When your property sustains damage, the commercial insurance claim that follows is a considerable burden to shoulder, and it places multiple complicated and critical responsibilities in your lap. Though every policy varies, the key to success in navigating them is the same: knowledge is power.
First and foremost, each commercial insurance policy is different. However, there are responsibilities to which property owners are typically held by their insurance companies during a commercial insurance claim. When your property sustains damage, what follows is a whirlwind of activity: you will be responsible for many simultaneously moving pieces under specific, critical deadlines. Minimize the hecticness of the situation by remaining organized and accountable. In most commercial insurance claim scenarios, you as the insured will be held to the following responsibilities:
Right off the bat, know that a commercial insurance claim is not a linear process. It is made up of several important deadlines, and you will have to juggle many responsibilities at the same time. One of the most crucial elements of your claim to know is the time requirements outlined within it. Comb through your policy to determine deadlines for the following:
- Notifying your insurance company of the loss
- Mitigation efforts and costs
- Rebuilding and replacement costs
- Disputing any aspect of your claim
Know Your Policy
When taking on the challenge of studying your commercial insurance policy, keep the following in mind:
- Be aware of which risks are insured by your policy and which are not.
- Understand the extent to which damage to your property’s structure, fixtures, and furnishings are covered.
- Know your policy limit in order to determine your own financial responsibility.
- Know and document what the value of your property was prior to the loss.
- Calculate and document the cost of restoring your property to pre-loss condition.
By knowing these essentials, you’ll empower yourself to determine the parameters of both your responsibilities and your insurance company’s. Due to the complicated and high-stakes nature of a commercial insurance claim, it is extremely advisable that you consult with a public adjuster throughout this process.
Once you have ensured that the destructive event is over and your people are safe, you must notify your insurance company of the damage to your property.
Duty to Mitigate
Your insurance company will conduct a thorough investigation of the damages following your commercial insurance claim. However, it is your obligation (that’s right, your insurance policy states that you must) take all available measures to prevent further damage.
Document Damaged Property
It is difficult to stress how important documentation is in the midst of a commercial insurance claim. You are responsible for accounting for and demonstrating the items in/on your property that will need replacing.
- Take detailed photos and videos of the damaged segments of your property.
- Keep a written record of the destruction, outlining all of the items and structures that have sustained damage. You are responsible for providing your insurance company with the values of your lost business items, so take care to be as detailed as possible.
- Include serial numbers, receipts of purchase, and thorough descriptions of the items and structures needing replacement whenever possible. This will raise the likelihood that you’ll be reimbursed fairly by your insurance company.
Navigating the clauses and seemingly endless pages of a commercial insurance policy can make property owners feel as though they’re barely staying afloat. As complex as a commercial property insurance policy can be, it is crucial that you understand the obligations placed on you when you’ve experienced a property loss and need to make a commercial insurance claim. Your insurance policy is a contract – both you and your insurance company have responsibilities to uphold it with diligence and integrity. By remembering this and taking the outlined steps, you’ll be poised to face this challenge head on.