A fire, a storm, or another catastrophic event might occur at any time, inflicting significant damage to a commercial property. Property damage can be devastating for the business owner. After all, commercial property damage slows or stops your business from its normal day-to-day operations, interrupts cash flow, and ultimately threatens your livelihood and that of your employees.
Smart business owners and executives buy commercial property damage insurance to protect against the unexpected. You can file a claim to recover losses or damages when your commercial property is damaged. Unfortunately, insurance companies often attempt to minimize payouts, delay payment on claims, or deny valid claims entirely.
It’s a painful experience seeing your Fort Lauderdale business suffer damage and then having an undervaluation or denial from your insurance company jeopardize your business permanently. The fear of paying the losses yourself is only part of the stress, as the emotional toll is equally devastating.
It’s vital to ensure your rights as a policyholder are upheld and that insurance companies don’t take advantage of your situation. Our Fort Lauderdale commercial property damage lawyers at Klotzman Property Damage Law have made a name for themselves in Florida for their professionalism, skills, and successful track record when dealing with insurance companies.
Let our dedicated legal team advocate for your right to full compensation for your commercial property damage claim. Contact us today at 954-915-7405 for a free case evaluation with our Fort Lauderdale property damage attorneys!
Common Causes of Commercial Property Damage in Florida
Commercial properties throughout Florida are susceptible to natural disasters, accidents, catastrophic events, and crimes. One way executives and business owners protect their financial interests is by securing commercial insurance that covers losses or damages that occur due to natural disasters and human error.
Depending on your policy, the specific nature of the elements covered by your commercial property damage insurance will vary. An experienced business property damage insurance lawyer at Klotzman Property Damage Law can help initiate a claim to recover losses and damages caused by:
- Business interruption
- Hail storms
- Falling objects
- Mold and mildew
- Failing appliances
- Storms (Such as tropical storms and hurricanes)
- Water damage (due to leaks, plumbing, or weather)
- Wind damage
- Accidental damage or destruction
- Roof damage or collapses
The above causes of property damage are usually covered perils in various commercial property damage insurance policies. Yet, they could be in a standalone policy. It can be a good idea to have a Fort Lauderdale business property insurance lawyer review your policy and explain if common causes of commercial property damage in Florida are included in your coverage.
What Do I Do After My Commercial Property Has Been Damaged?
When owners suffer commercial property damage, resolving the issue and reopening the business are top priorities. However, the commercial property damage insurance claims process is often complex and can be overwhelming to navigate on your own.
Knowing the steps to take before, during, and after an accident or event that causes damage to your business property can help you ensure you are successful in recovering a fair settlement.
Our Fort Lauderdale commercial property damage lawyers recommend you take the following steps.
Have All Proper Documentation
We cannot overstate the importance of proper documentation before filing your claim. Good recordkeeping includes backing up your business data and having a record of all your business purchases. Lack of proper documentation can be detrimental to your commercial property damage claim.
Protect Damaged Property
Do this before calling your insurance company. You should take measures that prevent further damage, such as removing wet carpets and boarding up broken windows. Making these arrangements ensures that your property does not sustain additional damage that your insurer may not cover.
Promptly Notify Your Insurance Company
When your commercial property is damaged, notify your insurer immediately. This is because deadlines exist. Besides, your claim will be much easier to adjust when the damage is fresh. A delayed claim can put your claim in limbo as it leaves room for insurers to doubt the severity of the losses or damage and the cause.
Take Pictures of Your Property
Before they can pay anything, insurers want proof that your property sustained damage. So, you should take photos and record videos from various angles showing the damage.
Make a comprehensive list of all items lost or damaged on your property. Keep all invoices, receipts, and a record of dates and times, and also maintain a list of all contact information of everyone involved, e.g., a general contractor. It is also essential to document all communication with your insurance company regarding your claim.
Talk to a Commercial Property Damage Lawyer
Talk to a commercial property damage lawyer in Fort Lauderdale to walk you through the logistics of your claim. The attorneys at Klotzman Property Damage Law are known for their professionalism, skills, and successful track record when dealing with insurance companies.
Who Does Commercial Property Insurance Help?
Commercial property damage caused by human error or natural disasters can devastate your business. That’s precisely why many business owners will have commercial property damage insurance policies.
All businesses may elect to have commercial property damage insurance, including (but not limited to):
- Building owners
- Condominium associates
- Shopping malls and strip malls
- Private businesses
- Community centers
- Real estate investors
- Gyms and recreational facilities
- Franchises of national chains
- Churches, temples, synagogues, and mosques
What Does Commercial Property Insurance Cover?
Commercial property insurance typically pays for repairing or replacing damaged, lost, stolen, or destroyed property used for your business. This includes harm to:
- Business-owed building
- Supplies and equipment
- Furniture and fittings
- Other physical structures
Your commercial property damage insurance might be under another name, e.g., commercial building insurance, business property insurance, non-residential building insurance, etc.
Commercial property damage insurance often does not cover:
- Employee theft
- Malfunctioning equipment
- Destroyed payment records
- Goods in transit
- Damage to customer property
No matter what your business is, please speak to our Fort Lauderdale commercial property damage attorneys for answers and clarity regarding what your commercial insurance covers. At Klotzman Property Damage Law, we handle commercial property damage claims for different businesses and are ready to learn the specifics of your situation and provide a personalized legal solution.
Who Is Responsible for Commercial Property Damage?
If you own or rent a workspace, office, or storefront, you are likely wondering who is responsible for commercial property damage. In general, if your business has physical property (owned or leased), you need commercial property damage coverage. Examples include but are not limited to:
- Any business that manages inventory
- Any business that leases commercial space
- Any business that maintains others’ property
When you lease a commercial property, though, who pays for the commercial property insurance? You or the landlord? In most cases, tenants of commercial spaces are responsible for obtaining their own commercial property damage insurance. As a tenant, your commercial property damage insurance will cover:
- Your portion of the building (including things like structural walls and fixtures)
- Your business’s physical assets
- Your business’ inventory
Commercial property damage insurance for leased business spaces will usually not cover the structure itself. Instead, it is usually the commercial property owner’s responsibility to have property damage insurance on the structure.
But remember that your landlord’s insurance won’t protect you from losses related to perils. Instead, their commercial property damage insurance will only protect the owner’s property (the building and shared equipment). For this reason, all business owners who lease commercial space should have their own coverage.
Are you moving to a new structure? Make sure to speak with the owner about the type of commercial property damage insurance in place. Ask for a copy and learn what it covers and what it does not in order to know if you need your own commercial property damage.
Without this coverage, a storm could destroy the building, including your business, and you would be missing the protection you need to repair what was damaged or replace what was lost.
Common Problems With Commercial Property Claims
A problem with insurers is that they are for-profit businesses, and they make even more profit when they underpay claims, delay making payouts, or deny claims. Unfortunately, they often get away with taking advantage of policyholders because most won’t challenge them.
Here are some of the common disputes between commercial property damage insurance companies and policyholders.
- Insurers claim that the damage was not covered under the insurance policy.
- Insurers claim you are not up to date on your premiums.
- The insurance company insists that the damage to the property pre-existed an event.
- Insurance claims the damage resulted from failure to mitigate the damage.
Bad Faith in Insurance Claims
If your insurance company does not manage your claim reasonably and uses underhanded tactics to undervalue, delay, or deny your claim, you can take legal action. Some examples of bad faith tactics include:
- Insurers imposing unnecessary delays in processing your commercial property damage claim
- Undervaluing the amount of your claim
- Denying a legitimate claim without a reason
- Refusing to pay for the covered damage in full without a reason
- Making threatening statements
- Requiring documents or other requirements to process your claim, even when not outlined in your policy
Suppose you are battling with your insurers over coverage for commercial property damage. In that case, you need a business property insurance attorney to pursue a bad faith claim in court and get the money you are entitled to under your policy.
How Much Return Can I Expect From a Commercial Property Damage Claim?
Regardless of the type of natural disaster, accident, or event, policyholders always want to know what their commercial damage claim is worth. The value of your claim can depend on many factors, including (but not limited to):
- The type of your policy and choice of coverage
- Where your business is located
- Size of the commercial premises
- Age and condition of your equipment
- Age and condition of the structure
- Daily occupancy
- Fire protection
- Applicable deductibles
- The value of the covered property and its contents at the time of the loss
- Applicable policy limits
- A coinsurance percentage
The Fort Lauderdale commercial property damage insurance lawyers at Klotzman Property Damage Law are well versed in the claims process. They can effectively calculate the value of your business property damage claim to pursue the full compensation you deserve.
How Can a Fort Lauderdale Commercial Property Damage Lawyer Help You?
Our team at Klotzman Property Damage Law takes special care with each case we handle. We understand that the claims process for commercial property damage insurance can be even more overwhelming than dealing with the damage itself.
As you begin focusing on fixing your property and reopening your business, we can shoulder the stress of dealing with insurance companies and take care of everything on your behalf.
Some of the ways we can help with your claim include:
- Investigating the cause of the damage to your business premises
- Analyzing your commercial property damage insurance policy to understand your exact coverage options, restrictions, or exclusions
- Enlisting the help of experts in property damage appraisal
- Calculating the total cost of damage and losses to determine an accurate and fair insurance payout request
- Filing your insurance claim
- Serving as your skilled advocate in correspondence and negotiations with your insurance company
- Appealing a denied claim
- Suing your insurance for bad faith
There’s no part of your insurance claim process that you need to handle on your own. Leave everything in the capable hands of our Fort Lauderdale commercial property damage lawyers.
Get Help With Your Commercial Property Damage Claim in Fort Lauderdale!
Few losses compared to standing outside your store, restaurant, hotel, or other commercial property destroyed by a flood or hurricane. After you experience such a loss, don’t have your life taken over by the insurance claims process.
Insurers use teams of lawyers and adjusters to minimize or deny claims. Working with an experienced lawyer helps to level the playing field, allowing you to recover the compensation you paid for when you purchased your commercial property damage policy.
At Klotzman Property Damage Law, we work hard to ensure Floridians are fairly compensated for their commercial property damage insurance claims. For each case, we strive to relieve the stress of dealing with insurers and to deliver favorable results to our clients in a timely manner.