While business losses do not get the same type of media coverage after a hurricane, these types of losses can be significant and can have a substantial impact on a person’s ability to provide for his or her family. If your business has been impacted by Hurricane Harvey, there are several things you can do to get back on the road to recovery.
Locate and read all of your insurance policies to determine the various types of coverage available to you and your business.
Most business policies will cover damage to structures and contents, but you also need to look to see if you have business interruption insurance and, if so, what type of coverage is available. Other types of coverage include costs associated to utility outages and losses due to a lack of ingress and egress.
Put your insurance company on notice regarding your loss.
If your business was in any way impacted (e.g. customers were impacted or your suppliers cannot deliver), you should put your insurance company on notice of your potential claim. All policies require that you provide notice and some policies require that you provide such notice within a specified time period. As a result, you should know what your policy requires and you should immediately let your insurance company know of your loss. Failure to provide the required notice may result in your insurance company denying your claim.
Mitigate and document.
After a loss, you have an obligation to take reasonable steps in an effort to mitigate or lessen any loss you may have sustained. By way of example, if you have a broken window you need to board it up. Likewise, if your primary supplier cannot deliver you should try to find a reasonable and suitable alternative. Equally important is documenting your loss. You should take pictures of all the physical damage your business sustained. In addition, keep copies of any receipt or other paper documentation regarding any type of expense or loss you incurred as a result of the storm.
Submitting and maximizing your claim.
Generally, your insurance company will have a property adjuster come out and investigate your claim and survey the physical damage, if any. Depending on the type and extent of the damage, your insurance company may retain the services of other experts to evaluate the damage. It is important to note that these adjusters are paid by the insurance company and their goals can be different than yours. Depending on what these adjusters say, you may need to hire your own expert to evaluate your loss.
Another aspect of your claim will be to deal with the claim’s adjuster. This person will ask you for all types of written documentation to support the claims you are making. Documentation of your claim is critical to maximizing your claim. Insurance companies rarely take your word for it so you have to show them written proof. This type of proof can come in various forms such as past sales receipts, work orders or even a written report of your own expert. Finally, as in business, most things are negotiable so you should not just simply accept the insurance company’s initial offer.
If you feel that you need assistance with your claim or that you are not being treated fairly, you should hire an experienced insurance lawyer to review your policy and help you maximize your claim.
Business Loss Attorneys: How Sutliff & Stout Can Help
Contact Sutliff & Stout today for a complimentary consultation about your business losses during and after Hurricane Harvey. We can help you determine what losses are included in your insurance policy and maximize the total amount covered by your claim.