Business Damage Claims – Making Temporary Repairs

Hurricanes Irma and Maria caused damage to many businesses across Puerto Rico. If your business or commercial property was affected by the storms, it is very important that you file a damage claim with your insurance provider as soon as possible. Even if the deadline for filing a claim seems far away, you need to file sooner than later so you can get the compensation you need to make repairs or rebuild and open for your customers.

Insurance Policies May Require That You Make Temporary Repairs

Your insurance policy is actually a contract between you and your provider. Both involved parties must abide by the terms and conditions of the contract for it to be valid. Most policies require the policyholder to take steps to prevent more damage from occurring.

As soon as you are able to assess the damage, do so, and determine what damage can lead to more damage occurring. If you fail to take steps to prevent further damage it could result in your claim or a portion of your claim being denied.

Before you begin any type of temporary repairs, explain the damage to your insurance provider and explain how you will be making the repairs. Document the damage thoroughly before starting with a written list and also by taking before and after pictures and videos.

Examples of typical temporary repairs include boarding up broken doors and windows, tarping a damaged roof, and reinforcing damaged walls. Other repairs include removing flood damaged materials and items and disposing of items or materials that are toxic or hazardous.

If you hire a contractor to make the repairs, make sure they are licensed and insured. Before they start, get a written estimate of the repairs for your records and to submit to the insurance for your claims. Read any contract between you and your contractor thoroughly, making sure you understand the fine print, including what happens if the contract is broken by either party.

Beware of the solicitations of traveling repairmen. Often, after a disaster, nefarious individuals will swarm, actively searching for vulnerable home and business owners to take advantage of. Some of these repairmen travel from disaster site to disaster site, offering to make repairs quickly and cheaply. Instead of risking their help, choose a local contractor who already has a good reputation.

As the repairs are being made, document the progress in writing and with photographs for your claims journal. This documentation is proof of the steps you’ve taken to mitigate further damage. Keep all receipts, invoices, statements, and pictures in your journal and submit copies to your insurance provider as part of your damage claim.

Never pay for the work before it is completed. If your contractor wants milestone payments, get in writing what is to be completed before each payment is issued. If you are not satisfied with any aspect of the work, don’t issue payment.

Filing an insurance claim and making temporary repairs can be difficult and frustrating. When an insurance provider makes a bad situation worse by unfairly denying and delaying claims, or undervaluing a claim so that you don’t have enough to complete repairs, know that you have options. You have a right to be treated and paid fairly for your damage claims and we are aggressive defenders of those rights. If you have trouble during the claims process, contact our insurance attorneys. We can help you file damage claims, gather proof of loss documentation, negotiate a fair settlement, and ensure that you receive the compensation you are entitled to.

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