Discussions in our previous blog post focused on four ways that small business owners hurt their insurance claims following a natural or manmade disaster. Certain actions, attitudes, and behaviors can increase the probability of having a commercial claim delayed or denied when it is submitted to an insurance company. This causes more than a mere headache or additional work for the small business owner. Rather, it can mean significant out-of-pocket expenses, a delay in restarting business operations, or the shuttering of a business altogether.
Here are three additional ways small business owners can harm their business and their insurance claim following a natural or manmade disaster:
- Failing to be familiar with your small business insurance policy. A sizeable number of insurance disputes could be avoided altogether if the insured was familiar with the provisions of his or her small business insurance policy. A good place to start is by reviewing your declarations page. This page will list the events and circumstances under which you are covered and any exclusions of coverage contained in your policy. It will also list the monetary limits for each type of covered claim that the insurance company has agreed to pay. Being familiar with your insurance policy accomplishes two goals. First, this knowledge saves you from the hassle and inconvenience of filing claims that are doomed to fail. Second, if you are informed about your policy, this awareness will help you decide whether your existing policy is sufficient or if you need additional coverage (e.g. high-dollar, rare items or earthquake damage, etc.).
- Expecting the government to bail you out. If your area is declared to be a federal disaster area, you can expect that aid money will be available at some point to assist you with cleanup and repair expenses. The operative phrase in that statement is “at some point.” Survivors of major catastrophes know that federal or state aid money does not always arrive promptly in the hands of those that need it the most. In the meantime, business owners who are waiting for these funds to arrive before cleaning up might find that their damages and losses increase rather than remain the same or decrease. If you suffer a loss, it is better to file your insurance claim quickly rather than wait on the government to provide you with assistance.
- Not having small business insurance. Small business owners need small business insurance. A customer who slips and falls on the premises of an uninsured business and who obtains a judgment in his or her favor can deplete the assets of the business. In some cases, the injured customer can even pursue the business owner personally for any amount of the judgment that remain outstanding. This can not only ruin a small business but also result in financial calamity for the business owner personally.
If your insurance carrier is refusing to comply with its contractual obligation, you are invited to contact our law firm to speak to an experienced Miami insurance claims attorney. My law firm specializes in representing policyholders in claims disputes in Miami and throughout Florida. Click here to read about some of our case results. The Law Firm of J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A. offers free consultations and case evaluations. No Recovery, No Lawyer Fees. Call 305-461-1095 or Toll Free 1-866-71-CLAIM.