If damage to your Clearwater business forces you to close, your business interruption (BI) insurance should help you cover your overhead and other essential expenses. BI policies provide income at a time when the company cannot operate. If you have this coverage but need help getting the benefits you deserve, our Clearwater business interruption claims lawyer can help.
At Dolman Law Group, our Clearwater Business Interruption Claims Lawyers understand how important your business is. We know you want to ensure its health despite the perils you currently face. Our team can review your policy coverage and explain the solutions we offer. Contact us today to discuss how we can file your claim and protect your business.
- Our Clearwater Business Interruption Claims Attorneys Help Small Businesses
- Get Help From Our Clearwater Business Interruption Claims Lawyer
- Our Business Interruption Lawyers Fight Denied Claims in Clearwater
- What Does Clearwater Business Interruption Cover?
- Clearwater Property Damage and Business Interruption Policies Work Together
- You Could Have Other Coverage in Addition to Your Business Interruption Policy
- Some Insurance Policies List Exclusions
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Clearwater Business Interruption Claims
- What Should I Do While Considering My Legal Options?
- Talk to Our Team About Your Clearwater Business Interruption Claim Today
Our Clearwater Business Interruption Claims Attorneys Help Small Businesses
At Dolman Law Group, our Clearwater property damage attorneys know the insurance industry inside and out. We regularly go toe-to-toe with insurers that refuse to pay the promised benefits. We do not allow insurers to bully or ignore their policyholders. Instead, we aggressively pursue a payout from the liable insurer on behalf of our client.
We can take over your claim at any point in the process. Some business owners run into headaches almost immediately. Others simply do not have the time to navigate the claims process and fight the insurer independently. We take care of the clerical matters associated with your business interruption claim——and we're not afraid to file a lawsuit, if the insurer withholds what you need.
Insurance adjusters do not like to hear our team is representing a policyholder and pursuing a claim. However, they respect us. They know we understand the financial recovery process and what goes into building a strong case.
Clients Work Closely With Our Business Interruption Lawyers
When you hire our team, you get an attorney assigned to your case. You work with this attorney from start to finish. You receive their personal cell phone number and can call, text, or email them at any time. We believe dedication, loyalty, and great communication are essential to a positive attorney/client relationship.
Your attorney can speak openly and honestly about your claim, how our fees work, and what challenges we can combat. We hope this brings confidence and peace of mind throughout this process. Our attorneys have a lot of experience handling these claims. You can focus on what must be done to reopen while we take care of your insurance claim.
Get Help From Our Clearwater Business Interruption Claims Lawyer
At Dolman Law Group our Clearwater personal injury attorneys know how to interpret insurance policies and protect the policyholder's right to seek fair compensation based on them. We do not allow insurers to take advantage of individuals or business owners. Selling you an insurance policy contractually obligates the insurer to act in good faith and attempt to pay in accordance with your agreement.
However, some insurance providers are not worried about their customers' businesses. Instead, they focus on their company's bottom line and look for ways to save money on paying claims. This can lead to lowball offers, bad faith insurance practices, and denials.
When you have an incident, accident, or another issue at your business and need to file a claim, we encourage you to connect with our team. We can protect your rights and seek the money promised in your insurance policy. This includes both property damage and business interruption claims in Clearwater.
Building Strong Support for Your Claim
When we take over the claims process, we use our experience and knowledge to build strong support for your claim.
While each policy has its unique differences, most require us to show:
- The business cannot function regularly because of a covered peril.
- You have coverage for this situation.
- The liable insurance company should pay your damages up to the policy's limits.
How insurers calculate the payout in BI claims depends on the company and the policy. However, our team knows how this process generally works. We know the necessary evidence to document our clients' covered expenses or missed income. In many cases, we look back at several years of income and loss statements, so we can determine what a fair settlement offer looks like.
We Fight for the Money Due to You
In some cases, the insurer refuses to pay the money our client deserves. We review our client's policy terms, document their covered losses, and prove the cause of the damage. Still, the insurer refuses to settle. When that happens, we don't back down; with Dolman Law Group, you always have legal options. We may sue the insurer if it refuses to uphold your policy's terms.
Our trial lawyers know how to navigate the legal system and hold insurers to task for their refusal to honor a policy. We manage your lawsuit's paperwork, preparation, and presentation. You can count on us to aggressively pursue justice and compensation.
Under Florida law, we generally have up to five years to sue the insurer for its refusal to pay a claim. However, we act quickly when possible because we know your company needs coverage during this difficult time.
Our Business Interruption Lawyers Fight Denied Claims in Clearwater
Sometimes, insurance companies deny a BI claim outright. This is a common strategy insurers use, hoping to discourage the claimant from seeking damages. When this happens, we spring into action. We don't have patience for unnecessary delays that prevent our clients from recouping what they need.
The insurance company must issue a written denial, and the law requires it to include an explanation. We can assess this reason to determine your next move. In many cases, we can provide additional support, contest the denial, or appeal the decision. A denial is not the end of your claim.
Why Would an Insurance Company Deny My Business Interruption Claim?
You purchased business interruption coverage to protect your financial interests in the aftermath of a covered peril. This involved selecting an insurer, understanding your coverage options, and faithfully paying your premiums. Still, just like how you want to protect your business, the insurer wants to protect its own. You want insurance to pay for your losses, and the insurer wants to save money on paying claims.
Some reasons we see for denied business interruption claims include:
- The business owner missed the claim's filing deadline.
- There were unpaid premiums, and the company dropped the coverage.
- There is insufficient evidence to show the damage or losses.
- The business shutdown occurred because of an excluded peril.
- The insurer believes the policyholder misrepresented their damage or losses.
In many of these cases, we have options for challenging the decision. For instance, if the insurer claims that your policy lapsed, we can use your payment history to assert otherwise. If the insurer claims you don't have adequate coverage, we can cite the liable policy's wording to combat these allegations.
Our attorneys don't want you to feel frustrated and alone after receiving a denial. We can manage the appeals process for you. We can review your coverage options, determine the reason for the denial, and weigh your options.
We Combat Denied Business Interruption Claims in Clearwater
Sometimes, insurers will reconsider a claim and new documentation when our team intervenes. They respect our knowledge of the process and industry, even if they do not like going toe-to-toe with us. Other insurers make us navigate the official appeals process, even when they know we're on the case. Each company has its own process, but we know how to file an appeal with any insurer that sells policies in Clearwater.
Possible outcomes of an appeal include:
- The insurer denies the claim again. Here, we may sue the liable insurer for the cost of your damages.
- The insurer approves your claim. When faced with compelling evidence, some insurers have no choice but to approve our client's claim in full.
- The insurer opens negotiations. During negotiations, we can fight for the full cost of your past, present, and future losses.
As noted, if we cannot get a fair settlement for our client through negotiations, our trial attorneys can sue the insurer. While most lawsuits do not go to trial, we are ready to represent you to the judge and jury to seek compensation.
What Does Clearwater Business Interruption Cover?
Clearwater business interruption insurance kicks in when your business cannot operate due to a covered peril. Most policies require you to close down altogether, while other policies cover reductions in productivity and other concerns related to greatly reduced income.
Business interruption insurance details differ from policy to policy.
Yours may offer coverage for:
- Wind and hail damage
- Water damage from burst pipes or appliance failures
- Hurricane damage
- Fallen trees
- Fire and lightning
- Negligence-related accidents, such as a car running into the front of your building
- Theft or vandalism
Most BI policies also provide some level of civil authority coverage. This kicks in when your building does not have significant damage, but others nearby do. For example, if there was serious damage to your street caused by falling trees and downed electrical lines from a storm, authorities might block access. You cannot get to your business, and customers cannot reach you, either.
Civil authority coverage generally pays in the wake of a natural disaster. The physical damage must be within a certain radius of your building. It could apply even if there is no damage to your business or you cannot access your building to assess the damage. Dolman Law Group can assess whether you have civil authority coverage and manage your case accordingly.
Many Business Interruption Policies Do Not Cover These Events
There could be some situations when you have damage to your property, but your policy excludes the cause.
Common examples include:
- Flooding and storm surge
- Some sinkhole events
When this occurs, your property damage coverage does not apply. This generally prevents your business interruption policy from paying out, as well. Our attorneys can review your coverage and determine if this applies or if you have other options.
Clearwater Property Damage and Business Interruption Policies Work Together
When there is a significant event that affects your business and bottom line, you expect your insurance company to be there for you. Your policy is a contract. You pay the premiums, and the insurer provides the promised coverage. However, as straightforward as it may seem, the claims process is fraught with pitfalls.
In many cases, insurers lowball, delay, or deny claims. This is when our attorneys step in and pursue just compensation based on the policy's terms. In a business property damage case, there are often two types of claims to file:
Property Damage Insurance
Your property damage insurance could cover the cost of repairs and replacement of damaged items.
Repairs could range from:
- Work on replacing some segments of the roof or broken windows after a windstorm
- A complete rebuild (after a serious fire, for example)
In many cases, your business cannot run without certain items. If they suffer damage or are stolen, there is no way to open and operate.
Covered items in a business interruption claim may include:
- Point-of-sale systems and related devices, such as iPads and cash registers
- Tools of the trade
- Furniture, such as tables and chairs in restaurants
- Appliances and electronics
- Inventory, in some cases
In theory, your property damage insurance should pay up to the policy's limits when:
- Your building or property suffered damage or requires replacement.
- This occurred because of a covered peril.
- You met all necessary deadlines and paid your premiums on time.
Business Interruption Insurance
Business interruption insurance covers many costs incurred regardless of whether a business can open. These payouts focus primarily on lost net income because of the business closure.
Since bills continue while the business completes repairs, this policy could cover expenses such as:
- Rent or loan payments for the property
- Other loan payments
- Employee wages
- Bills, such as for power and water
These policies also cover relocation costs for many business owners. They provide money to find, rent, and move to another location, either temporarily during repairs or permanently. The relocation coverage varies widely based on the policy. So, letting our team review your options based on your coverage terms can be a good idea.
You Could Have Other Coverage in Addition to Your Business Interruption Policy
In addition to traditional business interruption insurance, there are optional policies available. These provide extra coverage beyond when the business suffers physical damage and undergoes repairs.
Two common coverages include:
- Contingent business interruption (CBI): CBI coverage pays out when your business suffers a significant slowdown or must close because of a problem with a key supplier or customer base. For example, if a tire company cannot obtain the rubber it needs to make tires because of a fire at its supplier's warehouse, CBI could temporarily cover the drop in business income.
- Extended business interruption (EBI): EBI coverage continues to cover some of your business expenses after you reopen. You cannot expect to reopen at full capacity and with all the sales you had before your closure. EBI provides a period to ramp up business and increase your profits while still receiving some support from the insurer.
No matter what issue you have with your business insurance coverage, our team is here for you. We can review your policy, explain your coverage, and pursue the money you deserve based on your agreement terms.
Our attorneys understand why it is so important that you get your insurance claims approved quickly. Without your property damage payout, you cannot repair your building and reopen. When your business closes because of property damage, your overhead costs continue. This is where your business interruption policy comes in. You need both benefits in your account as soon as possible, and our team is here to help.
Some Insurance Policies List Exclusions
Business interruption insurance policies often include many exclusions. These primarily center on the peril that caused the physical damage. For example, most policies consider flooding an excluded peril. If your business flooded and you do not have coverage specifically for flood damage, the insurer could refuse to pay for your losses.
Following the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak several decades ago, many insurers paid out steep BI claims in Asia. This led them to reconsider viral and bacterial infections and outbreaks as covered perils. Some policies still include this coverage, and many people filed BI claims during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, pandemics are a common exclusion in many policies.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Clearwater Business Interruption Claims
Our attorneys represent clients after their businesses have shut down, and they need help preparing, filing, or challenging the insurance company's decision. We answer questions and assess specific circumstances during our initial consultations with business owners. However, we understand you could just be looking for a general answer right now. We've included the following FAQs for this reason.
Why Would I Want a Clearwater Business Interruption Claims Lawyer?
Insurance companies are not always easy to deal with. Despite having a BI policy and investing in your premiums every month, many insurers still make it difficult to get the money you deserve based on your policy's terms. Whether the insurer refuses to pay out enough to cover your losses, denies your claim, or unreasonably delays assessing your circumstances, our team can assist.
You do not have to navigate the claims process on your own. Our attorneys know how to handle insurance companies and demand the compensation promised by your policy's terms. If the insurer does not cooperate, we can litigate your case.
When Should I Consider Getting Legal Help?
We recommend calling us at any sign of trouble with your claim. Some business owners call us before they even file a claim. Others call after getting a denial.
When you partner with our team, we strive to offer:
- Peace of mind. Your business is more than a means of supporting yourself; it's a labor of love. You may feel anxious at the idea of temporarily closing your business. We offer confidence that your case is in good hands. We manage the legal side of things, so you can manage the personal side of things.
- Free case evaluations. You may feel unsure about your legal options. Yet, we offer free case reviews where we can learn your story and explain your next steps. During this conversation, you can learn whether partnering with our Clearwater business interruption team could benefit you.
- Unparalleled advocacy. We're on a first-name basis with many insurance companies that offer business interruption coverage. These corporations know we don't play games, and we're committed to our clients' success. Knowing how major insurers generally process claims gives us a legal strategy before your case officially begins.
You're used to being your own boss, and you're used to putting out fires on your own. Yet, with our legal team, you can focus your full time and energy on your business's future. In the meantime, we fight for the funds you need to keep your doors open.
How Can I Learn What My Business Interruption Policy Covers?
If you believe you have a covered business interruption or the insurance company does not explain your coverage in the way you understand it, feel free to contact us. We review these policies regularly and can explain yours in detail. We can discuss covered perils, benefits, and policy limits.
We can also assess your coverage based on the concerns that led you to file your claim, such as a fire, flood, wind damage, or another issue.
State courts generally lean toward interpreting vague policy terms on the side of the policyholder. If there are vague or ambiguous terms in your policy, we can research similar case outcomes and possibly use them to convince the insurer to reassess any offers.
What Is a Covered Peril?
A covered peril is a disastrous event that your insurance covers. For instance, if you have fire as a covered peril in your insurance policy, the insurer should pay damages related to that event.
Each policy differs somewhat in its coverage, meaning some exclude certain events while others do not. Most BI policies cover events that cause physical damage to the building, such as fire, a water leak, wind damage, or similar events.
Some policies cover events not linked to physical damage. This became a major concern for many business owners during the COVID-19 pandemic. Several decades ago, many insurers began to include terms that excluded coverage for bacterial and viral outbreaks. This forced some business owners to rely on government assistance, loans, and other support to keep paying their bills during shutdowns.
How Can I Ensure My Employees Get Paid?
Your business interruption insurance coverage could provide a payout that allows you to cover your payroll and retain your workers during the time you cannot open. This is a best-case scenario for both you and your employees. You do not have to invest the time and resources to train new workers, and your staff members do not need to find temporary or permanent new jobs.
Our attorneys can review your BI policy to see if you have payroll coverage and how long that coverage should last. We fight for you and your employees, working to help you keep up with your bills and reopen as soon as possible.
Can I Open Elsewhere Temporarily?
Many business interruption policies provide coverage for temporary or long-term relocations after a covered peril. They want you to reopen as soon as possible, so it is often easier to recover these expenses than other types of covered costs. This could include moving, storage expenses, rent on a temporary location, and related costs to open the new location.
It is often possible to get a payout for this coverage from your BI policy while getting the money you need to repair your original location and replace damaged property and inventory. However, you must provide the necessary evidence, records, and support for both claims.
What if There Are Indirect Disruptions That Affect My Business?
Some business interruption policies provide coverage for indirect disruptions, but this generally falls under a “contingent business interruption” policy. This coverage allows businesses to file a claim when an essential supplier or a key customer suffers physical damages, and it dramatically affects income.
For example, imagine a manufacturer in California provides parts for your business. A wildfire destroys the facility. Your Clearwater business is open and can make products, except you are missing key components from your supplier. A contingent business interruption policy might help you pay your bills until you find another supplier.
What if There Is Physical Damage to My Building?
Many BI policies require physical damage to your facility—or being unable to access it—before they cover the costs of your interruption. However, your BI policy does not cover the repairs or property replacement due to the damage. Your property damage policy should pay for these costs up to the liable policy's limits.
Under some circumstances, an issue with your property damage claim could affect your BI claim, too. For example, this could occur if the insurer believes your damage occurred because of an excluded peril, such as flooding. If this happens to you, contact our team. We often help clients deal with property damage, BI, and other claims following a disaster.
Will My Plan Cover a Dramatic Slow Down If My Business Remained Open?
Whether your business must close entirely before you receive compensation will depend greatly on your policy terms. Some policies cover issues when you only partially close your business or must dramatically reduce your work. Others require you to totally cease operations because of a covered peril before they pay out.
Our team can review your coverage and answer this question based on your policy. We provide free initial consultations with our team so you can learn more about your options based on your situation.
What Should I Do if the Insurer Denies My Claim?
If the insurance company denies your business interruption or property damage claim, we recommend contacting our team. We can assess your coverage options, determine why the insurer denied your claim, and prepare a plan to challenge the decision. We know how important it is for you to get the money due from your BI policy as soon as possible. For many, it is the only way to continue to pay their company's overhead while they are out of work.
In many cases, a denial is not the final answer. We build strong claims, appeal these decisions, and litigate the case when necessary. We believe you deserve compensation based on your policy terms, and we can fight for it.
What Should I Do While Considering My Legal Options?
These considerations could combat any challenges to your claim:
- Mitigate further damage. The insurer expects you to prevent further harm from befalling your property after the disaster ends. This may include boarding up windows or sealing off certain areas.
- Refrain from giving a recorded statement. Anything you share on the record could complicate your case later. Let your attorney give the claims adjuster all required information.
- Document everything. You want full and fair compensation for your losses. So, you need supporting documentation, such as photos of your property, receipts for out-of-pocket expenses, and other items.
Talk to Our Team About Your Clearwater Business Interruption Claim Today
Dolman Law Group provides consultations for business owners struggling to get the compensation they need from their insurance company following an unforeseen circumstance. These circumstances can include property damage coverage, business interruption benefits, or both. We are here to help you understand your policies, determine the problem with the insurance company, and fight for the fair coverage you deserve based on your policy's terms.
Contact us today by dialing (727) 451-6900. We understand how important your business is to you and how much you need the compensation you deserve.
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 N Belcher Rd
Clearwater, FL 33765
Phone: (727) 451-6900