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Business Insurance Claim

How to File a Business Insurance Claim

Disasters can impact your business in numerous ways, including:

  • Fire: Damaging inventory, equipment, and office spaces, potentially shutting down operations temporarily.
  • Theft: Stealing equipment or merchandise.
  • Injuries: Customers could get hurt or killed on company property.
  • Access Issues: Losing access to property after incidents like fires, floods, or hurricanes.

Having the right insurance coverage helps you recover quickly and restart operations. Once everyone is safe and immediate emergencies are handled, follow these steps to file a claim and get back on track:

Step-by-Step Guide to Filing a Business Insurance Claim

1. Contact Your Insurance Agent and Insurer

Reach out to your insurance agent as soon as possible. They can assist in filing a quick and accurate claim. If there is extensive damage, your insurer might send an adjuster to inspect your property.

2. Contact the Authorities

If your business was a victim of a crime, inform the local police immediately. Obtain a copy of the police report to support your claim.

3. Review Your Insurance Policy

Re-read your policy to understand the steps required for filing a claim. This can help ensure you follow the necessary procedures.

4. Provide an Inventory

Prepare an inventory of items damaged or destroyed during the incident. Your insurer and adjuster will need this information, along with any receipts you have for these items.

5. Show Proof of Your Loss

Your insurer may require a signed and sworn proof of loss document during the claim investigation. Submit this within 60 days of the incident.

6. Prepare for the Adjuster’s Visit

Be ready for the adjuster to inspect your property, review records, and collect documentation.

7. Document All Property Losses and Damages

Identify and document all damages to your buildings and structures. List everything for the adjuster to inspect, including any small details like missing shingles or wall cracks. Take photos or videos of the damage.

8. Take Temporary Safety Measures

If it’s safe, protect your property from further damage. Use tarps on a damaged roof, for example, and keep receipts for temporary repairs. Retain all damaged parts for the adjuster’s inspection.

9. Get Multiple Repair Bids

Obtain quotes from several companies to ensure you get the best deals on replacements and repairs.

10. Stay Organized

Keep copies of all relevant documents and communications with your agent, insurer, and repair companies. Maintain a detailed log of all interactions.

The Extra Expense and Business Income Claim Process

If your company must temporarily relocate or close, file claims for extra expenses and business income loss (if insured). To get a proper settlement, you need to:

  • Demonstrate your company’s net income before the disaster.
  • Show your typical operating expenses, including payroll, before the incident.
  • Provide records of expenses after the crisis.

Your insurer may request financial logs and records from the past few years to assess your normal income.

Documentation Needed:

  • Ongoing business transactions and recovery activities.
  • Expenses incurred while operating from a temporary location.
  • Financial obligations, such as advertising or utility expenses, that continue despite the closure.

How to File Claims for Civil Authority Insurance

Government actions, like closing your location for inspection after a fire, may make your premises inaccessible. This can prevent you from operating your business. If this happens, your insurer can reimburse lost income and other expenses. Your Business Owners Policy (BOP) or Commercial Package Policy (CPP) may cover these interruptions.

Conditions for Civil Authority Coverage:

  • A government agency prohibits access to your insured property.
  • This prohibition is due to damage or physical loss within a certain proximity (usually within a mile) of your property.
  • You meet your policy’s waiting period (time deductible).

Troubleshooting Your Settlement

If you feel your claim was mishandled or your settlement is inadequate:

  1. Contact Your Independent Insurance Agent: Explain your perspective and make your case for a larger settlement.
  2. Reach Out to Your Insurer’s Claims Manager: Present your complaint with supporting documentation.
  3. Get in Touch with Your State Department of Insurance: They may assist in resolving the issue.

Filing a business insurance claim can be a detailed and complex process. However, by following these steps and staying organized, you can ensure your business recovers swiftly and efficiently. If you need further assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to your insurance agent for guidance. 

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