Government properties need to be protected from commercial property damage, but not all fire insurance policies are created equal. Attorney Bill Voss explores fire insurance options for municipal buildings and government institutions, including which extensions may help administrators avoid a large loss.
Special Fire Insurance Considerations for Municipal Buildings
Many administrators are unaware of the exclusions in their policies until it comes time to file a governmental fire damage claim. Depending on the options selected in a fire damage policy, a claim may be underpaid due to the cause of the fire, the policy limit for the covered peril, or the nature of the loss sustained. For this reason, it is vital that administrators choose their fire insurance providers and endorsements wisely, and reassess their selections every few years.
A strong governmental fire damage policy will include enhanced protection for certain losses, including:
- Green building upgrades. Governmental buildings such as schools and city halls may have been around for decades, increasing the costs of construction needed to bring the structure up to code after a loss. In addition to code upgrade and “line of sight” insurance, administrators may select construction enhancements to improve the aesthetics and property value of the building. For example, green building endorsements pay for additional costs incurred to repair damaged buildings using eco-friendly alternatives, such as reclaimed wood, water-saving plumbing fixtures, or solar panels) products and materials.
- Electronic data protection. Government entities may access or store information from private or sensitive databases, and these systems will need to be protected by failsafes to prevent data breaches after a fire. Business data and media coverage can pay for the physical machines, software, and labor needed to protect and restore data systems.
- Transportation coverage. In addition to including all government-owned police, fire, school, and emergency vehicles under a comprehensive commercial auto policy, administrators may wish to invest in property in transit coverage. This pays to replace any personal or commercial property transported by any type of vehicle regardless of where the damage incident occurred.
- Extended income loss. Some insurers offer an option to extend business income loss, either by a certain number of days or by covering lost income beyond the date of restoration.
Due to the complex nature of municipal fire damage claims, governmental policyholders need access to resources in order to rebuild quickly. If you are having trouble getting the insurance coverage you paid for after a flood, the Voss Law Firm can help. 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.