Companies with a large fleet of vehicles who purchase collision and liability insurance may be left high and dry when adverse weather damages their vehicles. Attorney Bill Voss explores which companies could benefit from weather damage coverage, as well as how to maximize payment after a tornado ruins business vehicles.
Commercial Vehicle Fleets That May Need Weather Damage Insurance
Storm damage can occur when your vehicles are out on the road, sitting in your lot, or even in a dedicated parking garage. Weather damage coverage can benefit large companies that rely on vehicles for daily operations, but can also be a lifesaver for smaller businesses that have three or more commercial vehicles.
A fleet auto policy covers many vehicles at the same time, such as:
- Passenger vehicles, such as taxis, limousines, or a company-owned shuttle to and from your property
- Delivery vehicles, such as light trucks and delivery vans
- Cargo transport vehicles, such as 18-wheelers or commercial trucks
- Rental vehicles owned by your company that are available for hire
- Auto transport vehicles, such as tow trucks as car carriers
- Construction and landscaping vehicles, including backhoes, bulldozers, or tractors
What Will My Fleet Insurance Cover?
Many fleet insurance policies cover collision losses only, repairing your vehicles and protecting your company’s legal liability in a crash. Some insurers may offer additional property loss coverage to include inclement weather, which can repair damage that occurs when your vehicles are out on the road, sitting in your lot, or in a dedicated parking garage.
Depending on the type and extent of your coverage, you may be able to collect payment for:
- Broken windows and ruined bodywork. Comprehensive vehicle insurance may cover damage due to inclement weather, and may even pay the cost to re-brand your vehicle with your company logo or other custom bodywork.
- Total losses. It is not uncommon for vehicles to be unsalvageable or be completely swept away in a storm. Fleet insurance may pay for the replacement of vehicles that are a total loss due to the storm.
- Fuel losses. If you keep your vehicles topped off with gasoline every day, the loss of several vehicles can mean hundreds or thousands of dollars in fuel will be lost as well.
- Damaged tires. Tires may not be salvageable after a storm, especially if high winds peppered your vehicles with stones, plant matter, and other debris.
- Extra expenses. Enhanced policies may cover towing damaged vehicles to repair shops, coverage for gap insurance, and rental reimbursement.
- Business income losses. The loss of several vehicles can cause your customers to go elsewhere until you are back up to capacity. A strong fleet insurance policy should replace lost income for a specific amount of time after the storm occurs.
Getting Fair Payment for Tornado Damage to Commercial Vehicles
The first thing you need to do after a tornado damages company vehicles is to read through your policy carefully. If your coverage is comprehensive, losses should extend to adverse weather events. However, some policies will state which specific perils will be covered. If tornado damage is included, check the fine print to make sure your claims will be honored. Does the policy only cover vehicles that are parked on commercial property? Does it require regular inspections or special vehicle housing requirements? If so, the insurer may deny the claim or pay far less than the claim is worth.
If you are having trouble getting your insurance company to pay for tornado damage to your company vehicles, we can help. We can examine the details of your policy, explain your options, and negotiate with the insurer on your behalf to get you the maximum amount of coverage allowed under your policy. 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.