As industrial insurance litigation attorneys, it's not uncommon for us to meet a business owner that is dealing with filing a claim after a fire in his or her building. However, we also meet business owners who are trying to figure out what to do after a sprinkler failure on their property. Automatic sprinkler systems often save many buildings from enormous fire damage and do great work extinguishing potentially destructive flames. In the majority of cases where they are set off in a building, they definitely do more good than harm. Unfortunately, if that system is defective or if it fails for some reason, a business owner could face a lot of water damage and/or risk extensive fire damage that the insurance company will not cover.
The Independent Insurance Agents of America notes that when you install a sprinkler system, you're usually given some kind of rate credit, which is great. However, your insurance company will also usually send you something called a "Protective Safeguards" endorsement. That endorsement generally tells you that the company will not pay for loss or damage caused by or resulting from fire if, prior to the fire, you:
- Knew of any suspension or impairment in any protective safeguard and failed to notify the insurance company of that fact, or
- Failed to maintain any protective safeguard over which you had control and did not keep it in complete working order.
If part of a sprinkler system has to be shut off because of breakage, leakage, freezing conditions or opening of sprinkler heads, notification won't be necessary if full protection will be restored within 48 hours. Remember, this may be different for you. It is important to get the full story from your insurance company before you encounter any unfortunate surprises.
If you had a fire in your building, the sprinklers failed and now you're facing a denied claim, call The Voss Law Firm to speak with a fire insurance lawyer today. Contact us at 888-614-7730 for a free consultation.