Entrepreneurs like you pour their hearts into their business and will do almost anything to turn it into a success. However, if you’re a small business owner working to grow your business, you should make sure to have proper small business insurance to keep you and your business protected from unfortunate occurrences that may not even be your fault.
An analysis of small business claims suggests that within a 10-year period, 40% of small businesses submit some kind of insurance claim. That means nearly half of business owners will experience some kind of event or accident that will require them to have general liability insurance, if not a more substantial policy for commercial insurance claims. For small business owners, it’s often best to play it safe by making sure you’re covered.
5 Common Commercial Claims
It usually helps to be familiar with the most common business insurance claims because the chances are good you’ll have to deal with one of these issues at some point.
1. Burglary and Theft
No matter what kind of business you run, you may be at risk of burglary or theft from a petty criminal, an angry customer, or even a disgruntled employee. Out of all business insurance claims examples, burglary is the most common. Roughly 20% of commercial insurance claims are related to theft.
Small business owners tend to underestimate the likelihood of a fire. They also don’t recognize how much time and money it takes to get their business cleaned up and running again after a fire. Fires are capable of causing a substantial amount of property damage in a short period of time, potentially devastating a small business that doesn’t have insurance coverage.
3. Weather Damage
Anything from wind and hail to snow and ice to cold weather freezing pipes can create problems for a business. If there’s a weather-related natural disaster, it can shut down a business for an extended period of time. There is also data to suggest that over 25% of businesses that close because of a natural disaster never re-open, in part because they don’t have an insurance provider that can help cover the loss.
4. Customer Injury
If a customer slips and falls while on your business property, you may be vulnerable to a lawsuit. If members of the public frequently visit your business, you may want to consider getting coverage. This will allow you to submit an accident insurance claim in the event that someone gets hurt on your property.
5. Struck by Object
Believe it or not, people can get struck by random objects, and it can lead to trouble if you don’t have proper business insurance. In one of the more unusual business insurance claims stories, a British travel agency had policies to safeguard against people getting hit by falling coconuts while on vacation. It’s a crazy world, and you never know what could happen.
The Claims Process
In the event your business is affected by one of these issues, the business insurance claims process is usually straightforward. The first thing you’ll want to do is contact your insurance provider. They should be informed of the situation as soon as possible. You will want to tell them about anything that was damaged or share every detail of the complaint made by a customer. Some insurance companies will require you to call to report a claim, while others (like Next Insurance) will enable you to make a claim online.
When you make a liability insurance claim, your insurer will investigate the claim to confirm what happened. Your broker will then look over your policy to see what may be covered and what may not be covered. Your insurer may also recommend contractors who can help you make any necessary repairs. Once the investigation is complete and your policy has been closely examined, your claims adjustor will let you know when you can expect your public liability insurance claim to be paid out.
What to Do If Your Claim Is Denied?
Unfortunately, there are times when the commercial insurance claims process is not so simple. It’s possible for your claim to be denied for a number of reasons. For instance, if the insurance company suspects fraud, if your policy doesn’t cover the claim, or even if you didn’t file the claim quick enough, your claim could be rejected. However, there are ways to deal with this before having to take your small business claims to court.
If you have a claim denied, you can write a response letter to your insurance provider that explains why you believe they were wrong to deny the claim. To do this, it’s important to keep accurate records of anything relevant both before and after the incident. If you need a little extra help, don’t be afraid to contact a state insurance regulator to guide you through the process. Also, it never hurts to keep following up with an insurance company about a pending claim or to get a clear explanation for why the claim was denied.
Most of the time, you’ll want to avoid a going to small business claims court over a dispute with an insurance company. Hiring a lawyer will only add to your costs. Also, there will be no assurance you’ll win the case. Consider trying to work out a deal with the insurance company, even if you have to bring in a state insurance regulator. For a small business, going to court should almost always be a last resort.