Any retail store relies on a constant supply of new inventory to sell to customers, but grocery stores face special challenges when it comes to consumer demand. As food suppliers, they rely on a steady stream of deliveries to ensure that the food they carry is fresh. Any interruption in the system can leave shelves empty and customers fleeing to other suppliers after a storm. Attorney Bill Voss explains how grocery store owners often have less wind damage coverage than they need, and why they face challenges in collecting payment after wind storms.
Will Your Wind Damage Coverage Be Enough to Restore Your Supermarket?
Any damage to a grocery store can cause immeasurable losses to inventory, customers, reputation, and profits. Commercial insurance is often the only way stores are able to make necessary repairs and continue to do business after a major storm. However, there are many limitations on wind damage coverage that can greatly affect the amount of your compensation.
For example, many owners have filed claims only to discover that their wind damage policies did not cover the full cost of:
- Food spoilage. When downed electrical lines leave stores without power, a great deal of inventory is at risk of becoming inedible. Perishable items such as fresh produce and food that requires refrigeration or freezing will immediately start to lose freshness, and will often need to be thrown out to avoid risk to customers. Food items may become wet or moldy as freezers and refrigerators climb to room temperature, causing flooding inside the store. To make matters worse, employees will not be able to restock empty refrigerated cases and freezers until power is restored and containers have once again reached optimal cold temperatures. Food spoilage insurance can protect against these losses, although it is often an optional add-on form of coverage to protect a business against this type of risk.
- Electricity losses. The loss of power to the building doesn’t just cause the loss of inventory, it can also make it impossible for stores to generate income. If scanners, computers, and credit card machines are all inoperable, stores cannot sell anything to the public even if customers are desperate for supplies. If door locks, overhead lighting, and shoplifting detectors are not functional, stores are at an increased risk of looting while they are closed for repairs.
- Supply chain interruptions. Supermarkets rely on a number of vehicles to get produce from the farm to store shelves. Wind storms may ground planes, close roads, and damage vehicles, causing repercussions long after the storm has ended. Unfortunately, delays in processing and paying out insurance claims leave many grocery store owners without any stock on their shelves for days.
- Outdoor damage. A basic commercial insurance policy will include damage to the building caused by adverse weather events. However, owners should always read their policies carefully to see which events are—and are not—covered. In some cases, “storms” may be covered but “strong winds” are not considered storms unless they include rain or snow. Such exceptions have left owners to pay for ruined outdoor displays, vehicle damage, roof damage, and debris removal on their own.
- Loss of income. Any supermarket located in a disaster-prone area should strongly consider purchasing business interruption coverage and income replacement along with a commercial property insurance policy.
Even when supermarket owners have purchased the necessary wind damage coverage, many insurance carriers will do anything they can to deny, delay, or underpay their claims. This type of business practice has significantly high costs to grocery stores, causing them to suffer additional losses and depleting profits with each passing day.
If you are struggling to collect fair payment from an insurer after a wind storm, we can help you get the payments you deserve for food spoilage, property damage, and business interruption. 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.