Hurricanes pose a particular threat to anything that runs on electricity, which is both good news and bad news for electronics store owners. On one hand, people who have lost major appliances in the storm will likely be shopping for new models. On the other hand, the same storm could ruin a large portion of your inventory, leaving you without any items to sell. Attorney Bill Voss explores how owners of these retail outlets can recover as quickly as possible after a hurricane and what they can do maximize their insurance payments.
Electronics Providers May Recover More Quickly Than Other Retailers
After a disaster, the retailers who struggle the most to stay afloat are those who suffer large losses and slow sales in the recovery period. Although electronics stores may not see the uptick in business that home improvement stores do after a storm, they are still uniquely poised to recover more quickly due to:
- Type of inventory. People rebuilding their homes after a hurricane are unlikely to shop for luxuries such as new clothes or meals at restaurants, but may be forced to replace damaged appliances, cellphones, televisions, and other consumer electronics. If you carry a wide range of electronics at different prices points, you could be in a better position to recoup your profits when the storm is over.
- Extent of losses. If you own several locations, it will depend on how many of your stores were hit at once and how much inventory was damaged in each. Electronics providers who store their inventory offsite or in a warehouse may suffer lower losses in the storefront, allowing them to begin selling again as soon as the building is repaired.
- Store locations. Supply chain interruptions are a major cause of hurricane losses for retail businesses, particularly those that provide food and other basic necessities. Your store’s physical location (behind blocked roads or nearer the eye of the storm) will affect your ability to import stock from providers more quickly than your competitors.
Getting Coverage for Hurricane Damage to an Electronics Store
Fast action is key to getting fair coverage under your business owner’s policy (BOP). Business owners should file a claim with the insurance company as soon as possible, since many insurers see a high volume of claims in the weeks after a hurricane hits.
Owners of electronics stores can further increase their chances of getting fast and fair payment by:
- Filing all necessary claims. Flood damage due to natural disasters is not typically covered under a standard property damage policy. Owners will have to purchase coverage from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or a private insurance company specifically for flood losses. This claim should be filed in addition to other losses covered under your BOP.
- Saving damaged items. It is a good idea to keep as many damaged items as you can so the insurance company’s adjuster can see them firsthand. If multiple items were damaged in a similar way and space does not permit your keeping all of them, you may keep one and discard the rest as long as you have documentation of all makes and models. If you are forced to discard ruined inventory for health and safety reasons, owners should document losses extensively with photographs and video.
- Keeping good records. It is vital that you keep accurate and up-to-date records of the entire incident, not just losses. Your documentation should include anything you have spent to make temporary repairs, a comprehensive list of damaged items and the value of each, receipts for costs paid out-of-pocket, and copies of all communication between you and the insurance company.
- Claiming business interruption. The high number of claims received after a disaster can lengthen payment times considerably. Making a claim for business interruption coverage can ensure that all of your repairs continue even when you are not able to generate profits from sales.
If your insurer is attempting to deny, delay, or underpay your hurricane claim, 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.