How to File a Commercial Property Damage Claim in Florida

By |2023-12-04T13:35:20-05:00December 4th, 2023|Categories: Water Damage Law|Tags: , , , |

Knowing how to properly file a commercial property damage claim in Florida is very important if you want to avoid being exploited by your insurance provider. Whether your business has suffered a fire, flood, storm, natural disaster or other accident, the case is the same: the insurance company wants to minimize its expenses.

Our Florida commercial property damage attorneys welcome to you contact us today if you have a high-value claim. We have experience helping offices, condominiums, hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, medical facilities, industrial facilities and more.

How You Should File a Commercial Property Damage Insurance Claim in Florida:

How It Works

Commercial property damage claims in Florida work in a similar way to residential property damage claims.

You must file a claim with your insurance company, with evidence to prevent them from undervaluing or denying your claim. Commercial property claims are also often of a higher value than residential claims, which puts even more pressure on insurers to minimize their expenses.

How Long Do I Have to File a Commercial Property Damage Claim in Florida?

Since 2022’s Senate Bill 2-A, commercial property damage claims in Florida include the following deadlines:

  • Up to 1 year after the event to file a new or reopened claim.
  • Up to 18 months after the event to file a supplemental claim.

Insurance companies are also subject to deadlines:

  • 60 days to pay or deny a claim after it was received.
  • 8 days to begin an investigation.
  • 30 days to conduct a physical inspection of the property.

Read Related: Property Damage Claims Under the New FL Laws

What Does Commercial Property Damage Cover?

Review Your Policy

To understand the specifics of your commercial property damage coverage, we urge you to review your policy documents as they can vary widely.

Some commercial property damage policies may have coverage add-ons for areas such as law and ordinance (which cover expenses relating to compliance with building codes); or, you may have lower limits for some areas of damage than others.

Generally, you can expect coverage for:

  • Costs to repair or rebuild your commercial property.
  • Costs to repair or replace damaged property such as furniture, cash registered, machinery and appliances.
  • Costs to cover the loss of perishable and non-perishable inventory.
  • Costs due to a loss of income, such as expenses for operating and payroll.
  • Costs to increase security or staffing as a result of the event.
  • Building inspection costs to identify future risks.

Flood Exclusion

In Florida, property damage insurance policies require you to buy an additional add-on for flood damage. This can come as a shock to many business owners, so we urge you to review your policy.

  • Water damage: Caused by internal disasters, such as plumbing and burst pipes.
  • Flood damage: Caused by acts of nature, such as hurricanes and flooding oceans or rivers.

Read Related: Water vs. Flood Damage

Who Is Responsible for Repairs?

Standard commercial leases in Florida don’t require landlords to perform maintenance as default. If your lease is like that, then you as a tenant will be required to cover repair and maintenance costs.

In either case, repairs should be made to mitigate further damage until full repairs can be made. If not, the insurance company may deny your claim.

Tips for Filing a Commercial Property Damage Claim in Florida

Use a Property Damage Lawyer

Commercial property damage in Florida can be devastating to your business, potentially leaving it to shut down for months – losing you income and business value. You won’t want to get manipulated by an insurance company into delays, denials or undervaluations.

If you experience any difficulties with your insurance provider in a high-value case, please contact our Florida commercial property damage lawyers. We will cut through their games and ensure you get the settlement you require.

Mitigate Further Damage

Make sure that all doors and windows are locked and boarded up, as safe to do so. This will prevent you from being held accountable for any further damage. In some cases, this may require an external contractor to come in and make quick repairs to roofs.

Save Evidence

As with all insurance claims, evidence is everything. You will need to:

  • Photograph your property, focusing on areas of damage.
  • Photograph signs of flooding, or holes where water has entered (such as through the roof or broken windows).
  • Photograph personal items, machinery and appliances.
  • Collect receipts and documents that can be used to show the value of inventory, items and appliances.

Document All Expenses

Make sure you safely store all expenses you’ll have to pay related to the property damage; such as repairs, transport and materials. This evidence will be critical in proving the true settlement fee you require.

Keep Records and Quotes of Insurance Communication

Keep a record of all insurance company communications, whether it’s a promise or a quote. Ideally, you should ask for the name of every insurer representative who calls you and record the times and dates of the call. Keep all letters and emails stored safely too.

Call Our Pinellas County Commercial Property Damage Claim Lawyers Today

If you’re filing a high-value commercial property damage claim in Florida, our property damage lawyer team can help.

Free Consultations!

Jonathon Douglas leads the property damage attorney team nationally ranked by US News and World Reports as a Tier 1 Law Firm, Battaglia Ross Dicus & McQuaid, P.A.

Having previously represented some of the largest insurance companies in the State of Florida, Mr. Douglas uses his inside knowledge and experience to help navigate hurricane insurance disputes.