Flooding can affect whole counties, placing injured or boarded animals and their care providers at risk. If flood policies do not offer full coverage, veterinarians and animal rehabilitation providers may have to permanently close their doors. Attorney Bill Voss explores different forms of coverage as well as the protection offered through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that could be used to pay for extensive water damage.
Flood Coverage for Veterinarians, Dog Rescues, and Animal Care Services
Flooding caused by a natural disaster, such as a hurricane or rising coastal waters, may not be covered by commercial insurers. For this reason, veterinary clinics, dog and cat rescue shelters, groomers, pet daycares, kennels, rehabilitation centers, and other animal services specialists in flood-prone areas should all be protected under an NFIP policy.
While coverage options and needs for these businesses may vary based on the facilities and services they offer, animal care providers may collect more payment for their losses if their policies include:
- Property extensions. Owners should check the policy carefully to see how the covered property is described. Outdoor signage and lighting may be covered, but fencing, outdoor kennels, and warehouse and outbuildings may be excluded.
- Extra equipment and inventory. There is a maximum limit of property damage coverage chosen by the policyholder—and anything lost beyond this set dollar amount may not be compensable. A higher deductible or a policy endorsement for certain inventory (such as bulk foods that have spoiled or contaminated) or expensive equipment (such as computer systems or diagnostic equipment) can add an additional payment at a reasonable cost.
- Income replacement. Business interruption coverage replaces up to six months of lost profits after a flood, allowing normal operations to continue while repairs are underway. Business income insurance can be used to pay for payroll expenses, cost of renting an alternate office space and transferring animals and operations to another site, costs of rental vehicles and increased costs of travel, and business income losses that continue for a certain period after the property is restored.
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 one of our experienced insurance claims attorneys, or learn more about filing a claim in our book, Commercial Property Owners Must Read This BEFORE Filing an Insurance Claim.