Any property damage that occurs on your business premises can be devastating to your bottom line and operations. Damage from fires, storms, flooding, lighting strikes, water leaks, tornadoes, and other severe hazards could result in a temporary or long-term shutdown of your business. A Hollywood commercial property damage lawyer can help ease this process.
We know too well that whenever a business suffers property damage, it’s common for the owners to feel overwhelmed and confused about the situation. Many business owners end up settling with the insurance company for less than they deserve, just so that they can get their claim settled and have the business back on its feet as soon as possible.
However, we know that insurance companies like to take advantage of this desire to settle as quickly as possible. They know that most business owners lack the skill, time, and resources to thoroughly investigate the property damage and the amount needed to settle their total losses. For this reason, the payout is usually a lot less than it should be.
At Klotzman Property Damage Law in Hollywood, FL, we have the experience and resources needed to calculate the total losses, including physical damage, income, and others. We can help you understand all the coverages available or limited by your insurance policy. Call us today at 954-915-7405 for a free consultation.
Commercial properties are typically larger and have a higher chance of being affected by storms and other accidents. Here are some common types of damage:
Wind and Hail damage
Weather-related claims are some of the most common causes of commercial property damage in Florida. They account for a sizable percentage of all insurance claims, with the most prevalent of these weather-related claims being hail and hurricane damage. Hailstorms, tornadoes, windstorms, and hurricanes are some of the main culprits.
Most insurance policies do cover these perils. However, at times, your business might be required to purchase separate policies to cover hail and wind damage. Ensure that you understand exactly what is covered under your policy.
Freezing and water damage
Water damage in Florida can be attributed to plumbing defects, rain, flooding, and melting ice. Freezing damage is primarily caused by snow, which is something that most people in Florida don’t have to worry much about. Nonetheless, most commercial insurance policies offer adequate coverage against all these kinds of damage.
Flooding in Florida is commonly caused by:
- A tropical storm or hurricane that causes a tidal surge.
- Rapid or heavy rainfall that causes water to overflow into buildings, car parks, streets, etc.
- Inefficient or clogged drainage systems.
- Also note that water damage inside a building could lead to untold damage, especially if it goes unnoticed for a long time.
Fire is perhaps the most expensive and stressful property insurance claim. They can exert a lot of damage to properties, and they usually do it quickly. Furthermore, fire damage comes with extra expenses like having to move out and rebuild, either entirely or partially. Fortunately, property insurance was originally meant to provide coverage against fire. As a result, it’s generally easier to find coverage for fire damage claims.
Many people like living in Florida because it’s always warm. This is why mold is a problem in Florida. If you have experienced water damage as experienced above that is not addressed properly promptly, you most likely have mold damage along. Whenever a mold damage claim is filed, the insurance company will have to decide whether or not to cover the claim based on the source of the mold.
Sinkholes are very common in Florida, much so compared to any other state in the US. This is a result of the dolomite and limestone based underneath the ground surface. The dolomite or limestone dissolves from the slightly acidic rain and groundwater, which could cause a sinkhole. Water is usually the main culprit in the appearance of a sinkhole, so be especially aware after a flood or heavy storm.
What do I do after my property has been damaged?
If you suffer any form of property damage to your business in Hollywood, there are some steps you have to take as the policyholder and the owner of the property. Taking the right steps can help you avoid the common pitfalls that could hurt your claim. Use the following general checklist for the steps you should follow after commercial property damage:
Document the damage before cleaning up
Take a lot of videos and photos of the damage to your commercial property. You should ideally also have photos and videos of the property before the damage occurred for comparison.
File your initial claim
Reach out to your commercial property insurance provider to report the damage. Your insurance carrier will conduct their investigations and review the photos and documentation that you submit, as well as send an adjuster to assess the damage in person.
Protect your property from further damage
As you wait for the property damage claim to be assessed, avoid making major repairs. However, you should make temporary repairs to protect the property from further damage. For instance, you should cover broken windows and roofs to prevent water damage.
Document the related expenses
Ensure that you keep track of all the money you lost and spent as a result of the property damage. This includes relocation costs, travel expenses, temporary repairs, and lost revenue. you can submit this as part of your insurance claim as proof of loss.
When handling your insurance claims adjuster, you should not trust that they will treat you fairly. Remain polite but be very wary. Answer any questions they ask you shortly and simply. Don’t apologize for anything or admit any amount of fault for the property damage. Moreover, don’t give them a recorded statement, at least without the presence of a lawyer. Before you sign a release of liability waiver or accept a settlement, consult with a Hollywood commercial property damage lawyer at Klotzman Property Damage Law for legal advice.
How much does commercial property insurance cover?
You need a robust commercial property insurance policy if you want to protect your business against interruption and property loss. From natural events to vandals, the risks covered under commercial property insurance are diverse and numerous. Most policies cover repairs and replacements to the structure itself to the property including furniture, beds, electronics, and more.
The following are some examples to help demonstrate how much commercial property insurance covers.
Commercial property insurance ideally covers the business-owned real estate from perils like wind, storms, and fire. Most policies will also include coverage for supplies and equipment kept at the insured property. Hotel buildings are often worth substantial amounts, and you should make sure that your policy covers the cost to rebuild the building if it’s destroyed in a covered peril.
Some of the coverages to include in hotel insurance include:
- Equipment breakdown coverage: Cooling or heating systems breakdown could have a huge impact on your bottom line. Equipment breakdown coverage can help you replace or repair damaged equipment.
- Utility interruption coverage: losing power or a major water leak could easily rack up significant losses. This cover can provide compensation for moving clients to another hotel or reimburse any loss due to refunds.
- Business interruption insurance: in case your hotel gets damaged in a storm or suffers an unexpected shutdown from events such as a pandemic, this can protect your livelihood.
Commercial property damage is one of the most vital policies for restaurants. This is because the success of the business is tied to the property on which the food is being prepared and consumed. While the standard commercial property insurance policy would cover the actual restaurant space, along with the furniture, equipment, signage, and other property, you may want to consider the following policies:
- Equipment breakdown coverage: Your equipment is vital to the success of your restaurant. This cover will come in handy when your equipment is out of working order. You can extend it to cover spoilage in case your food goes bad when something like the refrigerator fails.
- Utility interruption coverage: Your business won’t operate if the utilities are not working. This coverage protects you if there’s a problem with the gas, water, electricity, or telephone services.
- Electronic data processing: if you take orders online and handle customer credit cards and personal information, you should seriously look into this, along with cyber liability insurance as well.
Other types of Businesses
Here are other policies business owners would want to consider:
Business owner’s policy: This covers property on-site. It generally combines general liability insurance with property insurance, such that your business is covered from any claims related to not only property damage but also personal injury and bodily injury.
Leasehold interest coverage: This coverage protects you from financial loss you may incur as a result of your lease being canceled because of loss or damage to your commercial property.
Who is responsible for commercial property damage?
Commercial property insurance is meant to cover many different kinds of accidental and sudden damage. As such, if your property suffers damages from any of the perils covered under your policy, your insurance company should be responsible for covering the costs.
This would be a straightforward process in a perfect world. Your insurer would pay you a fair amount for the damage promptly. You would both go your ways and be satisfied that the system is working. Unfortunately, there’s often pushback against claims from insurance companies. In some cases, the claims could even end up in litigation.
The attorneys at Klotzman Property Damage Law handle all aspects of the insurance claims process. We can visit your property to assess all the damage properly. We will then demand a fair payment on your behalf, handle negotiations, and even file a lawsuit in court if necessary. We want to ensure that you’re paid your compensation in full.
Common problems with commercial property claims
Property claims sometimes cause more problems than they solve. Our lawyers are experienced in dealing with these types of cases. Here are some common issues we see people have with commercial property claims.
These usually occur when the insurance company denies the claim filed by a policyholder. Generally speaking, the insurance company will state that the policy doesn’t cover the issue the policyholder filed in their claim. This often arises from disparity between the insurer and the policyholder about the terms of the policy.
The insurance company may accept coverage, but refuse to pay enough for the loss. In some cases, insurance adjusters will significantly underestimate the value of your loss and offer too little to finish making the repairs you need.
Bad faith claims
An insurance company may delay payments to a business or wrongfully deny a claim, despite a claim being valid. Such insurance companies can be sued for breaching the terms of their policies as well as their obligation to treat the policyholders with good faith. Note that if such a lawsuit is successful, the recoverable damages could exceed the policy limits.
How much return can I expect from a property damage claim?
The amount of compensation you can expect from a commercial property claim in Hollywood, FL will largely depend on the specifics of your case. The following are some of the factors that will affect the value of your claim:
- The nature of damage your property suffered
- The severity of the damage
- Your level of fault, if any
- Exactly what was damaged
- The coverage your policy provides
- At Klotzman Property Damage Law, we can help you pursue a fair settlement through a property damage claim. We can help calculate the full amount of compensation you’re entitled to, such that the settlement you receive can put your business back on its feet.
How commercial property lawyers can help you
No matter the nature and severity of damage on your commercial property in Hollywood, FL, you can count on our experienced commercial property damage lawyers to pursue a fair settlement from your insurance provider. Here is what your attorney will offer:
- Advice and guidance about your rights as a renter or owner of the damaged property
- Investigate your claim and collect evidence of losses
- Face your insurer on your behalf
- Handle the paperwork needed to bring a lawsuit in FL
- Walk you through every step of the claims process
- Represent you in court, before a judge or jury
Generally speaking, a lawyer will ensure that you and your business have everything needed during the claims process to ensure a favorable outcome.
Talk to a Hollywood Commercial Property Damage Lawyer Today
Insurance companies should pay valid claims, and they should pay them promptly. Our team knows the tricks insurance companies may use and we can protect you and your business against them. If you have a dispute with your commercial property insurance claim, don’t hesitate to talk to us at Klotzman Property Damage Law today.
We offer all our clients free consultations, and you can reach us at 954-915-7405 any time of the day.