Businesses can be prime vandalism targets. However, the temptation to vandalize does not require a major news event; it only takes one mischievous teenager to cause significant damage.
Our Fort Lauderdale insurance claim law firm has seen a number of businesses fail to recover losses from these incidents simply because of a vandalism exclusion in their property insurance policies. Before you agree to these and other exclusions, we recommend that you think long and hard — and err on the side of caution.
Florida Law Permits Many Exclusions in Property Insurance Policies
Any number of things can damage business property and a single insurance policy typically does not cover every eventuality. For instance, you already know that you need a separate flood insurance policy. However, business owners can easily spend more money recovering after an event than they save in premiums based on the exclusions included in their policies.
If you choose to exclude certain coverage because of the cost, then be sure to “self-insure” by keeping enough money in reserve just in case the unthinkable happens.
The Insurance Rates and Contracts section of the Florida Statutes provides that vandalism is one of a long list of allowable exclusions. In fact, even policies that cover vandalism may not include anything but the primary building. Your policy can expose your business personal property to exclusion if you are not vigilant in insisting upon coverage for such items.
Business Owners Should Carefully Consider Their Property Insurance Needs
Many business owners operate on narrow profit margins and they do not want to pay for something they think they will never use. Take the time and make a real effort to weigh risks like the following before agreeing to any exclusion:
• Types of perils: Before excluding vandalism, consider how tempting your business is to vandals. Is your business an attractive target? Is your office on the first floor? Or off the beaten path? Or filled with technology?
• Your specific business risks: Also keep in mind that theft is considered to be a separate (and excludable) risk from vandalism. That said, vandalism is the first step in theft. So, if thieves need to break into the large picture window of your electronics store, make sure that neither vandalism nor theft is excluded from your insurance coverage.
• Full loss potential: Your policy may reimburse for window repairs and stolen property, but how long does it take to resume daily operations after such a loss? Separate business interruption insurance coverage is essential for many businesses.
Even if you carefully weigh the pros and cons of all insurance coverage, you can face unexpected claim denials at any time. Before automatically assuming you have no rights to compensation, it costs nothing to seek advice from an experienced property insurance claims attorney. Call us at (954) 767-6333 or use our convenient online contact form to learn your rights.