Business owners who operate physical locations take necessary precautions to protect their buildings and inventory.
They install security systems and lighting, ensure that windows and doors are secure, and invest in a commercial property insurance policy.
Commercial property damage insurance is designed to offer businesses extra protection for their company when the unexpected occurs. While these policies are often very broad about what they cover, they can be precise about what they do not cover. It is essential that all business owners review their policies before purchasing them or later making a claim.
Commercial property damage claims can be complex. Business owners are encouraged to speak with an attorney about their commercial property claims before filing with the insurance company. Having an attorney review the claim can help make the process much easier and the payout much faster.
5 Common Types Of Commercial Property Damage
1. Window Damage
Broken windows are the most common claim for commercial property damage claims. Shattered windows from storm damage, accidents, or vandalism all fall within this category. However, many businesses do not realize that there are other window issues that may fall under this category as well. Stress fractures to a window may qualify under the policy. Cracked windows in a retail establishment are not only unsightly, but they are also a hazard and must be replaced.
Window frames or seals that fail, allowing rain or ice to seep into the walls or interior of the building, causing structural damage or inventory damage, may also fall under this type of policy. Speak with an attorney if you have experienced this type of commercial property loss to find out if you can make a claim.
2. Burglary, Theft, and Vandalism
Since many businesses are closed during the evening hours, they are at higher risk for burglary and vandalism. However, theft can occur at any time, and many retail centers experience more theft during operating hours when customers simply walk away with goods.
Insurance companies can make filing a claim for these issues difficult because they dispute the value of the items that were taken or damaged. Work with an attorney when making a claim for these issues.
3. Fire Damage
Fire can be one of the most devastating things to happen to a business. If you have experienced a fire in your company, you will have a comprehensive task when working with the insurance company. You will have to address physical and structural damage, loss of inventory and equipment, interior damage to the business, and even long-term cleaning solutions to bring the business back to its pre-fire standings.
4. Flood Damage
It is very important to understand that flood damage may not be covered by your commercial insurance policy. Depending on your state and your local area, you may be required to carry a separate policy for flood damage.
Additionally, the insurance company may consider some issues “flooding” when they are actually not. When a pipe breaks and floods the interior of the business, most of us would consider that flooding. However, some insurance companies try to classify these as other things so that they can avoid paying out claims. Flooding from storm surges also is a grey area and should be reviewed by your attorney.
5. Storm Damage
Storm damage can happen from wind, lightning strikes, excessive rain, hail or ice, or a combination of any of these issues. In Florida, it’s often hurricane damage. Roofs can be damaged or torn off, leading to interior damage as well. Glass can be damaged, and structural damage can occur from flying debris.
It will be necessary to work with a property damage attorney when you make a storm damage claim. Many insurance companies will dispute storm damage claims under different clauses in their policies. Just having an attorney representing you is often enough to make the insurance company take you a little more seriously and work to get your claim paid out.
Business owners should also be aware that many of the offered commercial insurance policies are not actually comprehensive policies. They may require special riders, or additional policy coverage purchases, to completely protect your business.
For instance, in areas where tropical activity is common, you may need to purchase a separate policy to protect you from tropical storm/hurricane damage. The same would apply in areas that are prone to hail storms, earthquakes, or flooding. In many states, the only way that you can get flood protection is to purchase it through the federally sponsored flood insurance program.
If you are unsure that your commercial property insurance is enough to give you the best protection, have a commercial property claims attorney at Landau Law review the policy. This ensures that you know exactly what protections you have and what additional policies you may need to purchase.
At Landau Law, we’re experienced with helping Florida businesses with their commercial property insurance. If you’d like us to review your policy or need help with a claim, schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today!
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