ARTICLE

Property Damage: What To Do If Your Property Suffers Riot Damage

As riots and protests continue across large American cities, many businesses have experienced major property damage and theft. Whatever form of damage your business takes, understanding what to do so that you can quickly fix this damage is key to your recovery process. Below are a few tips on how to mitigate further damage, ensure that you get the most out of your insurance policy, and properly fix the damage suffered so that your business does not experience long-term issues.

Block off dangerous areas

As soon as possible, block dangerous areas of the property and put signs regarding potential danger. Use cones or yellow hazard tape around areas that could be dangerous for employees and customers to enter. Your business has already experienced tremendous loss and the last thing you need is a liability lawsuit brought on by someone getting hurt on your property.

If the riot damage did affect a large area around your business, it may take a while to assess the damage and even longer to fix it. To prevent further damage to the property or merchandise, you should attempt to board up holes and clean up what debris you can. Finally, document the damage, photos are good, video is even better as it gives the viewer a frame of reference fo the damage and the overall property condition. When documenting the damage to your property make sure that there is a guide in the picture or video frame so views can see the size of the damage, a ruler, yardstick, or some other familiar item works well so views can ascertain the scope of the damage.

Contacting your real estate lawyer

Before filing an insurance claim, you should review your insurance policy and any other optional coverage you have on the property or merchandise with your attorney. Sound legal counsel can be the difference between having your claim answered and a denial. Be sure when you schedule your consultation with your attorney to have all of your materials organized. This includes a copy of your lease, insurance documents, documentation of the damage to the property, and any communication with third parties. Communication to keep would include insurance adjusters, law enforcement, witnesses and the like.

Contact your insurance company

By reviewing the policy before filing a claim, you will know how to proceed, what to expect from the process and be better prepared to assemble your insurance claim. Every insurance policy and the claim is different. Thus, reviewing your policy gives you the specific information that is vital to receiving the most out of your coverage.

Two more tips that are vital to any successful insurance claim is to make sure you document all damages that your business sustained while also receiving an outside professional opinion on the damage. Start by keeping a log of the property damage and any initial actions you took to mitigate additional harm. Furthermore, save news reports from your area and take pictures as soon as possible to document the damage. You will likely want to clean up your store as soon as possible. However, make sure that you are taking pictures of the damage before you begin. Receiving a professional opinion from a third-party is also crucial to your success. Your initial pictures and log will help your case. However, a professional opinion will be more thorough and may mean more to your insurance provider.

Once you are ready to file an insurance claim, contacting your insurance company quickly is important for a few reasons. First, most insurance policies limit your time to file a claim, which makes being quick to connect essential. Secondly, you will want to repair the damage to your business before it has a chance to get worse. Finally, the faster you can have the damages repaired, the sooner you can reopen your business and make money.

Speak with your landlord about the property damage

Open lines of communication with your landlord regarding property damage. Review your lease carefully to determine who is responsible for repair of property damage the landlord or the tenant. Some leases differentiate between you and your landlord regarding damage to the exterior of your building and who is responsible for damage to the interior fo the property as well as who is ultimately responsible for securing the property if windows or doors have been broken. In addition, speak with other tenants who may have also experienced damage.

Get quotes from professionals 

To ensure that your business will not sustain long-term property damages from the riots, it is important that the contractor you hire can be trusted and will complete the repair properly. Once you document what needs repair, you should start the bidding process as quickly as possible. However, don’t let your haste tempt you into accepting a lackluster offer. A rule of thumb is to receive at least three bids from different contractors before choosing one to work with. These offers must be off the bases of the description of the work necessary to fix the damage.

Another benefit associated with receiving at least three bids from contractors is that it lessens the risk of someone scamming you. Unfortunately, any large-scale damage can bring scammers to your area that promise quick and cheap repairs. You may be filing an insurance claim to fix the damage or paying for the repairs out of pocket. Whatever way the damage is being paid for, always research anyone who offers to repair your business. Receiving multiple bids can help you compare contractors and look for companies that have a license, insurance, and experience.

Final Thoughts

One final tip is that after you have filed your insurance claim, stay in contact with the insurance company. Doing so allows you to ensure that the process is moving along smoothly and if there are any issues, you can work to fix them and continue recovery process.

If your business has sustained damages from riots and you still have questions about how to move forward with the recovery process, Antonoplos & Associates is here to help. Our firm has attorneys with experience in a wide range of legal issues. Thus, we can help you throughout the entirety of the process.