As a business owner, you probably know that it is best to file a commercial fire damage claim as soon as the fire is out. However, many things will need to be done after notifying the insurance company in order to ensure fast payment and get your doors back open as quickly as possible. Attorney Bill Voss explains what to do in the days and weeks after a fire to minimize your losses.
How to Recover Fair Payment From an Insurer After a Commercial Fire
Insurance companies do not usually explain the full details of coverage to every policyholder, so most owners only discover the limits of their policies when they receive an insurance payout far less than their actual losses. In order to get the maximum you are owed in your business fire claim, you should:
- Compare “before” and “after” photos. While many business owners know the value of taking photos and videos of the property after the fire, relatively few have photographic evidence of their property in top condition to compare it with. Before-and-after comparisons allow insurers to easily see fire damage, water damage, structural damage, and other destruction firsthand.
- Provide proof and paperwork. An insurer can acknowledge that you suffered losses while still disputing the cost of the damage. You can get fair value by providing as much concrete evidence of your claim as possible, including receipts for furniture, office equipment, business losses, premiums paid, and any other financial records.
- Weigh the costs and benefits of repairs. Some insurers will agree to a smaller amount for repairs in exchange for keeping your premiums low. Consider if performing repairs and restorations yourself could save you money in the long run.
- Question the insurer’s methods. Insurers may involve many different third parties during the claims process, including building inspectors and forensic accountants. If you are asked to provide financial records or give statements, consider hiring an insurance attorney to protect your claim.
- Explore coverage options. Your insurer may cover building code upgrades or green building materials as part of your policy. If you find yourself paying out-of-pocket for the extras, consider if it could be more cost-effective to increase your coverage.
If you are having trouble getting an insurer to pay for fire damage at your business, 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.