Cities, townships, public schools, and other municipal authorities need insurance just like any other business. While administrators may see the value in high liability coverage, they may not see the need for similar property damage coverage. Attorney Bill Voss explains why multi-risk property damage policies are essential for government entities, as well as how to maximize hail claim payments.
Hail Damage Costs Can Quickly Add Up
Hail damage may go far beyond a few cracked windshields or chipped paint. Hailstones can cause serious problems if the damage is not immediately recognized and corrected, so property owners will have to make repairs as quickly as possible to prevent further losses.
Hailstorms are most likely to damage a structure’s:
- Roof. Even relatively small hailstones can damage shingles and flashing, allowing water to leak into the structure. In many cases, property owners may not notice the damage to the roof until water begins to collect inside the building.
- Windows and doors. It only takes pea-sized hail to crack or chip windows, damage rubber seals, and dent the surfaces of wood and metal doors.
- Landscaping. A dense hailstorm can shred trees and awnings, destroy public art installations, and ruin newly-planted flowers, trees and gardens.
- Outdoor equipment. Sustained hailstorms can pummel heating and cooling systems, satellite dishes, electrical appliances, rental bikes and vehicles, and other equipment housed outside the structure.
Policy Endorsements That Can Pay for Hail Damage to Municipal Buildings
It’s important to make coverage selections that are tailored to the specific needs of your operation. The policy that works for a public school may not be sufficient for a water treatment plant, and lower policy limits may force you to pay out-of-pocket for expensive repairs. As experienced hail insurance claim attorneys, we have seen the value in certain extended coverages that could provide additional funds for storm losses, including:
- Ordinance and law coverage. Many municipal services are housed in historic buildings, such as museums, city halls, historical residences, and libraries. Once these buildings have been damaged, their insides must have essential building upgrades to conform with current building codes, while their exteriors may need specialized restoration materials (such as leaded glass or slate roofing) to maintain their appearance. These costs typically aren’t covered under standard property damage policies, but ordinance and law coverage specifically pays to bring the damaged portion of the property up to code.
- Commercial vehicles. If your operation relies on government vehicles, it’s well worth buying a strong commercial vehicle policy. Depending on the type of vehicles used, you may opt for comprehensive coverage that will include damage to windshields and equipment inside the vehicles (such as dispatch radios or school bus lights). Your policy may even cover staff vehicles used for business purposes and the costs of renting alternative vehicles while yours are being repaired.
- Business interruption insurance. Business interruption coverage (BII), also called business income loss, pays to replace up to six months of regular income and added costs after a covered event. This can be used to pay employee payroll for key staff, pay outstanding bills for suppliers and utilities, and the costs of alerting the public to closures and delays. Depending on your policy selections, BII could provide enough to cover the costs of transporting visitors to an alternate location or setting up a website to allow certain transactions to continue online.
The Help You Need After an Insurance Denial
Just like residential claims, commercial property damage claims are often denied or significantly underpaid just because the insurance company wants to keep as much of its profits as possible. If you’re tired of fighting with a commercial insurer to get the coverage you paid for, the Voss Law Firm can help you get the compensation you are owed for your business. Fill out our contact form today to get answers to your questions, or start reading your copy of our free book, The Basics of Commercial Insurance Claims.