Businesses small or large that operate from a commercial property are at risk for water damage. The physical property features innumerable mechanisms that can malfunction. Mother nature plays her part, too, and unleashes pounding rainstorms or devastating floods. Fortunately, business owners can expect a level of assistance from their insurance company.
What are Common Types of Water Damage?
Commercial properties installed with bathroom facilities and HVAC systems are at risk for water damage. Toilets and sinks can leak, resulting in major water damage. The threat of water damage is a possibility with HVACs. Burst pipes and faulty plumbing are also common causes of water damage.
Aside from man-made disasters, natural catastrophes may strike. Hurricanes are notorious for submerging coastal businesses in several feet of water. Nearby river banks may flood, causing contaminated floodwaters to seep into the property. Heavy rainstorms can also be a source of water damage.
What Types of Water Damage do Commercial Property Insurance Policies Cover?
Fortunately, commercial property insurance may cover water damage. The extent of coverage, if at all, depends on the type of policy. Many insurance companies will cover the damages if the water damage was not preventable, like unforeseen burst pipes that damage the ceiling below.
Noticeable maintenance problems that go unresolved will likely not be covered. A toilet that continually overflows is a clear problem for business owners. Failing to repair the toilet will eventually result in significant water damage. In such preventable cases, the insurance will not provide coverage.
What is the Difference Between Flood Damage and Water Damage?
Commercial property owners should understand the important difference between flood damage and water damage, as the two are dissimilar when it comes to insurance coverage. Flood damage is rarely covered by a standard commercial insurance policy; water damage, to an extent, is covered.
Flood damage is evident when the water source is caused by a natural calamity and affects two or more properties. A rainstorm that unleashes water into at least two neighboring businesses is an example of flooding. Insurance companies recognize such natural disasters as floods.
Water damage mainly affects a single property, and occurs before water hits the ground. Examples of water damage are hailstorms that break the window and allow rainwater to damage the surrounding flooring. Insurance companies will cover water damage that cannot be prevented.
Business owners will have to consider purchasing a separate flood insurance policy to cover flooding, especially if the commercial property is at a high-risk for flooding. Flood insurance policies take effect after a 30-day wait period, so the sooner the policy is purchased, the better it is for at-risk businesses.
What Happens After Making a Water Damage Claim?
Provided the business owner has reviewed his policy thoroughly, notifying the insurance company of the water damage is the first step. Ideally, the property owner will submit to the insurer a claims package consisting of physical evidence of the water damage, such as photos, videos, and purchase receipts.
A claims adjustor works on behalf of the insurance company. Hiring an independent public claims adjustor, however, ensures claims are submitted correctly and property owners are not held liable for unjust repair costs. Public adjustors consider local, state, and federal laws and issues of policy coverage.
The business owner will reach out to a public claims adjustor before repairs are made to the property. The public claims adjustor will help the property owner and insurance company understand underlying issues relevant to the water damage, such as mold growth and structural deficiencies.
The adjustor should utilize mapping technology, like thermal imaging, to accurately pinpoint the extent of water damage. If the insurance company fails to perform this critical step, a public claims adjustor can handle the task efficiently and work to achieve fairness for the property owner.
A water damaged property will likely have to undergo repairs, such as tearing out and replacing damaged portions of the building or to gain access to plumbing behind walls. Most commercial property policies will cover the cost of removing and replacing the damaged part of the building.
Replacing appliances or systems that have been damaged by water are unlikely to be covered by commercial property insurance policies. Fire sprinkler systems, however, are likely to be covered. For example, insurance will cover a defective sprinkler head and the water damage it causes.
Upon reviewing the claim, the insurer will either settle or deny the claim. Reasons an insurer will deny a claim include 1) unrepaired leak, 2) preventable maintenance issue, 3) failure to have NFIP coverage (for flood insurance claim) or 4) failure to heat the building, resulting in a burst pipe.
If the coverage is underpaid or outrightly denied, the property owner has options. Property owners should obtain at least three estimates to determine the true cost of repairing the water damage. If the original claim can be validly reopened, a public claims adjuster can provide a second opinion.
Restoring Commercial Buildings from Water Damage
When your business is faced with a commercial water damage crisis, immediately contact Texas’ most reputed water damage restoration contractor, Target Restoration. Our experienced technicians are positioned to extract all excess water from the premises and thoroughly dry the property, returning it to its pre-disaster condition.
Whether the water is highly intrusive or limited to a small space, Target Restoration professionals contain the water damage so that it has little chance to spread. All building structures receive a complete drying and dehumidification treatment. Anti-microbials are applied to wipe out water-borne bacteria. Mold growth is removed and prevented from reappearing. Our comprehensive water damage restoration services also include working with the customer’s insurance company to file claims.
Target Restoration is available 24/7 at (877) 741-9026 to respond to water damage emergencies. Business owners in the state of Texas rely on the speed and professionalism provided by the highly trained and qualified team of water damage restoration contractors at Target Restoration.