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 Services
Veterinarians, 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 Claim
If 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.