If your business is damaged or flooded during a tropical storm in Florida, there are important steps that must be taken to mitigate your financial loss. Tropical storms can wreak havoc with rain, hail and flooding. Strong gusts of wind also might uproot trees that fall on buildings causing damage to your structure, machinery, inventory and materials. If the damage is significant enough that your business must shutdown for an extended period, your insurance coverage might mean the difference between solvency and bankruptcy. We have provided suggestions for business owners faced with damage to their business during a tropical storm.
Document Your Loss: Take photos of any losses to your structures and damage to property inside structures. This should be accompanied by a written inventory of items that were destroyed or damaged by the storm.
Mitigate Loss: While you do not want to perform repairs until adjusters have had a chance to inspect the premises, you are contractually required to implement temporary remedial measures to prevent future damage. This might include boarding up windows or covering portions of the roof with plastic to prevent ongoing penetration from precipitation.
Confirm Business Interruption Coverage: If the mayor of Miami-Dade County orders an evacuation or orders businesses to close, your business interruption insurance may cover loss of income because your business cannot operate for a period of time in the aftermath of the storm. Standard business insurance policies only cover damage to tangible items like your warehouse, store, offices and inventory. If you want coverage for lost profits, you will need to prove your current net profit. If your net profits are significant, you need to be cautious and pay attention to low per incidents limits. If your profit levels have been increasing, you should document many months of income to demonstrate the upward trend. This approach will permit you to argue the trend would have continued if not for the damage caused by the storm.
Determine the Scope of Business Interruption Coverage: The business interruption coverage you have will mirror your main business policy in terms of covered perils. If you do not purchase flood insurance, for example, your business interruption coverage will not extend to flood coverage. It is important to carefully review the exclusions of prospective business interruption coverage. Frequently, business interruption coverage includes exclusions for lost profits caused by disruption of electrical power even though this is a common problem that prevents operation of a business following a severe tropical storm.
If your business has been damaged by a tropical storm or other peril, my law firm has helped many business owners negotiate claims with their insurance company. If you have questions about business insurance claims, you are welcome to contact my Florida insurance claims dispute law firm. My law firm represents policyholders in claims disputes in Miami and throughout Florida. 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.