Commercial property insurance is vital for businesses that have a physical location. This type of insurance can cover all kinds of commercial properties—like stores, offices, storage areas, commercial buildings, and so on—whether they are rented or owned by the business.
This guide goes into the steps for filing a commercial building insurance claim, the types of claims that can be filed under commercial property insurance, and the fundamentals of this insurance type.
Let’s get started!
What is a Commercial Property or Building Insurance Claim?
A commercial property or building insurance claim can be made whenever a covered peril strikes an insured commercial space or building. Such perils or unforeseen events can result in financial losses because of commercial property damage, loss of equipment/documents, and business interruption. Commercial property insurance can provide protection from these losses when a commercial property or building insurance claim is submitted properly.
Before we proceed, take note that this article talks about filing a commercial building insurance claim. This is not to be confused with claims for “buildings insurance,” a type of home insurance.
Types of Claims That Can Be Made Under a Commercial Property Insurance Policy
Mainly, commercial property insurance covers the following:
- The commercial building or space - in case of damage, commercial property insurance will cover repair and replacement costs.
- Office equipment, documents, inventory, and employee possessions - in the event of damage or theft, commercial property insurance will cover repair and replacement costs.
- Income protection or business interruption coverage - if the damage or theft inflicted is enough to shut down the business, commercial property insurance will reimburse lost income while repairs/replacements are being made. The same reimbursement applies if the commercial property is made inaccessible due to a covered peril (i.e. because of a landslide or flood).
To sum it up, claims can be made for damage, theft, and/or resulting business interruption. All of these count as commercial property/building insurance claims.
In our article, 5 Commercial Property Insurance Claims Examples, we presented hypothetical cases wherein commercial properties or buildings were subjected to fire, theft, landslide, earthquake, and flood—and how commercial property insurance will respond to such cases. If you would like to learn more about commercial building insurance claim examples, make sure to check out the above resource.
Tips for Filing a Commercial Property or Building Insurance Claim
1. Know Your Policy Through and Through
Filing a successful commercial building insurance claim starts with a thorough understanding of your policy. Insurance policies can have subtypes. For commercial property insurance, the main subtypes to understand are actual cash value commercial property insurance vs replacement cost commercial property insurance.
Aside from subtypes, the nuances of insurance policies (as well as how they are stated in the contract) differ based on the insurance provider. In the event of property damage or loss, a lack of policy knowledge can be problematic.
With regards to making a claim, some of the key elements to look for in your insurance contract are the following:
- What’s covered;
- Exclusions (what’s not covered);
- The coverage limit and the deductibles; and
- The information/documentation needed when making a claim.
Choose a Transparent Insurance Brokerage Company
To avoid confusion, business owners and commercial property owners need to work with a transparent insurance brokerage like KASE Insurance. At KASE Insurance, we make it a point that our policies are documented clearly and that we disclose all the details to policyholders.
Ask for A Legal Opinion on Your Policy
While still setting up insurance plans, consulting with experienced legal counsel can be helpful. Lawyers who specialize in commercial insurance coverage can provide insight into policies and point out any gaps that could complicate claims.
2. Promptly Notify Your Insurer If an Incident Happens
Many commercial policies require timely notice from the policyholder. Ultimately, it is much easier to adjust claims while the damage or loss is still fresh.
On the other hand, a delayed notification could cause the insurer and adjuster to doubt the severity and the cause of the damage or loss.
3. Protect Your Property from Further Damage or Loss
Once property damage, a break-in, or theft occur at your property or building, most insurance providers will expect due diligence in protecting your property from further damage. Not doing so may negatively impact your claim. It is also possible that secondary damage or loss (stemming from negligence after the incident) will no longer be covered.
To protect your property from further loss or damage, the details of this requirement should be outlined in your insurance policy. If it isn’t clearly stated, ask your insurance provider to clarify the terms of your contract.
Steps for Filing a Building Insurance Claim
After making sure that the necessary emergency/medical response for the incident is settled, it’s time to file a commercial property/building insurance claim.
Generally, you would need to do the following:
- These first two steps should be done promptly—as much as possible, try to do both simultaneously by working with trustworthy employees:
- Gather evidence (i.e. photos, videos, and so on) of the incident. If necessary, file a police report as well.
- Contact your insurance provider or insurance brokerage firm to report what happened. Complete any needed forms or e-forms.
- Once the incident is reported, secure your property from further damage or loss, as required by your insurance provider.
- Though the insurance company will send their insurance adjuster, you can hire a public insurance adjuster to get a third-party perspective on the claim.
- Get repair/replacement estimates. Try to get two quotes for each repair or replacement and send these to your insurer.
- Once you get approval from your insurer, get the repairs and replacements done.
- In some cases, you will need to pay for the repairs/replacements out of pocket and then be reimbursed by your insurance provider later on. In this scenario, keep all the invoices because you will be required to send these to your insurance provider. However, for repairs, some contractors may bill your insurance provider directly.
Get Hassle-Free Commercial Property Insurance That Your Business Can Rely On
Commercial insurance is known to be a highly nuanced aspect of running a business. However, the professionals at KASE Insurance are looking to change that perspective with our seamlessly designed customer experience.
KASE Insurance is an award-winning insurance brokerage firm in Ontario. We make the claims process easier for our policyholders by providing direct assistance at each step. We even have a dedicated hotline for after-hours claims. After filing a claim, our experienced team of insurance experts can also follow up on claims for you, thereby giving you more time to focus on the recovery of your business after an incident.
If you would like to learn more about our commercial insurance policies or about filing a commercial property/building insurance claim, contact our team today!