After a fire breaks out in your sports arena, your commercial insurance coverage can make the difference between reopening in time for next season or permanently closing your doors. Unfortunately, many insurers underpay or deny these claims, depriving owners of one of their biggest investments. Attorney Bill Voss explains how owners can protect themselves against fire damage and how to create a policy that will cover the full extent of fire losses.
Vital Fire Insurance Options for Stadiums and Sports Arenas
Owners of football stadiums, baseball fields, hockey rinks, and other arenas know the importance of investing in liability insurance in case someone is injured on their property. However, commercial property insurance is just as vital to protecting your interests, especially after a fire spreads through the structure.
In order to provide the most protection, a commercial fire damage policy should include:
- Property damage. A basic commercial property insurance policy will provide compensation for damage to the building, inventory, or equipment up to a certain dollar value. However, owners should carefully choose whether these losses will be covered at actual cash value or replacement value.
- Sports equipment. Many forms of equipment (such as turf and goal posts) must be maintained to an industry standard. Your insurance selections can offset the costs of buying new equipment that meets requirements of game play.
- Specialty equipment. Owners may need to invest in enhancements for specialty or high-value equipment, such as lights, score boards, digital billboards, Jumbotron screens, or Zambonis.
- Business auto. Comprehensive commercial auto coverage will pay for coaches, team buses, shuttles, and other vehicles that are damaged by something other than a collision, such as flame, heat, or smoke damage.
- Water damage. Firefighters use thousands of gallons of water to extinguish the flames, which can pool in basements, subfloors, and utility areas. Your insurance should cover the cost of replacing carpets, seats, electronics, and other equipment damaged by firefighting efforts.
- Builder’s risk coverage. Owners who are upgrading or expanding their arenas should secure builder’s risk insurance to cover the new and existing portions of the structure that are undergoing work. A spark from a welder’s torch or a loose electrical wire can easily turn into a blaze, and without additional coverage these losses may not be covered.
- Seasonal business insurance. If your field or open-air stadium relies more heavily on income from the summer season than in the winter, you may need the extra protection of seasonal insurance. Seasonal business insurance can replace missing profits during the busiest time of year, allowing the owner to offset any permanent losses.
- Inland marine coverage. Equipment floater coverage and inland marine coverage pays to replace property that is in transit to your arena, held or stored away from the insured property, or is mobile and can travel to many locations (such as lighting rigs or sporting equipment).
- Business income insurance. Also known as business interruption insurance, this coverage pays to replace lost profits for a fixed period of time after the fire to allow owners to rebuild. Some policies allow business income losses to be extended for up to a year to allow for large-scale repairs.
Once you have submitted a fire insurance claim, it is important to follow up with the insurer to ensure that your claim is being handled properly. If you feel that the insurance company is not following the guidelines of the policy you have in place, you should contact an insurance claim attorney to learn what your next steps should be.
When insurers take unreasonable amounts of time to pay out or refuse certain aspects of a claim, we can examine your policy and fight on your behalf to get you the full amount you are owed. 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.