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Essential Flood Damage Coverages for Hospitals and Outpatient Health Care Facilities
Flooding can affect a single building or shut down whole communities, wreaking havoc through water damage, contamination, and ruined foundations. Medical centers are uniquely at risk in these disasters, since shutting their doors may force administrators to relocate their current patients and turn away those who require care. Whether your hospital is run by a board of governors or a solo practitioner, attorney Bill Voss explores common problems you may experience when making a commercial flood damage claim for your medical facility.You Need More Than a BOP to Cover Flood Damage CostsWhile a strong business owners policy (BOP) can be invaluable in some events, many private insurers will only cover certain kinds of water damage, such as damage from a roof leak or a burst pipe. Owners whose losses were caused by a storm surge or a natural disaster may find themselves paying out of pocket for their losses, or even declaring bankruptcy due to an inability to perform repairs.In order to fully protect your enterprise from flooding, you should purchase coverage for your healthcare center under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). These policies specifically cover flooding caused by an extreme weather event, such as a hurricane or rising tides.Once you have secured an NFIP policy, you may want to consider special policy endorsements that can offer further protection from a flood, such as:Building ordinance coverage. Once a building has suffered damage, the structure must be updated to maintain compliance with current building codes. Building ordinance insurance can pay to upgrade older structures, including the costs of installing ramps and elevators for patients in wheelchairs.Business vehicle coverage. If you rely on your own ambulances, patient or employee shuttles, delivery vans, or other business vehicles, these must be protected from both destruction and liability. A comprehensive commercial auto policy will cover non-collision losses, such as water damage to parked vehicles or windshield repair from fallen tree limbs.Special equipment coverage. The loss of one or more pieces of technical equipment could put you over your policy limit; you may want to consider covering certain items under a separate deductible. Your insurer may offer an endorsement for specialized medical equipment, such as diagnostic testing machines, patient beds, and other expensive items vital to your daily operation.Spoliation and service interruptions. Flooding may knock out power, wireless internet, municipal water, and waste disposal services, leading to loss of perishable items and increasing biohazardous waste. Utility and spoliation coverage can replace industrial items in industrial refrigerators and freezers ranging from food and drinks to blood bags and human organs.Rental coverage. If your facility leases its x-ray machines, dentist chairs, or other medical equipment from a vendor or hospital, any equipment not directly owned by the facility should be protected under a rental insurance policy. Inland marine insurance. This coverage, sometimes called transportation and cargo insurance, can pay to replace any goods or inventory that has been lost on its way to or from your facility. This could be medical supplies, custom prosthetics, or other items washed away by floodwaters or otherwise lost in transit.Business interruption insurance. Business interruption insurance is hands-down the most important form of commercial property damage insurance. Every day your doors are closed to the public, you lose thousands of dollars in business income—and if you have an entire community of hospitals, you could lose millions. Business interruption insurance can replace your lost income while you are performing cleanup and making repairs, including payroll expenses, projected income from canceled procedures, and out-of-pocket costs.Unfortunately, insurers often attempt to deny flood damage coverage by claiming that the event was an act of God or otherwise excluded from coverage. When this happens, a commercial insurance attorney can help you get fair payment for your losses. Simply fill out the form on this page today to contact an insurance attorney at the Voss Law Firm or order a free copy of our book, Commercial Property Owners Must Read This BEFORE Filing an Insurance Claim.Related Links:What Business Owners Need to Know About Flood Damage PaymentsWill My Business Need Legal Help to File a Business Interruption Claim?How to Know If Your Flood Damage Is an Act of God 

Shannen Doherty Sues State Farm for Emotional Distress in Fire Insurance Claim
Insurers can go to extreme—or even illegal—lengths to underpay claims, causing undue stress for policyholders from all walks of life. Actress Shannen Doherty, who has been in an ongoing dispute with State Farm in relation to her 2018 fire insurance claim, has filed a new grievance against the company for its underhanded tactics and misuse of her personal information, causing her “enormous emotional distress.”Doherty Says State Farm’s False Claims Caused Emotional DistressShannen Doherty first clashed with insurance giant State Farm over the cost of repairs to her Los Angeles home, which was damaged in a 2018 wildfire. The 48-year-old actress, who is currently battling stage IV breast cancer, says State Farm lied about her smoking habits and damaged her reputation in order to pay less than the full amount of her property damage claim.The case against State Farm is scheduled to begin on March 3, 2020, and includes accusations of:Underpaying a valid claim. State Farm has issued Doherty a total of $1.1 million for repairs to her property, temporary housing, and furniture rental. However, the actress claims the damage costs are closer to $4 million, and is seeking additional payment to cover out-of-pocket expenses and to clear harmful soot and ash particles on the property that could exacerbate her illness and worsen her COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Accessing private medical records. In an initial deposition, a State Farm industrial hygienist claimed to have seen medical records indicating that Doherty continued to smoke cigarettes after receiving her latest cancer diagnosis. Doherty has denied the accusation, claiming that the contractor had no right to access her private health information nor the medical expertise to speculate about her condition.Publishing Doherty’s home address. Doherty claims that the insurer disclosed private details about her to the public, including her home address, placing the safety of the actress and her family at risk.If you are experiencing similar unfair treatment from an insurer, the insurance bad faith attorneys at the Voss Law Firm can help you fight to get the compensation you deserve from your policy. Simply fill out the contact form on this page today or order a free copy of our book, Commercial Property Owners Must Read This BEFORE Filing an Insurance Claim.Related Links:Insurers May Not Cover Smoke Damage, Upgrades, and Other Fire LossesThe Best Way to Fight Insurance Claim Denials Over Property DamageHow an Insurance Bad Faith Attorney Can Help a Delayed Claim 

Do You Know What Retrocession Insurance Is and How it May Apply to Your Claim?
Have you ever wondered how insurance companies are able to take on a huge amount of risks and still make money? It’s because insurers rely on a number of risk-sharing tactics to ensure that their profits are protected even when they have to pay out claims. Attorney Bill Voss explains how risk sharing protects insurers from large losses, as well as how it impacts your potential claim as a policyholder.What Is Retrocession Insurance?What many people do not know is that insurance companies buy insurance policies of their own, known as reinsurance. This ensures that the company will have enough money to pay out if a large number of claims come in at once.Once the first insurance company buys insurance to protect itself from a second insurer, the reinsurer also has the option to pass on its portion of risk to a third (or fourth or fifth) company—a process called retrocession.At this point, there are many different players in the insurance agreement:The Client is the person who purchases insurance coverageThe Insurer is the initial insurance company where the client purchases the insuranceThe Reinsurer is the reinsurance company that takes on part of the risk assumed by the insurer (also referred to as the cedent)The Retrocessionaire is the reinsurance company that takes on part of the risk assumed by the reinsurer (also referred to as the retrocedent)The Benefits of Retrocession InsuranceWhile retrocession insurance can be confusing, it is a great benefit to insurers because it adds another layer of protection to their businesses. When done correctly, retrocession reduces risk and the liability burden of the initial reinsurer by spreading out the risk to other reinsurance companies, giving your insurance company the benefit of:Investment profits. Insurance companies take the money they receive in premiums and invest it elsewhere, allowing them to grow their profits even further. As a result, they do not have all of their funds available at one time. Retrocession insurance allows insurers to invest their profits and still have funds available when a huge amount of claims needs to be paid out.Protection in at-risk markets. Retrocession is common in places that are prone to natural disasters such as hurricanes or tornados. Due to the prevalence of natural calamities, insurance companies might not thrive if they do not have access to reinsurance and retrocession. Client protection. If you are an insured client and your provider has reinsurance or retrocession insurance, your agreement with your insurance company is valid and binding even if the reinsurer or the retrocessionaire fails to reimburse the insurance company.How Retrocession Insurance Can Negatively Impact Your ClaimGenerally speaking, policyholders never know about retrocession insurance if the process is working properly. Once policyholders have paid premiums to an insurer, they may give little thought to where that money goes—until, of course, they experience sudden property damage and need to make a claim.The most common ways policyholders learn about retrocession insurance include:Spiraling. The more insurance companies engage in buying and selling insurance products, the more likely it is that they will accidentally buy back their own products.Unforeseen disasters. Even if companies have purchased reinsurance and retrocession insurance, huge storms have the ability to bankrupt insurance companies or leave them scrambling to pay out claims.Unfair denial of claims. An insurer that failed to ensure its partners were equipped to handle a large risk could simply attempt to deny your claim rather than admit that it cannot pay.If you are experiencing similar unfair treatment from an insurer, the insurance bad faith attorneys at the Voss Law Firm can help you fight the battles you need to fight to get the compensation you deserve from your policy. Simply fill out the contact form on this page today or order a free copy of our book, Commercial Property Owners Must Read This BEFORE Filing an Insurance Claim.Related Links:Reinsurance & Retrocession Insurance Glossary of Common TermsIs it Okay If My Insurer Has Reinsurance or Retrocession Insurance?5 Things Insurance Companies Don't Want You to Know 

Why Fire Insurance Claims for Charter Flight Companies May Be Underpaid
As the owner of a charter flight company, you likely have a robust liability insurance policy to protect yourself from passenger and pilot lawsuits. However, you could be at risk of even greater losses if you did not take the same precautions with your property damage insurance. Attorney Bill Voss explores the differences in various fire damage insurance coverages for airfields and charter flight companies, allowing owners to make changes to their policies before it’s too late.Fire Insurance Considerations for Charter Flight CompaniesThe amount you receive for your fire damage claim will depend on the insurance options you select to cover your charter flight operation. If your policy is not tailored specifically to the type of business you run, you may find your claim underpaid or outright denied.For example, you may receive less than you expected after a fire if your commercial flight insurance policy has exclusions regarding:Nature of the accident. Property damage insurance for aircraft, generally known as hull damage coverage, comes in many different forms. If you have selected ground-only coverage, your aircraft are only protected while they are on the ground and not in motion—and if a fire occurs when an aircraft is taxiing away from a gate, your insurer can refuse payment. The easiest way to ensure payment is to select all-risk coverage, which pays for damage regardless of whether the plane is on the ground, taxiing, or in flight.Type of aircraft. It may be beneficial to select coverage for the specific type of aircraft your business offers. For example, farmers may require agricultural aviation coverage, while museums may need antique aircraft insurance to cover the costs of replacing bespoke leather seats or wooden wings.Extent of damage. A fire on the ground may spread throughout the hangar, damaging other aircraft, vehicles, mobile staircases, spare parts, or expensive tools. Hangar insurance provides property damage coverage for your hangar and anything housed inside.Restoration period. Business interruption insurance will cover ongoing operating expenses as you rebuild, but may only cover up to six months of losses. This can be extended by choosing a higher policy limit, or selecting extra expense coverage (which can pay for rental costs for alternate aircraft while yours are under repair).If you need help getting payment for your losses after a fire, our commercial insurance claim attorneys can work to get you full and fair compensation to make repairs and reopen your doors. Please contact the Voss Law Firm at 1-888-991-3212 or simply fill out the form on this page today to get answers to your questions.Related Links:Hangar and Flight Program Planes Damaged in Stillwater WindstormWhen You Might Consider Flight Crash Insurance CoverageTornado Insurance That Can Help Owners of Charter Flight Companies 

Protecting Amusement Parks or Carnivals From Tornado Damage
Tornadoes can cause devastation to whole counties, uprooting families and businesses in their wake. While property damage insurance can help communities rebuild, not all businesses have purchased adequate policies to ensure their survival. Owners of entertainment operations such as fun parks, arcades, or mini-golf courses often find their tornado claims underpaid or even denied, forcing them to close their doors. Attorney Bill Voss explores vital tornado insurance coverages for tourist attractions, including policy extensions that can help minimize losses. Essential Tornado Damage Coverage for Fun Parks and Tourist AttractionsThe first thing owners should do is ensure that they have adequate coverage under state law. Every state imposes its own specific insurance requirements for different types of amusement park rides. In Texas, smaller rides for children 12 and under must have at least $100,000 bodily injury coverage $50,000 property damage coverage, while larger rides require at least $1,000,000 bodily injury and $500,000 for property damage coverage.Your park’s location may also influence whether you should purchase multiple policies to protect against specific perils. Many private insurers will exclude coverage for wind and hail damage to commercial businesses along the Texas coast, such as in Galveston and Harris Counties. If your amusement park or leisure property has a fixed location in one of these areas, it may be wise to secure coverage through the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA).When it comes to selecting tornado insurance for an amusement park, miniature golf course, or traveling fair, you may wish to consider endorsements that will protect your:Rides and structures. Your entertainment property coverage should be tailored to the specific equipment and facilities you offer. For example, it costs much more to replace or restore a roller coaster than a food cart, and it is vital that you know the true value of all of your amenities. All large or expensive equipment should have a high enough policy limit to cover a total loss, even if it means paying an added deductible or opting for a depreciation reimbursement policy.Vehicles. Any mobile equipment used to transport rides, employees, or commercial goods should be covered under a comprehensive commercial auto policy. This may include tractor-trailers, horse trailers, food trucks, and other business vehicles.Rented equipment. Property damage policies generally will only cover items you own, not those you use under a long-term lease or short-term rental. If you lease your rides, trucks, or other equipment from a third-party, these items should be specifically covered under a rental policy.Goods in transit. All amusement facilities can benefit from inland marine insurance, particularly mobile operations such as funfairs, carnivals, or rodeos that are constantly moving from one place to another. This coverage will pay to replace any property that is damaged while in transit or when stored offsite (including compressors, bounce houses, lights, and tents).Animals. If your entertainment business relies on animals (including domesticated dogs and ponies, horses for work or rising, or exotic animals such as elephants and peacocks), all animals should be protected under livestock insurance that includes stock mortality insurance in case animals are killed or go missing after a storm.Special events. If your operation makes most of its profits at a certain time of year, you may benefit from seasonal coverage to make up the difference for losses in a busy season. Special event insurance can provide additional payment for any events you host on your property (such as weddings or birthday parties) that were canceled due to a covered loss.Profits. Business interruption insurance is vital for all commercial enterprises, replacing lost profits, employee payroll, and other expenses for up to six months after a covered event.If you are having trouble getting fair payment from your insurance company, the Voss Law Firm can examine your policy, investigate the your losses, and fight on your behalf. Simply fill out the contact form on this page today or order a free copy of our book, Commercial Property Owners Must Read This BEFORE Filing an Insurance Claim.Related Links:Three Calls to Make Immediately After a Tornado Damages a BusinessHow Hail Damage Affects Carnivals and Amusement ParksIdentifying “Bad Faith” in a Commercial Property Damage Claim 

What Contractors and Construction Companies Need to Know Before a Hurricane Strikes
The high winds and heavy rainfall from a hurricane can cause devastating losses to any business, and construction companies are no exception. Not only can a hurricane leave you in the red, it can also prevent you from providing much-needed assistance to neighboring homeowners as they rebuild. Attorney Bill Voss explores vital forms of insurance coverage for general contractors, renovation companies, and operators of public and private building services.Important Hurricane Coverages for That Can Save Construction CompaniesThe best way to protect your construction business is to tailor your policy to the specific type of work you perform, and ensure that your coverage limits will be sufficient even in the worst-case scenario. Some construction insurance options you may wish to consider include:Business income loss insurance. Next to liability insurance, business interruption coverage is the most important coverage a commercial enterprise will need. Business income insurance will continue to pay ongoing and operational expenses (such as employee payroll, rent, mortgages, or insurance) for six months after a loss. Commercial auto coverage. Commercial auto insurance pays for damage to business vehicles (including pickup trucks, vans, cars, or trailers), while comprehensive coverage will pay for non-collision losses (such as vehicle flooding).Equipment breakdown coverage. A property damage policy may include coverage for all contents of an insured location, but only up to the policy limits. If your policy limit is only $50,000, it won’t matter how much it will cost to replace your saws, grinders, or excavators—your insurer isn’t going to cover it. However, a special equipment endorsement can provide additional funds to cover the expensive heavy machinery that is vital to your enterprise. Inland marine insurance. Any building materials traveling to or from your construction site are likely not covered under a standard property damage plan. Inland marine coverage will pay for tools, lumber, windows, equipment, and raw materials that have been lost on the way to your covered location. All-risk coverage. Although these policies are typically more expensive than basic coverage, an all-risk property damage policy can provide extra coverage for perils related to natural disasters, such as wind-driven rain or interruptions in utility services caused by a hurricane.A Word to Contractors About FEMA Relief and Governmental Insurance ProgramsThe majority of hurricane losses result not from the storm itself, but from the severe flooding afterward. Open land and buildings that are filled with standing water can cause complications ranging from lost vegetation and income to weakened foundations and mold growth—and unfortunately, flooding from a natural disaster is typically not covered under commercial insurance policies. For this reason, construction companies in flood-prone areas should secure an additional policy under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to cover hurricane-related flood losses.The NFIP also has a secondary consideration for contractors: a source of payment for the jobs they take on after a storm. You may be contracted to perform work for clients who have received money through FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program (IHP). Homeowners, business owners, and municipalities can all collect NFIP funds to rebuild, but the use of that money is still governed by FEMA rules.FEMA grants are intended to be used to bring properties to a safe and sanitary condition—not to pay for a full restoration of the structure. For this reason, building companies entering into a contract with a client expecting FEMA reimbursement should examine the scope of work and the amount recoverable from the federal agency. Otherwise, you may be left underpaid for weeks or months as the client struggles to make up the difference.If you are struggling to rebuild after a storm, our attorneys can work to get full and fair payment from your commercial insurance carrier. Simply fill out the form on this page today to contact an insurance attorney at the Voss Law Firm or order a free copy of our book, Commercial Property Owners Must Read This BEFORE Filing an Insurance Claim.Related Links:Why You Really Should Purchase Flood Insurance For Your BusinessThree Spring Insurance Coverage Surprises That Affect ContractorsIdentifying “Bad Faith” in a Commercial Property Damage Claim 

Insurance Coverages Owners of Construction Companies Will Need to Recover from Windstorms
Your phone may ring off the hook after a major windstorm, but what happens if your construction business has also been damaged in the gale? The amount and extent of your construction insurance may be the difference between making a profit or ending up in the red. Attorney Bill Voss explores vital forms of coverage for contractors and renovation companies, helping business owners get proper compensation after a storm.Important Windstorm Coverage Options for Construction CompaniesAnyone who builds homes, buildings, or other structures needs some form of construction property damage insurance. From general contractors and home improvement firms to builders and designers of city streets and infrastructure, every construction business will face unique risks in a storm. The best way to ensure fair coverage after a loss is to tailor your policy to the specific type of work you perform, protecting the equipment that is most vital to your enterprise.When purchasing construction insurance, you may wish to consider:Location. If your business is located in an area where high winds are common, your private insurer may refuse to cover wind damage losses. For example, businesses in Texas coastal areas are advised to secure insurance coverage through the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA).Builder's risk insurance. This coverage pays for on-site property damage of a site under construction, including construction materials that are used or stored on site. Most insurers will limit coverage to the value of the structure when completed, including materials and labor costs (not including land value).Commercial vehicle insurance. If your company uses pickup trucks, cars, vans, trailers, or any other business vehicles, commercial auto coverage is vital to protect you against third-party bodily injuries or property damage. Comprehensive coverage will provide payment for non-collision losses (such as if a tree branch is thrown through the windshield in a storm), while rental vehicle coverage will pay for damage to vehicles you have borrowed or rented for a specific job.Equipment breakdown. Property damage insurance will typically cover an insured business location structure and its contents, but damage to high-value equipment such as saws, lathes, planers, and other tools may quickly exceed coverage limits. Equipment breakdown and special equipment coverage can cover equipment malfunction and the loss of expensive items.Goods in transit. Building materials in your warehouse or business location may be insured against damage, but items that are traveling to or from the site may not be covered. Inland marine coverage can cover construction materials such as tools, excavators, lumber, shingles, forklifts, beams, or machinery that is damaged while it is on the move.Business income loss insurance. Business interruption coverage is vital for any commercial enterprise, as it pays to replace lost profits for six months (or longer) after an adverse event. Business income insurance will typically cover employee payroll and operating expenses until the business is able to resume normal operations.Extra expense. Extra expense coverage acts as an extension to business income loss, covering the extra expenditures incurred during rebuilding. It can be used to rent a temporary location or construction equipment, pay for advertising to reassure clients, or pay for measures that will reduce the total amount of loss. Insurers will usually not cover expenses unless there is a substantial amount of supporting documentation detailing the reasons why the expenses were incurred, why they were necessary, and how they were directly caused by the covered event.Umbrella insurance. Umbrella coverage kicks in if the policy limits on a single claim have been reached, allowing coverage for an additional amount above and beyond the normal rate. In large-loss situations, umbrella insurance can allow businesses to reopen more quickly or even avoid bankruptcy.If you are struggling to rebuild after a severe wind storm, our attorneys can work to get full and fair payment from your commercial insurance carrier. Simply fill out the form on this page today to contact an insurance attorney at the Voss Law Firm or order a free copy of our book, Commercial Property Owners Must Read This BEFORE Filing an Insurance Claim.Related Links:When an Insurance Company Refuses to Pay for Losses After a WindstormThree Spring Insurance Coverage Surprises That Affect ContractorsWhat Should I Do If My Business Has Been Damaged by Wind? 

Fire Insurance Claims Expected to Soar as Wildfires Continue to Sweep Through Australia
Australia will likely see a record-high number of insurance claims following its most devastating wildfire season to date. The fires, which started in September 2019, have resulted in over 27 deaths, countless injuries, and the displacement of thousands of residents who have been forced to evacuate their homes. Attorney Bill Voss explores the consequences of this disaster, including potential losses for Australians throughout the continent.Injuries and Costs of Australian Wildfires Expected to RiseThe Insurance Council of Australia has reported that nearly 9,000 fire claims worth $481 million US dollars have already been filed. The agency estimates that damage claims relating to the fires may rise to over A$900 million, or US$618 million. As the fires are expected to continue until the nation’s rainy season, which is not in the forecast for months, the damage total is likely to rise even higher.To date, the fires have caused widespread damage to:Homes. Thousands of homes have been destroyed and conditions are expected to worsen in the coming months. In New South Wales alone, over 2,000 homes have been destroyed by over 160 fires separate fires, many of which remain uncontained. The rural community of Balmoral near Sydney has been largely destroyed, displacing nearly all residents shortly before Christmas.Businesses. Commercial businesses are expected to suffer large losses due to fire and smoke damage. In Canberra, toxic air pollutants have forced the closure of businesses and government departments, caused flight cancellations for national carrier Qantas Airways Ltd, and may impact future agricultural production.Wildlife. The University of Sydney estimates the loss of at least 800 million animals in the bushfires surrounding New South Wales, and roughly one billion animal deaths nationally since the fires began. Native species such as koalas, kangaroos, bats, mammals, birds, and reptiles have been killed directly by the fires or indirectly due to the destruction of their food and habitat.Tourism. The downturn in tourism spending is estimated at A$3.5 billion for the fiscal year ending June 30, causing a severe impact on the economy. Pollution cleanup and air quality conditions could take several months, causing income losses long after the fires have been extinguished.If you need help with your fire insurance claim, the Voss Law Firm is here to assist you. Simply fill out the form on this page to get your questions answered by an insurance attorney, or learn more about filing a claim in our book, Commercial Property Owners Must Read This BEFORE Filing an Insurance Claim.Related Links:Gatlinburg Wildfire Insurance Claims Nearing $1 BillionColorado Wildfires Destroy Hundreds of HomesInsurance Tips to Help You Before, During, and After a Wildfire 

Keys to Recovering From Fire Damage at Your Veterinary Clinic or Animal Rehabilitation Service
In the months after a commercial fire, business owners who care for animals can face significant cash-flow problems, construction delays, and the loss of customers as they struggle to rebuild. Attorney Bill Voss explores the many forms of fire damage losses to animal service providers, as well as how to build a commercial property damage insurance policy to cover the full extent of fire losses.Fire Insurance Options for Veterinary and Animal Rehabilitation ServicesVeterinarians, dog groomers, petsitting kennels, animal rescue centers, and other businesses that provide animal care face unique fire loss risks. It is vital that owners tailor their Business Owner’s Policies to cover a wide range of perils as well as the specific needs and requirements of the operation, including:Property damage. The amount of coverage offered by commercial property insurers can vary widely between policies. Most policies will provide compensation for damage to the building, inventory, or equipment, but they are limited in both scope and dollar amount provided. A strong policy should contain a detailed list of all contents, stock, and equipment covered under each peril, as well as the physical limits of the property (such as coverage for exterior buildings, barns, sheds, or outdoor signs).Pet coverage. Fire damage to walls and floors can be repaired with time, but the loss of the animals you care for will be harder to overcome. Customer pet coverage pays for injuries or death to animals resulting from a covered peril while they were left in your care or custody. Specialty equipment. Owners may need to purchase policy extensions for specialty or high-value equipment, such as lights, surgical tools, kennels, x-ray machines, baths and fans, or haircutting equipment. There may also be an extension to cover water or fire damage to computers, electronic media, data programs, and telecommunications equipment.Water damage. Firefighting efforts can cause their own unique forms of damage, many of which may not be covered under a standard property damage policy. An extension to cover damage from fire suppression materials may replace waterlogged carpets and flooring, and may also cover fees charged by the fire department for their services.Auto and vehicle customization coverage. Any commercial vehicles kept on the property (such as vans, trailers, and mobile grooming vehicles) should be covered by commercial auto insurance. This insurance can be tailored to include customization of the van, cab, or trailer used to provide mobile pet or animal services.Code upgrade coverage. The cost of bringing the damaged portions of the structure up to current building codes can be substantial after a fire, especially if the building is more than a few years old. Business ordinance and law coverage can pay for increased costs of construction, specialized restorations, and ensuring the new structure is fully compliant with state and federal regulations.Business income insurance. Also known as business interruption insurance, this coverage will replace lost revenue caused by direct damage to your scheduled premises for up to 12 months after an adverse event has occurred. These funds can be used to continue to pay employee salaries, rent a temporary location for operations, and provide services to clients throughout the rebuilding process. This protection can be extended with extra expense coverage (to cover unforeseen costs) or umbrella coverage (which provides payment for costs above and beyond policy limits).Let Us Advise You on Your Fire Damage ClaimIf you have taken all the necessary steps to file a commercial insurance claim and you still aren’t being treated fairly by an insurer, we can help. Our insurance litigation attorneys will work to maximize your insurance claim, and we do not collect our fees until your case is resolved. Simply fill out the form on this page today to contact an insurance attorney at the Voss Law Firm or order a free copy of our book, Commercial Property Owners Must Read This BEFORE Filing an Insurance Claim.Related Links:A Guide to Apartment Structural Fires for Landlords and Property OwnersUnderstanding Recoverable Depreciation in an Insurance ClaimFire Insurance Considerations for Retail Stores and Shopping Centers 

Protecting Amusement Parks and Tourist Attractions from Hurricane Damage
A hurricane causes havoc to anything that lies in its path, including family entertainment parks and facilities. While damage to leisure properties may seem secondary to the loss of homes and vehicles, owners of fun parks, miniature golf courses, and traveling fairs could suffer the loss of their livelihoods due to a severe storm. Attorney Bill Voss explores vital hurricane insurance coverages for tourist attractions, including policy extensions that can help minimize losses.Essential Hurricane Damage Coverage for Tourist AttractionsJust as with any other form of commercial insurance, your entertainment property coverage should be tailored to the specific needs and requirements of the facilities offered. Knowing the true value of all of your amenities—and purchasing a policy that reimburses depreciation—is a great way to prevent an insurer from offering too little on a hurricane claim. That said, there are some policy endorsements and forms of coverage that can benefit a wide range of entertainment operations, including:Rental insurance. Organizations that operate carnivals, state fairs, and traveling festivals may rent their rides and equipment from other vendors through a long-term lease or short-term rental. Without rental coverage, damage to booths, compressors, machinery, bounce houses, slides, lights, tents, and other rental equipment may have to be paid for out-of-pocket.Inland marine coverage. If you run a mobile funfair, rodeo, or other operation that is constantly moving from one place to another, inland marine insurance will cover any property that is damaged while in transit or when stored offsite.Refrigerated goods coverage. Concessions may be lost due to flooding or power interruptions, spoiling your perishable food items and temperature-sensitive products. Refrigerated goods coverage can help make up for these losses.Commercial auto insurance. Flatbed trucks, horse trailers, food trucks, and other business vehicles should be protected under a commercial auto policy that specifically protects against flooding.Livestock insurance. Circuses, rodeos, horse shows, petting zoos, agriculture displays, and other animal entertainment should be protected under livestock insurance, especially stock mortality insurance, just in case pens are damaged or flooded.State-specific coverage. Each state is allowed to set its own rules concerning insurance coverage for specific amusement park rides. For example, Texas law requires at least $100,000 bodily injury and $50,000 property damage coverage on all rides in a fixed location that are designed for children aged 12 and under (Class A), as well as at least $1,000,000 for bodily injury and $500,000 for property damage for larger (Class B) rides.Risk Purchasing Group coverage. A Risk Purchasing Group (RPG) allows smaller outdoor or leisure operations to get the insurance they need without paying high prices due to coverage risks. An RPG, such as International Special Events & Recreation Association (ISERA), allows each member to purchase insurance through a certificate under the master policy, providing up to several million dollars in coverage.Flood insurance. Most commercial policies will not cover flooding caused by a natural disaster such as a hurricane, so owners should purchase an additional policy for flooding damage through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).Seasonal and special event insurance. If your operation makes most of its profits at a funfair time of year, seasonal insurance can provide additional payment for covered losses that occur during peak business times. Similarly, event cancellation coverage can replace income losses for special events that were canceled due to bad weather.Business interruption insurance. Business income protection replaces lost profits for up to six months after a covered event, allowing offsite operations to continue and employees to be paid during the restoration of the main location and inventory.If you are having trouble getting the full value of your hurricane damage claim from your insurance company, the Voss Law Firm can examine your policy, investigate the details, and fight on your behalf. Simply fill out the contact form on this page today or order a free copy of our book, Commercial Property Owners Must Read This BEFORE Filing an Insurance Claim.Related Links:How Hail Damage Affects Carnivals and Amusement ParksIdentifying “Bad Faith” in a Commercial Property Damage ClaimHurricane Damage to Stadiums and Sporting Arenas 

Insurance Options That Can Help Medical Facilities Recover From Tornado Damage
After a tornado strikes, medical facility administrators face complex problems and difficult decisions as they wait for an insurance payment. Small clinics may be forced to close until repairs are complete, while large hospitals may have to send patients to other facilities and struggle to retain key staff members. Attorney Bill Voss explores special property damage coverage options for medical facilities that can help hospitals and clinics recover as quickly as possible.Vital Tornado Insurance Coverages for Hospitals and Health Care FacilitiesWhen selecting the right commercial property damage insurance for a health care center, administrators should examine both the scope of operations and the particular risks facing their clinics. Once you have created a policy tailored specifically to your needs, you should carefully consider a replacement cost value (RCV) policy to ensure that you will receive enough payment to replace damaged items at their full cost.Location can also play a role in coverage selections, and it is well worth it to explore state and federal insurance coverages to supplement your private property damage policy. For example, health care centers in certain Texas counties may need a separate windstorm policy through the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) to ensure coverage for caused by natural disasters.Even if you have a strong policy in place, there may be gaps in your coverage that could cost thousands or even millions of dollars out of your profits. Administrators may wish to consider optional policy endorsements for extra protection, including:Cleanup costs. Private insurers may offer basic coverage to pay for cleanup costs after a disaster, but damage to medical facilities can be both extensive and expensive. Removal of broken glass, tree branches, walls, furniture, and other debris can take weeks and require teams of contractors, while only qualified crews can perform hazardous materials cleanup (such as asbestos removal, mold mitigation, and biohazardous waste disposal.Code upgrade coverage. Any damaged portion of the property must be rebuilt in compliance with current building codes, as well as meet certain criteria set forth by the health department. Building ordinance insurance can pay for these increased construction costs.Special equipment coverage. Every medical facility will have its own specialized equipment, from diagnostic testing equipment (CAT scan or x-ray machines) to dental chairs and hospital beds—and even the computer networks used by patients and staff. All medical and electronic equipment vital to your operation should be specifically listed on your property damage policy.Utility interruptions. A tornado can knock out power and municipal services for several days, causing the loss of more than just heating and light. Extended service interruptions can knock out industrial refrigerators and freezers (causing the loss of donated blood or human organs), while lack of power to electric gates and security cameras can increase the risk of theft or vandalism. Utility interruption insurance can cover any losses caused by a lack of electricity, internet, waste disposal, phone services, or municipal water supply.Rental coverage. If your facility rents medical equipment from a supplier, these items will need to be covered under a rental insurance policy. Rented items can include MRI scanners, company vehicles, wheelchairs, and other equipment needed for daily operations.Business interruption insurance. It may be a struggle to keep your hospital or small clinic open without suffering a significant loss of income. Business interruption insurance is arguably the most important form of coverage for any commercial enterprise, as it can replace normal business revenue during the restoration period. Business income coverage can be used to pay employee salaries, recoup losses from canceled procedures, rent a temporary space to meet with patients, and cover out-of-pocket costs due to an adverse event.If you need help with your tornado damage insurance claim, we can work to get you full and fair payment to make repairs and reopen your doors. Please contact the Voss Law Firm at 1-888-991-3212 or simply fill out the form on this page today to get answers to your questions.Related Links:Tornado Damage From Uprooted and Fallen TreesTornados Carry a Considerable Risk of Hail DamageHow Long Do I Have to Submit a Tornado Insurance Claim For My Business? 

What Business Owners Need to Know While Waiting for Insurance to Cover Flood Damages
Whether it is caused by a burst water pipe, hurricane, or weeks of rising lakes and rivers, flooding to your building has the potential to permanently halt operations. Attorney Bill Voss explores common problems when making commercial flood damage claims, steps to take to protect against water damage, and how to get maximum coverage after floodwaters enter a commercial structure.What Is Flood Damage and Which Policy Pays for it?The first thing business owners need to understand is that most private insurers will not pay for flood damage caused by natural disasters. A commercial insurer may cover flooding under some circumstances, such as if a water pipe bursts or rainwater from a recent storm leaks through the roof and into the walls.However, most commercial policies limit or prohibit claims for hurricane-related flooding, storm surge, or flooding caused by rising tides. Owners must purchase coverage under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in order to recover costs of flooding caused by an extreme weather event. If you do not have an NFIP policy, you may be able to receive disaster aid and flood repair loans from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).Factors That Can Influence the Amount of Flooding LossesWhile there are no “good” floods, there are some flooding incidents that cause less overall damage and lead to fewer out-of-pocket costs. For example, floodwaters that are shallow and can be pumped out in a matter of hours will likely be less costly than if an owner cannot perform immediate drying and repairs.The extent of flood damage your property suffers may vary depending on:Depth. The deeper the waters, the greater the risk of structural collapse. Floodwaters that gather inside a structure can create hydrostatic pressure on walls and can cause cracks in masonry and weakened foundation, especially if they are more than 3 feet deep.Velocity. The faster water travels, the more pressure is exerted on flood protection. The initial wave of tidal or river flooding may break windows or doors, allowing the water following behind it to enter and settle down to the lowest point inside the structure.Duration. The longer standing floodwaters remain inside the structure, the more potential damage the building may sustain. A breach in flood-proofing measures can compromise struts, supports, drywall, and even weaken concrete, especially if the land has not been properly graded to divert water away from the property.Waterborne hazards. Floodwaters are often contaminated by pollutants, sewage, pesticides, industrial waste, or other toxic materials. Debris carried along by floodwaters, such as trees and vehicles, can cause further damage to commercial buildings.Location. Businesses on the upper floors of a building are naturally at a lower risk of flooding than those at a lower point in the water table. Freestanding structures that are elevated on hills are less likely to flood than those trapped due to the slope of the land.Building design and construction. The design and materials used to build your commercial structure can significantly impact repair costs. For example, flood prevention methods (such as berms, walls, or manmade structures to divert floodwaters) on the property can both lower insurance premiums and protect against long-term damage. Your structure may also be protected if the materials used in construction are less prone to water damage, such as styrofoam installation and weather-treated lumber.Age. Older buildings may need extensive updates to bring them up to compliance with current building codes after an adverse event. Owners whose buildings are more than 10 years old should consider purchasing ordinance and law coverage to pay for these upgrades.Maintenance. Many flood insurance claims are underpaid or even denied on the basis of the owner’s failure to perform preventive maintenance. While owners and employees cannot prevent natural disasters, they can help mitigate losses by storing machinery and inventory above floor level, caulking and patching basement walls, or inspecting and performing roof maintenance to prevent losses from wind-driven rain.Policy options. A bare-bones policy may pay for little more than the costs of drying out and repainting the structure, leaving the owner to cover any additional costs himself. On the other hand, a comprehensive policy that includes endorsements such as mold mitigation, increased cost of construction, and line-of-sight coverage can offset costs during rebuilding and allow you to correct both structural and aesthetic imperfections.Business interruption coverage. When it comes to flood protection, your business interruption insurance could literally be the difference between recovery or bankruptcy. It is recommended that you select the highest amount of BII coverage possible, including extra expense and umbrella coverage, to cover your monthly operating costs temporary closure or relocation, and other ongoing expenses for up to six months.Owners May Not Get Full Compensation for a Flood on Commercial PropertyWater intrusion can result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damages, so it is vital that you notify your insurance company as soon as possible. Natural disasters can affect several counties at once, and there is likely to be a backlog of claims that can cause payment delays after a flood.Once you have notified the insurer of your intent to file a claim, you should:Gather proof of your losses. Before you take steps to pump out the water and fix the damage, make sure you take photos and video of the condition of the property immediately after the damage occurred.Prevent further damage. Once you have video evidence of your losses, you should take measures to make the property safe and prevent further damage. Make only temporary repairs until an insurance agent has seen the damage firsthand.Compile your claim. Your claim may require extensive proof of your losses, including inventory, income estimates, payroll records, and receipts for out-of-pocket expenses.Be prepared to fight for full payment. If your insurer is refusing to pay for damages, it may be necessary to hire an attorney to advise you on your next steps.Unfortunately, insurers often attempt to deny flood damage coverage by claiming that the event was an act of God or otherwise excluded from coverage. When this happens, a commercial insurance attorney can help you get fair payment for your losses. Simply fill out the form on this page today to contact an insurance attorney at the Voss Law Firm or order a free copy of our book, Commercial Property Owners Must Read This BEFORE Filing an Insurance Claim.Related Links:Problems Restaurant Owners Face When Filing Flood Damage ClaimsWill My Business Need Legal Help to File a Business Interruption Claim?How to Recognize a Bad Faith Insurance Company 

Family Members Forced to Bring Body of Deceased Loved One to Old Mutual in Order to Get Payment on a Claim
If you have ever had to file an insurance claim, you know how difficult it can be to get the compensation you are owed for a covered loss. But as a family in South Africa recently experienced, insurance companies can heap injustice on top of heartbreak, forcing you to go to unthinkable lengths to get what you are owed. Bereaved Relatives Bring Body of Loved One to Insurers as Proof of DeathWhen 46-year-old Sifiso Mhlongo died on November 7, 2019, in KwaZulu-Natal province, his nieces Ntombenhle Mhlongo and Thandaza Mtshali filed a life insurance claim for £1,700 (about $2,240) to cover his funeral costs. The women handed in all the necessary paperwork and followed all claim instructions, and were told by staff at Old Mutual, the oldest insurance company in South Africa, that they needed to wait 48 hours for an assessment to be made on the claim.However, Mhlongo and Mtshali did not hear back from the insurers in 48 hours, so they returned to Old Mutual. On November 14, after waiting three hours, they were eventually told that they should come back the next day. After nine days of this stonewalling, the women decided to retrieve their uncle’s body from the morgue and take it to Old Mutual as proof that he had actually passed away. Mhlongo and Mtshali said they would not leave the branch until Old Mutual honored the policy, and the company paid out the full amount of the claim immediately.The claim has caused unbelievable hardships for the family, including:Delayed funeral rites. The delay in the claim meant that important tribal rites could not be carried out according to Zulu tradition. According to a spokesman for the National Funeral Practitioners Association of South America, this could form the basis of further legal action against Old Mutual.Emotional suffering. Mhlongo and Mtshali were filmed taking the body of their uncle into the branch of Old Mutual, adding further trauma and distress to what should have been a private matter. Mhlongo later told reporters, “If we could afford lawyers, we would sue them, but we are poor people.”Increased costs. Funeral practitioner spokesman Muzi Hlengwa told reporters that moving the body after death created problems that would further complicate the burial ceremony. Rituals will need to be performed to retrieve the man’s soul from the Old Mutual building, adding additional burial costs.Our hearts go out to this desperate and grieving family, and we hope their actions will force Old Mutual to change their ways. If you are experiencing similar unfair treatment from an insurer, the insurance bad faith attorneys at the Voss Law Firm can help you fight the battles you need to fight to get the compensation you deserve from your policy. Simply fill out the contact form on this page today or order a free copy of our book, Commercial Property Owners Must Read This BEFORE Filing an Insurance Claim.Related Links:Bad Faith: Insurers Putting Their Interests Ahead of Their CustomersHow You Can Tell If The Insurance Company Is Guilty of Bad FaithHow an Insurance Bad Faith Attorney Can Help a Delayed Claim 

A Short Guide to Collecting Business Interruption as Part of Your Property Damage Claim
No matter what caused the damage to your business, a large loss could cause you to close your doors for weeks or more, interrupting your supply chain and sending your customers elsewhere. Fortunately, your insurance carrier may provide the funds you need while you suspend normal operations—as long as you have made the right coverage selections beforehand. Attorney Bill Voss explores the finer points of business interruption insurance, including how owners can maximize their payouts after a covered loss.When Will an Insurer Pay for Business Interruption?There are many misconceptions about business interruption insurance (BII), including that it is a “blank check” to cover all of the income losses related to an adverse event. In reality, insurers protect themselves from paying large amounts in business income just as they limit their coverage for any other loss.Firstly, business income insurance is not automatically included in a business owner’s policy. Owners must select a BII endorsement and have it added to their policies as an optional form of coverage.Second, insurers will not pay for income losses if you did not suffer any loss of income. This may seem straightforward, but there are ways that this may be misinterpreted by property owners. For example, if your business suffers damage on the weekend (outside of normal business hours) and you are able to reopen on a limited basis on Monday, you may still have a claim for partial closure until the structure is repaired.Third, most commercial property insurance policies provide coverage for business income only when it results from direct loss or damage to the insured property. This means that if your property was not physically damaged, your insurer may not provide business interruption coverage.Finally, there are time limits on claims arising from property damage losses—including business interruption. Failing to meet all of the deadlines when filing a claim is one of the most common reasons these claims are underpaid (or denied completely).How Much Will I Receive for Business Interruption?When calculating the amount of business income payments, insurance carriers typically provide the reduction in net income that would have been earned to cover the insured’s continuing normal operating expenses. Business income coverage is usually paid in the amount of actual loss sustained, allowing the business owner to continue to provide payroll and pay expenses while repairs are underway.Unfortunately, there are many factors that can affect the actual amount that you will receive for the business interruption portion of your claim. The amount paid can vary widely depending on the limits and exclusions set forth in your commercial property damage policy.For example, you may be paid less than the full dollar amount of your income losses due to:Cause of loss. If the insurance company does not provide property damage coverage for an event, it is unlikely that the insurer will cover any business interruption for that event. For example, some private insurers may not cover property damage for certain perils, such as earthquakes or natural flooding.Construction delays. Insurers are liable for business income lost from the date of damage to the date that the property should reasonably be repaired. However, there are usually maximum time limits set on the period of restoration (six months on average), which may not extend to the entire length of time needed to repair the damage.Policy limits. Insurers are under no obligation to pay more than the applicable policy limit, regardless of whether the policyholder’s losses exceed that amount.Bookkeeping problems. Insurers will want proof of your income and operating costs before they issue you any payment. Owners who lost their paperwork in a fire or do not use professional accounting services may not be able to provide accurate records of their earnings and payroll records, making it unlikely that they will get fair payment on their claims.How Can I Get the Most Out of My Business Income Insurance?When purchasing your business interruption coverage, it literally pays to select customized coverage options that fit your company’s needs. For example, if you work out of a historic building or in a remote location, you may wish to extend the period of restoration. Insurers may offer extensions of 30 days up to 2 years, allowing you to take the time you need to restore your property without added stress.In addition to extending time limits and the policy limit, you may also wish to purchase extra expense coverage. Extra expense insurance pays for costs incurred related to the adverse event during the period of restoration, and may even extend coverage to business income losses resulting from:Service interruption. This coverage pays for direct physical loss caused by an interruption in electrical, gas, water, telephone, sewer, or other utility or service caused by the same (or similar) peril that resulted in the insured’s property damage.Leader property. This endorsement is vital for businesses located near to a major customer attraction, such as an amusement park, mall, or casino. With this coverage, insurers pay for the owner’s business income loss if the leader property (not owned by the insured) suffers a direct physical loss, depriving the owner of foot traffic and increased customer presence brought by the leader property. Seasonal business coverage. This endorsement is ideal for businesses who make most of their money in a few weeks or months of the year, preventing one adverse event from affecting an entire year’s profits. If the business is forced to close during the busy season, the insurer replaces income, cancellation fees, ticket sales, and other losses so that owners can still end the year in the black.Contingent business interruption (CBI). This coverage pays for income loss resulting from another person’s property damage, particularly someone who directly supplies you with goods or services. Owners can collect business income loss payments, even if they did not experience direct physical damage.Let Us Advise You on Your Business Interruption ClaimIf you have taken diligent steps to file your business interruption claim but aren’t being treated fairly by an insurer, we can help. Our insurance litigation attorneys will work to maximize your insurance claim, and we do not collect our fees until your case is resolved. Simply fill out the form on this page today to contact an insurance attorney at the Voss Law Firm or order a free copy of our book, Commercial Property Owners Must Read This BEFORE Filing an Insurance Claim.Related Links:How Business Interruption Insurance Works After a Major FireCan I Prepare My Business Interruption Claim by Myself?How to Recognize a Bad Faith Insurance Company 

What Business Owners Need to Know About Commercial Fire Damage Insurance Claims
The aftermath of a fire is an overwhelming time for business owners. Many proprietors will face cash-flow problems, rebuilding and construction issues, and extremely difficult decisions as they are waiting for an insurer to pay a claim. Attorney Bill Voss explores the many forms of fire damage losses, as well as what owners can do before filing a commercial property damage claim to maximize their insurable payment.The Need for Commercial Fire InsuranceAccording to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), nearly 500,000 structure fires occurred in the U.S. in 2017, costing approximately $10.7 billion in property damage. Fires in commercial, institutional, or public buildings accounted for 1 in every 4 fires, most commonly involving manufacturing and industrial operations.It is not just the high likelihood of fires that pose a risk to businesses, but the variety of damages that fires can cause. The majority of fire insurance claims involve:Structural damage. Rising flames can cause significant damage to a property in a matter of minutes, while the heat generated by a fire can cause walls to buckle and masonry to crack. Any materials that are not incinerated may be warped, melted, or partially damaged, causing the need for replacement to prevent damage in the future.Smoke and soot. Smoke damage to walls and flooring is not just an eyesore, it has the potential to cause lung damage or irritation for your employees and guests. Your property may have to be tested for the presence of carbonaceous particles or other harmful irritants that may not be seen by the naked eye.Fire suppression losses. Unfortunately, the efforts undertaken to stop fire damage can also cause damage to the property. Firefighting materials such as water, foam, or powders can cause further losses to both burned and unburned items. The amount of coverage for damage caused by fire suppression materials varies by policy, as does coverage for fees charged by the fire department for their services.Aesthetic damage. Scorch marks or a burning smell can affect the perception of your business, costing you customers and causing your employees to look for other opportunities.Business interruption. In many cases, business closures are more costly than the property damage caused by a fire. If structural damage forces the company to scale back operations or to shut down entirely, owners may struggle to retain key employees or fail to meet fulfillment deadlines—and income losses are typically not covered by basic fire insurance. Fire Damage Can Cause Ongoing Business LossesFire is not just the most common cause of claim for small businesses, it is also one of the most expensive. While standard commercial property insurance policies usually cover damages caused by fire, not all policies provide the same amount of protection.For example, fires may be more costly for certain businesses depending on their:Size. The larger your commercial enterprise is, the greater the potential of suffering a large loss. From hotels and apartment buildings to large-scale manufacturing facilities, a fire can lay waste to millions of dollars of furniture, appliances, inventory, and mechanical equipment (as well as the structure that houses them).Location. The location of your business can increase the likelihood of a fire, such as if your building shares a wall with a restaurant or bar or if you live in a state that is prone to wildfires.Age. Older buildings can cause a variety of problems during the rebuilding process. First, the presence of older construction materials (such as lead paint or asbestos) will require hazardous materials cleanup before construction can begin. Second, buildings that qualify as historical properties may need specialized paints, glass, or roofing materials that increase costs of construction. Finally, the structure will need to comply with current safety and construction codes after it is rebuilt—potentially adding thousands of dollars in building code upgrades with each year that has passed since its original construction.Depreciation coverage. Insurers are often unwilling to cover the full replacement cost of lost items, operating on an actual cash value (ACV) basis. An ACV policy deducts the amount of depreciation from the full cost of covered items, essential leaving owners with far less than they need to purchase replacements. In many cases, the only way to receive full value for lost items is through replacement cost coverage or a policy that allows for recoverable depreciation.Industry. The type of business you are in could play a large role in your fire damage losses. For example, heat from the fire and water from firefighting can ruin phones, computers, and electronic equipment—potentially costing millions for businesses who rely heavily on technology. Your policy should be tailored to the specific needs of your business—in the above example, this means extra equipment coverage and data loss insurance.Fire prevention methods. Insurers may be unwilling to pay out on claims if the policyholder did not take adequate precautions against fire losses. Owners can protect their employees, property, and future insurance claims by installing smoke alarms and fire suppression systems, ensuring that fire extinguishers are regularly inspected, and training workers on the steps they should take if a fire occurs.Policy extensions. A few carefully-selected optional coverages can greatly improve the strength of a property damage policy. One of the best ways to prevent ongoing commercial fire losses is to increase the amount of business interruption and extra expense coverages. This insurance can help cover unforeseen costs, open a temporary location to continue business operations while your building is under repair, and continue to pay employee salaries despite interrupted income.Recordkeeping practices. Unlike other forms of damage, a fire can reduce your property and its contents to a pile of ashes, making it difficult for you to prove the type and extent of your losses. Owners who have comprehensive digital files of receipts, purchases, inventory lists, updated “before” pictures of their locations, and payroll records are much more likely to get fair payment for their claims.Let Us Advise You on Your Fire Damage ClaimIf you have taken all the necessary steps to file a commercial insurance claim and you still aren’t being treated fairly by an insurer, we can help. Our insurance litigation attorneys will work to maximize your insurance claim, and we do not collect our fees until your case is resolved. Simply fill out the form on this page today to contact an insurance attorney at the Voss Law Firm or order a free copy of our book, Commercial Property Owners Must Read This BEFORE Filing an Insurance Claim.Related Links:Understanding Recoverable Depreciation in an Insurance ClaimFire Insurance Considerations for Retail Stores and Shopping CentersHow To Recognize a Bad Faith Insurance Company 


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