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Property Claims – Residential or Commercial, Is there a difference?

Residential property claims and Commercial property claims can share many similarities.  For instance, water, fire or storm damage can equally affect both types of property.  They may also share many of the same building materials.  When a business is shut down, business interruption insurance may kick in to help cover loss of income.  When a homeowner is displaced from their home, they may require “Additional Living Expense” (ALE) coverage to pay for extraordinary costs such as hotel and food. Another commonality, all insurance carriers want to minimize claim costs!

First things first!

How can you minimize the cost on a property claim?  First it’s minimizing the damage. Next, restore the property to functionality as quickly as possible.  For a business, minimizing damage may involve having a disaster mitigation plan in place to quickly begin minimizing damage to property and operations.  For a homeowner, this may entail shutting off the main water supply to mitigate further water damage.  In either case, minimizing damage to structure and personal or business property is the first step!

What’s next?

In most instances depending on the severity of damage, homeowners or businesses may require further assistance to restore their property.  Water and fire damage is tricky.  Finding and drying everything that is wet or cleaning and eliminating soot and smoke damage requires expertise and resources.  This means trained professionals, special equipment or specialty sub-contractors.  If a business has properly prepared for a disaster, their plan may already include a qualified restoration contractor resource.   For homeowners, knowing who to call can be an unknown.  Helpful friends or family members might pass along a suggestion.  Perhaps the insurance carrier is aligned with restoration resources to recommend.  Then again, an insurance agent or perhaps even the insurance adjuster may provide references.

The bottom line?

All restoration contractors are not created equally.  Many can perform standard water damage mitigation services in a residential setting.  However, not nearly as many can potentially mitigate thousands of square feet of commercial space effectively.

What to do?

Be prepared!  As a homeowner start with your agent.  See if he or she has knowledge of other clients experience with local restoration contractors. If you are a business, ensure you have a disaster contingency plan.  Contact your broker for references or contact contractors directly to set up interviews.  Hopefully you will never have to make a call to a restoration contractor. However, in the event of an emergency, being prepared and knowing who to call will put your mind at ease and get you on the course to recovery quickly.