Business fires can be devastating. And you’re not sure how to handle business fire insurance claims, it adds insult to injury. It can be even costlier and more severe if your business suffers a fire and you’re not adequately covered. No business owner buys fire insurance expecting a disaster, but it’s essential that you’re prepared just in case something bad does happen.
A good place to start is by having a property policy for your business. But in the event of a significant fire, what steps should you take to make sure you can recoup your losses?
This post provides the details on handling business fire insurance claims for your business.
Handling Business Fire Insurance Claims
1. Make a List of Everything Lost in the Fire
When filing a business fire insurance claim, make a list of everything you lost in the fire. As the policyholder, you’ll need to provide evidence of all the losses you suffered and convince the insurance company that the fire was the main cause.
Here are some of the things to account for when making a list of everything you lost:
- Check the damaged equipment.
- Quantify burned raw materials.
- Give a value estimate of your losses
2. Document Your Losses (Take Photographs)
Documenting your losses will also come in handy, helping to prove your business suffered significant damage from the fire. Take pictures, as they are the easiest and quickest way to prove damage or loss. Having the before and after photos of the disaster is even better and will help effectively and efficiently prove your case.
3. Understand Your Coverage
Most business owners make the mistake of buying insurance coverage without properly understanding what it covers. We recommend you educate yourself and understand your insurance coverage before agreeing to terms and paying an initial insurance premium.
Doing this helps to protect many business owners by allowing them to file business fire insurance claims knowing they will be paid off. Understanding your coverage also enables you to know if you are getting the best value for your money.
4. How to Work With Your Adjuster
After reporting your claim to the insurance company, the claims adjuster will do the following:
- Contact you to discuss the loss. And explain how your insurance coverage will work.
- Arrange for an appraiser to inspect the damage.
- Help you negotiate repair costs and pick out a contractor.
- If your policy includes Business Interruption and/or Extra Expense insurance and the business is shut down, or limited in operations because of the fire, the adjuster will help you determine the amount of your financial loss and contact you for a settlement.
In most states, there are 3 types of adjusters that can be used.
Typically, an insurance company will assign a staff adjuster to work with you on your claim. They’re an adjuster who is a salaried employee of an insurance company and their role is to represent the insurance company and help you receive full payment on your claim.
On occasion, an insurance company will assign the claim to an Independent Adjuster, This is someone who is allowed by license to contract with and represent insurance companies to adjust fire and other claims. It is not uncommon for an insurance company to hire an independent adjuster with specific expertise to handle a fire claim.
Finally, there’s what’s called a Public Adjuster. This is someone who is licensed by the state and represents an insured who has suffered losses from a fire. Their role is to negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. Typically, they charge a percentage of your claim proceeds as their fee. We recommend talking to your insurance agent before hiring a Public Adjuster
5. Contact Your Insurer Immediately
One of the things many insurers try to fight when filing insurance claims is foul play. Taking your time before contacting your insurer gives a perception of a cover-up or an attempt to dupe the insurance company.
Contact your insurer immediately after a fire incident to avoid suspicions. Give yourself and your insurance company ample time to follow up on the claim.
Autumn Insurance Can Help
Are you looking for insurance solutions to add to the coverage you already have or to cover your new commercial property? Autumn Insurance can help make your business fire insurance claims process go smoother if disaster strikes.
Our independent insurance agents strive to help you find the most cost-effective coverage and rates for your business. Get in touch for a fast and comprehensive insurance analysis.