As Tropical Storm Eta passed through South Florida, many home and business owners sustained property damage from flooding and roof leaks that left them with interior damages to their property. Do you know if your insurance policy covers property damage?
My friend owns a business and leases a large warehouse with office space and a showroom in Boca Raton, FL. He called me in a panic that the showroom and office were flooded and expensive gym equipment was sitting in water. When I arrived, it was worse than what he explained. Wet ceiling tiles had fallen on all the machines and the ceiling tiles, walls and wood flooring were damaged. I quickly began photographing all the damage before the clean up began.
As he was searching for his insurance policy, I began reviewing his lease, and although he is a tenant, he is responsible for all damages to the interior of the building. The landlord is only responsible for the roof and exterior of the building.
The showroom houses expensive gym equipment that has to be stored in air conditioned climate controlled space until delivered and set up in his client’s gym’s. Essentially, he is the go between from the manufacturer delivering the equipment to him and then he delivers the equipment and sets up his client’s gyms. The equipment was scheduled to be installed within a week or so once the buildout of his customer's space was completed.
He handed me his policy and as I read “Commercial Property – No Coverage” I thought this must be a mistake. I then realized it was a general liability policy which would protect him while working in his business or in his client’s business only. I thought he handed me the wrong policy, but it was the only policy he had. I wasn’t sure how I was going to break the news to him that he wasn’t covered and when I did I thought he was going to explode!
When his agent researched insurance for his business, he never asked to see his lease and therefore never knew that my friend as the tenant, was solely responsible for property damage inside the building. An insurance agent should ask you questions and review any documentation to help secure the right insurance policies for your home or business.
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