclude liability coverage for claims related to the transmission of disease.
One such policy states:
“The transmission of any communicable or sexually transmitted disease, including Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome…by any person insured by this policy.”
While other policies word things like so:
“We do not cover personal injury or property damage resulting from any illness, sickness or disease transmitted intentionally or unintentionally by a covered person to anyone, or any consequence resulting from that illness, sickness or disease. We also do not cover any damages for personal injury resulting from the fear of contracting any sickness, illness or disease, or any consequence resulting from the fear of contracting any illness, sickness or disease.”
HOW CAN YOU PROTECT YOURSELF?
You may be thinking, and potentially rightly so in your case, that you can feel comfortable knowing the parents involved in your pod would not consider litigation if there is spread. You trust them and that’s not a route you would ever see them going.
This could be the case for the majority of scenarios, but it’s impossible to say it would be the case in all scenarios. To insulate yourself better from risk, it may be smart to put something in writing if you are hosting a pod in your home. Having participating parents sign a document waiving their option of litigation in the event of COVID-19 spread may be the best way to fill the protection holes that your insurance policy does not cover. You may want to consider legal consultation regarding your agreement, ultimately there may not be a 100% safeguard against personal litigation should the situation arise.
IT’S NOT JUST PANDEMIC PODS
The same exclusions that leave pandemic pod hosts vulnerable also apply to other gatherings in the home. If there is a disease spread within your home during any type of social gathering (dinner party, backyard family gathering etc.) you would also not be protected by your home insurance policy.
Too many of us have not considered the insurance implications related to hosting events at our home. It’s just another reason for us to be safe, cautious and responsible with regards to any non-essential gatherings during the pandemic.
Erie Mutual Insurance proudly serves the business, home, farm and auto insurance needs of members throughout Southern Ontario including Haldimand, Niagara and Hamilton.
Please contact us with any questions you may have about this or any other topic related to your insurance.