Large businesses with customers across the nation—or around the world—suffer when fire losses aren’t covered by their insurance companies. Industrial properties can sustain millions of dollars in damages overnight in large blazes, and business fires throw policyholders into a difficult situation with their customers, clients, and employees.
Unfortunately, although many policyholders believe that they carry the coverage they need for their properties, there can be a lot of unhappy surprises in store in the aftermath. Depending on what started the fire, the damage may not actually count as a covered loss under your policy—even if you pay hundreds of thousands a dollar each year for your coverage.
Your Industrial Fire Insurance Policy May Include Surprising Exclusions
It isn’t all that surprising that there are exclusions in insurance policies, but what is surprising is how often policyholders are unaware of the incidents their insurance won’t cover. With fires, it can very much depend on what caused the fire in the first place. For example, an industrial insurance policy may cover the losses from a fire started by a lightning strike or wildfire, but it might not cover the damages from a fire started by faulty electrical equipment.
In some cases, the cause of the fire can even throw your claim into a confusing “gray area,” where it’s unclear if your losses will be covered or not. An example might be when a fire started because a contractor’s equipment malfunctioned or your buildings suffered heat damage from a fire on a neighboring property.
While there are times when insurance companies act in “bad faith” by denying fire coverage, there are many other times when policyholders could have known ahead of time that they weren’t covered. In this respect, the two biggest mistakes industrial policyholders make are:
- Making assumptions that “everything is covered”
- Not regularly reviewing fire insurance coverage
Remember that, over time, properties evolve and carriers change. If you haven’t checked in for a while, or if you are currently in the process of claiming fire damage, it is important to review your current policy and understand your responsibilities so that you’re prepared to protect your business.
Fire Insurance for Industrial Properties Is Often Highly Customized for the Individual Business
Although any type of insurance policy can vary from carrier to carrier—or from policyholder to policyholder—industrial fire insurance policies are almost always unique to the businesses they cover. This means that it’s very difficult to say what is or isn’t generally covered in any given policy without carefully looking at the details. Ultimately, what is actually covered under your coverage can depend on a lot of factors, including:
- The state or region you’re located in
- The type of business or manufacturing you do
- Other property-specific issues
However, don’t make the mistake of just assuming that the insurance company denied your claim or paid less than you expected because of an exclusion or law you didn’t know about. Although the cause of the fire, the type of coverage you carry, and other factors can affect your claim, there is also a chance that the insurance company simply isn’t treating you fairly. If you have questions about how the insurance company paid or investigated a fire claim on an industrial property, you should considering reviewing your rights with an experienced attorney before accepting a resolution you’re not happy with.
Mitigating Losses and Investigating Your Rights After an Industrial Fire
There is a lot to worry about after a major fire, from how to deal with loss of inventory to protecting your brand name. At these times, it can be very difficult to also remain focused on the progress of your insurance claim, the investigation of the fire, and potential disputes about your fire coverage or losses.
The Voss Law Firm is one of only a handful of law firms that handle industrial insurance claims, and we would be happy to talk with you about your concerns. We can generally be on the site of the fire within 24 hours, and we can assist at every stage of the process—from documenting the evidence to filing a lawsuit for unfairly denied or delayed claims. If you need help with a difficult insurance claim for an industrial property, don’t hesitate to reach out to our experienced policyholder attorneys at 1-888-614-7730.