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Steps to Take After a Fire at Your Florida Commercial Property

Category: Fire Restoration • June 9, 2021

fire damage restoration

Steps to Take After a Fire at Your Florida Commercial Property

Experiencing a fire at your Florida commercial property can be devastating. Even if the fire is a small one, it can disrupt business and cause emotional turmoil. Of course, your first step is to call the fire department and make sure the fire is out. This blog post is concerned with what happens after that.

The way to avoid as much business disruption and stress as possible after a fire at your Florida commercial property is to take the following steps, in the order they appear:

  1. Do Whatever it Takes to Prevent Further Damage–One very important statement in your Florida commercial property insurance policy concerns preventing further damage when you experience any type of loss. All policyholders are required to take mitigation steps to protect any remaining contents or structure after a fire has been extinguished. If the policyholder fails to mitigate the loss to undamaged property, then the carrier can deny coverage for the additional damage. While each loss is different, tarping roof holes, turning off water mains in cold weather conditions, and adding security fencing around the damaged building are just a few examples of the types of loss mitigation that the carrier expects to see upon their arrival.
  2. Call a Fire Restoration Expert–You may have been told that the first phone call you should make after experiencing a fire at your commercial property is your insurance company, but J&J ERS would like to suggest that you call us first instead. Why? Because we can help you with your commercial property insurance claim by looking over it, deciding what coverage you actually have, and making sure the proper cautionary steps are being taken before your insurance adjuster arrives on the scene. This could make the difference between your claim being approved or denied.
  3. Notify Your Insurance Company–All commercial property insurance policies require that the policyholder notify the insurance company from which the policy was purchased within a reasonable time after the damage-inducing incident occurred. Policyholders should be ready to provide their insurance company with the date and time that the fire occurred, a copy of the fire report if it has been completed and any other preliminary details they may have regarding the extent of damage and required repairs. BUT REMEMBER, your insurance company is not your friend. They are in the business of making money and will do what is necessary to pay as little as possible out in claim money. So you do not need to sign any binding settlement agreements or repair cost estimates at this point. You are only required to notify your insurance company that damage has been sustained.
  4. Get and Stay Organized–Create a binder to hold copies of your full insurance policy as well as all estimates, written communications, receipts, claim-related notes, and backup documentation. An adequate organization system will help you prove your fire claim and to meet all of the required policy conditions. Being properly organized is the number one tool we use when presenting a claim. There is a world of difference between meeting the insurance company’s representative with an organized binder of claims presentation materials and just handing them a messy box of crumpled papers. It is always the policyholder’s responsibility to prove their claim but unless these documents are presented in an organized and supportable manner, they will have very little chance of recovering a full settlement.
  5. Understand the Uniqueness of Fires–Fires are unique in a number of ways but smoke damage and water damage are often the biggest challenges. The insurance company’s representatives may fail to look for deterioration beyond what they see on the surface. However, smoke from the fire and water used to extinguish the flames can often seep behind walls, under flooring, and above the ceiling. This undetected damage can later lead to weakened building materials and hazardous mold growth. Damage caused by smoke and water is sometimes worse than that caused by the actual fire because it can be hidden or found in another part of the building. Missed smoke or water damage sustained in December may become a huge problem the following June when rising temperatures and humidity cause the smoke and water to heat up and spread. This is one of the main reasons you need to have J&J ERS on speed dial. Our experts are able to find and repair damages you or the insurance company may not see or foresee.

By following the above steps if you experience a fire at your Florida commercial property you significantly decrease stress and better help assure a proper insurance settlement. If you would like J&J ERS to assist you in being proactive, one of our experts will be happy to go over your Florida commercial property insurance policy with you so that if/when disaster strikes, you will be ready.

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