In a state like Florida, you can never truly predict where a hurricane might strike, and what structures it will affect the most. News reports most often detail families who are displaced from their homes and forced to rebuild. But in the worst of storms, other structures like brick-and-mortar businesses can also suffer significant damage.
If you’re a homeowner, you may be well versed in the workings of your home insurance coverage. But if you’re a commercial business owner with a physical location where you do business separate from your home, it’s just as important to understand your insurance contract and what your coverage entails.
The Additional Coverages of Commercial Insurance
If you’re familiar with your home insurance policy, you’ve likely noticed that it revolves almost entirely around the physical structure of your home, and possibly even the belongings you keep inside it. When those are damaged, your insurance policy should kick in to help you recover the costs of rebuilding or replacing lost items.
While property insurance policies for your business should also cover physical damage or loss of equipment and inventory, the right plan should extend far beyond physical damage to and within your place of work. If damage or an accident causes your business to shut down or otherwise interrupts your work, you can receive compensation for lost business income.
When your business is interrupted or halted, not only can you suffer revenue losses during that time, but you may lose customer loyalty that can affect you in the long run. If your family relies on your halted, closed, or suffering business for steady income, that prospect could be devasting.
And if you’re able to get your business up and running again, it will likely be due to an exhaustive amount of hard work, time, and extra expenses. You may need to replace what was lost, such as exterior features, equipment, and products. You may even need to spend time and money on the process of hiring new staff. The most thorough insurance policies should also pay for these extra incurred expenses—even if they may have not been part of your previous business model in some cases.
Another detail that makes business property insurance different from home property insurance is that you can tailor your coverage to address specific risks. While most residential insurance policies are fairly standardized, commercial policies have more room for variation because different businesses have different needs. It’s about choosing the coverage options that make the most sense for your business.
Choosing the Right Commercial Property Insurance
Just as you need separate types of homeowner’s insurance for things like wind damage and water damage (rather than just all-encompassing hurricane damage), your business property needs to secure the same types of policies. Fire damage coverage is also important to consider, and the amount of coverage there will be largely dependent upon what type of business you run and whether the probability of a fire to break out is higher than average.
It’s important to make sure the monthly premiums you pay cover damage to the facility exterior and interior, and damage to any equipment and inventory. But the most all-encompassing plan will also include business interruption coverage. And again, if you take special care to tailor your policy to your business’s specific needs, you’ll be much better off in the long run.
While having insurance that physically protects your place of business should something happen to it is important, it’s also important to make sure you have insurance that protects others (and you) should something happen to them on your business property. Liability insurance is coverage that takes effect if someone were to be neglectfully injured in direct correlation to being at your place of business. For example, if you run a retail store and someone were to suffer a slip and fall from a leak in your ceiling, the right liability insurance plan would hopefully help the person in question, without burdening your business finances. It would also help your business remain safe from extensive lawsuits that could push you into bankruptcy.
Proper commercial insurance policies should include some type of premises liability insurance. Depending on the type of business you run, you may want to consider a plan that includes additional coverage for people in your physical space who are around your operations, as well as for when they use your products. And workers’ compensation coverage is also important to consider in order to protect your staff if they are hurt on the job.
Roadblocks to Commercial Property Insurance Claims
As the insured business owner, you need to be able to prove that you’ve suffered a significant loss of business or the ability to continue conducting your business. This includes showing the daily operations before the incident and the income generated from those operations. That way your insurance provider can determine the compensation you require to both fix your business as well as to pay for everyday life expenses your business was previously providing.
As with filing insurance claims to fix damage to your home, you may come across several obstacles when trying to receive compensation for your business. Some of the most common are:
- The insurance adjuster argues against or denies your business interruption and/or damage claim.
- The consultants, accountants, and other professionals selected by your insurance provider to give their assessment of your claim may understate the true value of your claim.
- The insurance company may only agree to pay for part of your business losses rather than the full amount owed.
- The time and effort needed to deal with insurance companies means taking valuable time and effort away from your goal of getting your business back up and running, or otherwise regaining financial stability.
If your place of businesses has been damaged to the point of stopped operations, the last thing on your mind is going to be figuring out how to deal with insurance companies as they keep setting up roadblocks to compensation. The first thing on your mind—and rightfully so—is going to be doing everything in your power to get your business back up and running so you can support yourself and your family. That’s why enlisting the help of a property insurance lawyer is key.
The Whisler Law Firm has years of experience not only helping business owners and homeowners build their claims cases, but hurdling over the roadblocks that insurance companies inevitably set up. We know every insurance company’s goal is to provide their insured with the least amount of compensation possible, and we know that often, that amount just won’t do for getting your life back on track. That’s why we also know how make sure your insurance provider stands behind their agreement with you and gives you the help you need.
Call our office at 833-529-5677 or fill out our easy online form to schedule a consultation with someone from our property insurance claims team. We’ll review your business and your insurance policy, and guide you on the next best steps we believe are needed to make sure you receive the compensation you’re owed.