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Commercial Property Damages & Business Disruption Attorney in Tampa, Florida

Just as homeowners purchase insurance policies to protect their investment in a personal home, business owners purchase policies to protect their investments. While both types of policies have provisions for physical damage to the insured property, a business owner’s property and casualty policy will also often carry what is called business interruption (BI) insurance.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), about 25 percent of businesses fail to reopen after a disaster strikes. Thus, an important component of a business owner’s insurance policy, often referred to as a BOP, involves business interruption coverage. This part of the overall policy is intended to compensate for lost revenue and expenses after direct physical loss or damage, such as might be caused by a fire or a natural disaster.

Even if you have business interruption coverage, though, your insurance provider is going to demand plenty of documentary proof and other kinds of evidence to honor your claim. Insurers are for-profit institutions, which means that they are out to protect the bottom line. When you make a claim, they will likely challenge everything you say and submit, and still ask for more verification. It can be both challenging and frustrating.

If you are involved in a property damage and/or a business interruption claim in or around Tampa, Florida, and need help securing the compensation you deserve from your insurance policy, contact Pekar Law, P.A. Attorney Jeff Pekar has extensive experience in insurance claims and will help you protect your rights and press forward aggressively to seek the just compensation due you under your policy.

Pekar Law, P.A. not only serves clients in and around Tampa, but also throughout Western and Central Florida, including Orlando, Sarasota, Fort Myers, and Lakeland. 

Understanding Commercial Property Damage

Business interruption insurance is packaged along with other property and business liability protections. Generally, the overall package will cover general liability, commercial property, and business interruption.  

GENERAL LIABILITY: This part of a business owner’s policy, or BOP, protects the business from liability arising from claims for bodily injury, property damage, libel, and slander. For instance, if someone slips and falls on the business’s premises, that should be covered. It can also pay legal fees if someone sues the business. 

COMMERCIAL PROPERTY: This part of the policy covers a business’s physical property, such as inventory, equipment, and furniture. The coverage will help with repair and replacement resulting from fire or other events, including even riots, civil commotion, and vandalism. 

BUSINESS INTERRUPTION: BI, as it is often abbreviated, will cover losses of net income when a business has to close for repairs. BI will often cover rent or lease payments, relocation costs, employee wages, taxes, and loan payments, but it generally does not cover losses from flooding, earthquakes, and mudslides. Separate policies will be needed for those events. 

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Common Causes of Commercial Property Damage in Florida

Hurricanes, tornadoes and high winds, smoke and fire damage, sinkholes, and floods are common disasters that could force your business to close for a prolonged period of time. You need to be prepared with the proper insurance coverage.  

Business interruption may be the main component of your coverage, but you may also need separate policies or riders to cover flooding. Make sure—with the help of your attorney—you read the fine print of the overall commercial business policy you’re purchasing.  

Be prepared when you submit a claim for the insurance company’s representatives to question everything and demand further documentation or proof before they settle with you. The goal of the insurer, of course, is to limit the settlement as much as possible, or even to deny it altogether.

When filing a business disruption claim to make up for your losses during that time, your insurance company will likely need to examine at a minimum: 

  • your insurance policy documents 

  • expense reports for your business resulting from the property challenge 

  • receipts and revenue documents 

  • payroll costs 

Additional Types of Business Interruption Coverage

In addition to the standard business interruption (BI) policy, there are two options available as riders, which should be considered depending on your business: 

CONTINGENT BUSINESS INTERRUPTION (CBI): This rider will protect your business from disruptions in the supply chain. Suppose a fire shuts down a supplier and you can no longer receive the products you need to keep operating. In that case, CBI can provide businesses with cash to help cover payroll, rent, and other expenses to keep the business open.

EXTENDED BUSINESS INTERRUPTION (EBI): This rider covers the period between when a business’s property is repaired, and before its income returns to pre-loss levels. 

The Importance of Experienced Legal Guidance When Making a Claim

Making a claim on your commercial insurance policy and its business interruption clause may seem like a straightforward process. Your business suffers damage and has to shut down while property repairs are made. In the process, your business not only incurs expenses but also loses revenue. You submit your claim, and your insurer should honor it. 

Insurers, however, challenge everything. You need to be prepared with solid documentation and other evidence, including even taking photos or videos of what transpired that put your business operations on hold while repairs are being made.  

It’s important to enlist the aid of an experienced property damage/business interruption attorney during this time. Your attorney will be able to handle the questions and challenges of the insurer’s claims representatives and can help you move forward with confidence. 

Commercial Property Damages & Business Disruption Attorney in Tampa, Florida

If your business needs to make a property damage and/or business interruption claim in or around Tampa, Florida, contact Pekar Law, P.A. immediately. Attorney Jeff Pekar has extensive experience in these matters and will work aggressively to protect your rights toward securing the best result possible. Your initial consultation is free.