Small businesses have been hit hard in 2020. Some have suffered financially in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and more recently, others have experienced property damage or looting in isolated incidents from the recent protests. If your business was unfortunately among the latter, there are a few steps you can take toward rebuilding. We've put together answers to some of the most common questions you may have concerning insurance coverage on property damage, inventory loss, and rebuilding fees at a time of civil unrest.
Will my business insurance cover property damage?
The answer to this question depends on the type of insurance you purchased. The most common types of insurance policies that small businesses owners tend to have is general liability, property insurance, and workers' compensation insurance (if the business has employees). The damages from rioting are likely to be covered by most property insurance policies, as riots are part of the named perils in many policies. In order to understand what your policy covers, contact your insurance provider.
Will insurance cover my inventory losses?
Generally speaking, insurance will cover not only property damage but also any harm to the contents inside of the property when the cause is civil unrest, riots, or anything similar. Your policy may also cover loss of income if it results from physical damage to the premises that have prevented the business from re-opening right away. Your insurance provider will be able to explain what is included in your policy.
If I didn't previously have insurance, what insurance policies should I invest in now?
Even if insurance is not required for your business, it can be a sound investment. General liability insurance and property insurance can cover damage, loss, or theft of property and merchandise, while workers' compensation can help to protect you if an employee is injured on the job. If you have questions about other scenarios that may apply to your business, it may be helpful to talk to a lawyer.
What should I do now?
Typically, after you contact your insurance provider to report damage, an assessor will be assigned to verify the nature of your claim and determine the extent of coverage. If the damage was severe and you have not yet had it assessed, you might consider boarding up your business to prevent further losses. If your business was looted, you will likely need to make a list of inventory. You may also consider filing a police report for additional documentation.
After your insurance claim is filed, you can start thinking of rebuilding. With Rocket Lawyer, you can make free legal documents such as a Construction Contract or a Repair Contract to help you start the process of physically restoring your business.
This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.