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You paid your premiums. Now that your property has been damaged by a busted pipe, storm, fire, or other disaster, it is time to take the steps to maximize the coverage you purchased. Our property insurance lawyers are ready to help you. Insurance companies do all they can to avoid paying you what you are owed, which puts your livelihood and business at risk. Give us a call at 214-484-1930 for a free consultation to discuss your commercial property claim. We can help you get the insurance coverage you are owed.
What Types of Damage Does Your Property Insurance Claims Cover?
Generally, your commercial property policy protects losses to the building you own and rent for your business as well as the personal property of your business. Commercial property policies typically cover the following damages:
- Damage done to the building and the property inside of it.
- Income you lost when your business was unable to operate due to the damage and necessary repairs. (This is known as business interruption coverage).
- Loss of rental income.
- Payroll needed to pay employees while the business is unable to operate due to the damage.
- Damage to furniture.
- Damage to computers.
- Damage to heating and cooling systems.
- Supplies and inventory.
What Hazards or Risks Are Covered by Your Policy?
Just because your property sustained damage does not mean the damage is covered. Damage your business property sustains is only covered if the damage was caused by a risk that your commercial property policy covers. Texas offers three types of commercial property policies, each of which covers different risks. So it is important to understand the exact coverage you purchased. The three types of commercial property policies in Texas are as follows:
- Basic Form Policy: this policy covers the basic risks that you would expect such as damage from fires, frozen pipes, hail, windstorms, lightning, explosions, riots, vandalism, smoke, and sprinkler leaks.
- Broad Form Policy: this policy covers everything Basic Form policies cover plus additional risks such as structural collapses, leaks from appliances, falling objects, and problems caused from the weight of snow and ice.
- Special Form Policies: this policy covers damages from all causes of loss UNLESS the cause is specifically excluded. For example, flood damage is typically excluded from this type of policy (requiring you to buy a separate flood policy if you want flood-related losses covered).
Before you start discussing your commercial property claim with your insurance company, it is important that you have a clear understanding of exactly the type of coverage you purchased. Our commercial property insurance lawyers can help you with this.
Common Reasons Insurance Companies Deny Property Insurance Claims
A common tactic insurance companies use in response to a commercial property claim is to delay, deny, and defend the claim. As such, expect the insurance company to attempt to deny your claim for the following reasons:
- Damage was caused by an uncovered risk.
- Property that was damaged was not part of your business and not covered.
- Insufficient evidence to prove your loss.
- Allegations of fraud.
- Late premium payments.
- Exhaustion of coverage limits.
- Simple incompetence or “bad faith” by the insurance adjuster.
Even when the claim cannot be denied, adjusters will do all they can to diminish the actual value of the commercial property claim by not providing you full and fair value for the damage your business property sustained. Common examples of how insurance companies try to reduce the value of your claim include the following:
- Only offering to repair covered property when replacement is required.
- Undervaluing business equipment that was destroyed.
- Undervaluing the cost of repairs.
- Undervaluing the business income actually lost due to the damage.
If you believe your claim was improperly denied or undervalued, you have a right to review and contest that claim. Our commercial property insurance lawyers are prepared to assist you in that fight.
Immediate Steps You Should Take to Protect Your Property Insurance Claim
Insurance companies look for any reason to deny a commercial property claim. One way to reduce the risk of getting your claim denied is by taking the following steps:
- Open a claim with your carrier as soon as possible. There is no reason to wait to open the claim, and long delays in doing so could jeopardize your claim.
- Take video and photos of the actual damage sustained to the building and its contents.
- If possible, do not make permanent repairs before the insurance adjuster looks at the damage.
- Make a list of all items you contend are damaged.
- Draft good notes as to the date, time, and cause of the damage. Get witness statements to support these facts if possible.
- Save physical evidence related to the cause of the damage (for example, keep the busted water pipes).
- Start gathering documents to support that you own or rent the building as well as documents to support your claim for loss of income.
Evidence is key, and the more you have, the less chance the insurance company has to deny your commercial property claim or attempt to pay you less than you are owed.
Types of Property Insurance Claims We Currently Handle
We proudly represent a variety of businesses in regards to their commercial property coverage claims. Here is a list of the most common businesses that frequently need assistance:
- Office buildings
- Strip malls
- Apartment complexes
- Grocery stores
- Industrial buildings
- Medical offices and hospitals
If you own or rent a building to conduct your business and you sustained damages that you believe should be covered under your commercial property insurance policy, call us and take advantage of your free consultation. If we do not think we are the right firm for you, we will help you find the firm that is.
Specific Types Of Claims We Handle
- Hail and Wind Damage
- Water Damage
- Fire Damage
Do Not Let The Insurance Company Short Change You on Your Property Insurance Claim.
No one ever wants to file a lawsuit, but sometimes it is unavoidable. You have a contractual right to recover the insurance coverage you paid for with your premiums, and all too often it takes a lawsuit to protect that right. In addition to contract law, there are numerous statutes in Texas that can be used to increase your damages when an insurance company engages in unfair settlement practices, refuses to conduct a reasonable investigation, or generally acts in bad faith. Let our commercial property insurance lawyers evaluate those additional potential claims to see if you are entitled to damages Texas law allows you to recover.
Give us a call today to discuss your commercial property insurance claim. We are here to help you get your business back on track as quickly as possible. Call us at 214-484-1930.