The majority of hail storms last less than 15 minutes, but they can cause damage that takes weeks or even months to repair.
As a business owner in Texas, you know the value of a comprehensive property damage policy—one that will allow you to recover quickly after one of our yearly hail storms. However, if you have coverage through Nationwide, you may have difficulty getting enough from your claim to avoid a loss.
Attorney Bill Voss examines Nationwide’s many business insurance selection options and how each one can affect your overall storm coverage.
Nationwide’s Coverage Options for Hail Storm Damage
Nationwide’s business property insurance provides protection for professionals who own or lease their properties, or even run their businesses from home. In order to secure coverage, business owners should read the full test of their commercial property insurance options very carefully, as the terms of coverage can vary greatly between policies. In many cases, owners may assume damage done by weather is included in their policy when this coverage is only available as an optional extra.
Nationwide policyholders may seek payment for hail damage losses through:
- Property damage insurance. This insurance covers your basic holdings after an insured event, such as your building, your signage, your inventory, and your furniture and equipment needed to run your business. Some policies may have additional coverage, such as damage to fences, lights, and landscaping. Nationwide offers both ACV and RCV coverage options, and premiums for ACV policies are typically lower.
- Auto insurance. If you rely on one or more vehicles for business purposes, you may be able to file a claim for dents and shattered windows due to hail. Nationwide offers payment for repairs such as paintless dent removal (PDR) to protect the finish on the vehicle, as well as conventional vehicle repair or a total loss of a vehicle. This is an optional form of coverage, and is not included in a standard business owner’s policy.
- Business income insurance. If your business must be closed while repairs are made, you may be able to make up for your lost profits with business income insurance. This coverage can help you pay your building rent, pay your employees’ salaries, and cover other expenses. This coverage must be specially selected to be included in a business owner’s policy.
- Flood insurance. Nationwide offers flood insurance that is backed by the federal National Flood Insurance Program, providing payment for building and inventory damage due to flooding. The coverage. This coverage must be purchased separately and is not included in a standard business owner’s policy.
Why Your Nationwide Claim May Not Pay As Much as Your Expected
One of the biggest reasons hail damage claims are underpaid is because claims representatives work to minimize the amount that the claimant receives. After you file a hail damage claim, your representative will read through the specifics of your policy to see if your kind of damage is covered. You and your insurance representative may interpret the policy very differently; for example, he or she may argue that your losses were caused by wind instead of hail, and your insurance will not cover wind damage.
Another way insurers undervalue claims is by sending an inspector to the property. This inspector may claim that the damage is minor or lowball the repair estimate, allowing the company to write a check that will not fully cover the repairs. An inspector may also look for evidence that devalues the claim, such as warped wood or mold, that suggests you did not make sufficient temporary repairs to prevent further damage.
Finally, claimants are often paid less if the insurer covers many different policyholders in an area that was hit with a large-scale hail storm. Like many other insurers, Nationwide has a mobile response unit (called the Automated Mobile Hail Estimating team) that is dispatched to a location that has suffered a major storm. These units claim to reduce the time spent waiting for payment and repair, but more claims means less money paid to all of the claimants—and a company that is hit with many claims may attempt to deny coverage just to stay afloat.
If you are struggling to collect fair payment from an insurer after a hail storm, we can help. Simply fill out the form on this page today to contact the Voss Law Firm or order a free copy of our book, Commercial Property Owners Must Read This BEFORE Filing an Insurance Claim.