Industrial properties often stretch over many acres and involve specialized buildings, vehicles, and equipment. When disaster strikes, these properties are vulnerable to extremely costly losses, and the insurance claims in the aftermath are often extremely complex. Although most policyholders for these kinds of large, commercial properties are aware that they hold certain responsibilities under the terms of their insurance policies, overlooking even a small step can greatly complicate a claim.
Don’t miss some of the easiest ways to avoid complication with your insurance claim. Attorney Bill Voss wants to remind policyholders that most insurance policies require the insured to do certain things and submit certain forms after a loss. To help you get started, he’d like to share some typical steps that come up in claims for complex commercial and industrial properties.
Steps Industrial Insured Should Take After a Property Loss
Your insurance policy should clearly state your responsibilities, so it’s always worth carefully reading over the policies for your property for the specifics before you do anything else. However, in general, industrial policyholders can expect to honor the following kinds of responsibilities to their insurance companies:
- Notifying the insurance company of a loss. Most policyholders are required to notify the insurance company of a loss in writing, usually as soon as possible after the fire or weather event. Depending on the circumstances, some insurers may accept a timely phone call or a delayed written notice, but don’t just assume that there will be leniency. Check your policy or call your insurer to be sure you know how to notify the insurance company of property losses.
- Submitting a Proof of Loss form. Proof of Loss forms may be requested by the insurance company in some circumstances or required with every claim. In cases where the property is very large, severe damage has occurred, or complex issues are raised by the claim, you can expect to need to submit a Proof of Loss. This form generally must be submitted within a certain time period after the loss and should include very detailed information about the losses a property sustained.
- Cooperating with the insurance company. Policyholders are generally also required to cooperate with the insurance company as it investigates and works through a property loss claim. However, if the insurance company acts in bad faith or treats your claim unfairly, realize that you also have rights that protect you from this treatment and may be able to take action to resolve your claim appropriately.
- Adherence to time limits. The amount of time you have to meet certain responsibilities or submit certain forms can vary by state, region, type of loss, and type of policy. Make sure that you understand the time limits that affect your claim and carefully plan to be able to meet them.
- Compliance with examinations under oath. Many insurance policies will also require that policyholders comply with an examination under oath, if necessary. The insurance company may require statements, documentation, or other information in the course of handling a claim, and it can ask for an examination under oath when it is reasonable to do so.
Failing to honor the responsibilities in the insurance policy won’t necessarily completely invalidate your claim. There are times when the insured’s responsibilities can be unclear, and a lot depends on the specific policy, the area where the property is located, state laws, and more. However, to avoid difficulties, it’s always a good idea to take these responsibilities seriously and follow through with the steps as closely as possible, as they are laid out in your policy. You may also wish to review the terms of the insurance policy with an experienced attorney to make sure that you clearly understand the insured’s responsibilities.
Getting Help With Denied, Delayed, and Underpaid Industrial Property Insurance Claims
No matter how prepared you may be for a storm, fire, or other loss event on an industrial property, the insurance claims that follow can still be complex and full of challenges. If you are having trouble with a property damage claim that has been denied, or if you need help maximizing a complex insurance claim for an industrial property, contact the experienced attorneys with the Voss Law Firm today at 1-888-614-7730 with your questions.