Last Christmas, California experienced a wave of “smash-and-grab” crimes, with thieves making off with expensive goods in brazen nighttime raids. One instance in Los Angeles found at least 18 people breaking into Nordstrom Department Store and stealing thousands of dollars worth of merchandise.
For these and similar cases, businesses have no choice but to recover lost products and address property damage so they can get back on their feet. This is where the importance of insurance becomes even more apparent. With the help of an experienced lawyer, you can make the most out of your property damage claims.
Property Damage and Insurance
Property damage refers to physical damage to tangible property, such as chemical leaks on commercial real estate and car damage due to a collision. Whoever owns the property can file a claim against the person or organization liable for the damage—as long as it’s covered by your insurance, of course.
Most business insurance policies include the following:
- General Liability Insurance – It covers third-party damage claims.
- Business Auto Policies – It covers third-party damage claims on business vehicles.
- Flood Insurance – It covers roof, plumbing, and equipment damage that leads to flooding within the property.
- Commercial Property Insurance – It covers property damage due to unexpected events like theft and fire.
When getting or updating an insurance policy, it’s best to take the time to consider all possible financial losses. Evaluate the risks and costs carefully, then weigh them against the insurance premium you plan to get. Remember that your insurance coverage will help you recover faster from incidents that may endanger your property and employees as well as affect your profitability.
Why Claims Get Denied
Denied claims are common in the insurance industry, and the reasons for denial don’t necessarily necessitate bad faith insurance litigation. Some of these reasons are:
Your coverage must be enough to pay for the damage to make the claims valid. If the property has insufficient coverage, you can only claim its average worth. On a related note, if you’re eyeing property expansion, coordinate with your insurance company for possible policy revisions.
Failure to Comply
Failure to comply with policy terms and conditions can jeopardize your claim. For example, you stated that you have an alarm system to protect against theft, but you failed to turn it on, which led to a robbery or vandalism. The insurance company can then deny your claim.
What Actions to Take
If your property damage claim is denied, here are some actions you can take.
Prepare a Response
Consult a legal professional, and ask them to review the claim denial letter. After learning why your claim was denied, you can get a lawyer to assist with filing an appeal. They can help you prepare a response with compelling arguments and evidence.
File a Civil Action
If you feel that the denial is in bad faith and you’re positive that your case falls within the policy, you can file a bad faith insurance lawsuit against the insurance company. You can also file a tort claim and be eligible for punitive damages.
Hire Skilled and Experienced Lawyers in Los Angeles
Haffner Law provides legal advice and representation to help you with your property damage claim. Call 213-514-5681 to schedule a free consultation about your case today.