For California business owners, the threat of business interruption is ever-present in the form of fires, power outages, theft, vandalism and other adverse events. If you have purchased business interruption insurance, you are in a much better position than business owners who have not. By following a few guidelines, you can get the most out of your policy.
Mitigate your losses
As a business interruption policyholder, you have a duty to mitigate losses. Mitigation measures may include:
- Covering valuable equipment with tarps to keep it from being damaged
- Making repairs to keep bad weather out
- Hiring the services of a professional mitigation service
While these mitigation efforts may be expensive, your policy may actually cover the cost. Make sure to check on this before paying for these expenses out of pocket.
Take ownership of your claim
How, specifically, has this interruption impacted your bottom line? What does a full restoration look like? Only you can answer these questions because only you have the necessary intimate understanding of your business’s day-to-day operations and viability. Walk through your place of business and take note of every way the covered event has impacted you. Take photographs of the damage. Document merchandise, equipment and other items that have been ruined due to damage or lack of use.
Understand what is covered
Thoroughly review the details of your policy so that you understand what is covered and what is not. This can help you frame the language of your claim to resonate more clearly with the insurance adjustor.
If you think something is not covered, do not give up without looking into it further. Another category of coverage may actually cover it. And even if a policy doesn’t mention that type of loss, if it does not explicitly preclude it, it may still be covered.
Don’t close your claim too soon
It may take a long time to fully realize the many ways this interruption has impacted you. Don’t let a period of better-than-average business fool you into thinking you have fully recovered. There may be more hardship just around the corner, its root cause being the interruption.
Get the details right
Missing a deadline or failing to provide necessary documentation can derail an otherwise promising claim. Get professional legal help when necessary so you can focus on building your business back after this damaging event.