Orange County Business Income Loss Claims Attorneys
When you own a business, there is a lot to consider. You likely do everything in your power to keep your business afloat, and ensure that income remains steady or continues to grow. No matter how many hours you put into your work and how prepared you are, however, things can still go wrong. As the 2020 pandemic reminded us, businesses are at the mercy of the market, and unexpected events can easily send the market into a tailspin.
As a business owner, this can be difficult to accept. After all, your business supports your family and your lifestyle. Fortunately, there are ways to mitigate the damage that unexpected events have on your business. One of the first steps is setting up business income coverage, which can greatly protect your assets if something unexpected occurs.
What Is Business Income Insurance Coverage?
Business income insurance, or coverage, is an insurance plan that will step in to compensate you when certain events force you to shut down your business for a time. These events include instances such as:
Many businesses already have insurance that protects for damages from these things. However, most business insurance plans will not compensate you for lost profits during repairs. This means that you are vulnerable to a significant amount of loss.
Business income insurance compensates you for the income during the time you need to be shut down. For example, let’s say that your restaurant experiences a fire. Your standard business insurance will cover the repairs, but the repairs will take two weeks. During this time, you are losing around $100,000 in profits from weekly food and alcohol sales. Your insurance does not cover this, and you are simply out those profits.
Two weeks is a relatively small estimate for damage control. Some repairs and closures last for months. Few businesses can afford to miss out on profits for this long, meaning that a single tragedy could force permanent closure.
If you have business income coverage in the above example, however, you can file a claim with your business income insurance provider, and recoup some, or all, of the $100,000 that you missed out on due to fire closure.
Other Aspects Covered By Business Income Insurance
Profits are not the only part of your business that business income insurance protects. Depending on your provider and plan, your insurance may also cover:
- Mortgage or rent payments
- Tax payments
- Loan payments
You must remember that closing due to a tragedy may stop your business, but it does not stop other businesses and government programs from demanding payments. If you are unable to make these payments, you may lose your business altogether.
It is always important to read insurance policies thoroughly, or have your attorney do so, before signing. This ensures that you know what to expect if you need to make a claim.
Every insurance company and every business income insurance policy is different. Depending on your plan, you may not have the same exemptions as we list here. However, it is important to understand that most policies do have exemptions and times when the insurance company will not be obligated to pay. If you are concerned about these exemptions, additional insurance might be right for you.
Common exemptions include, but are not limited to:
- Government seizure
- Nuclear events
- Epidemics and pandemics
Many of these events either will not be covered by insurance of any kind, or require a separate policy. Flooding and earthquake damage, for example, are rarely included in standard property insurance contracts.
As you review your contract with your attorney, discuss whether the coverage is comprehensive enough for your needs. Some businesses can reasonably expect to be fine without certain coverage, while other companies would benefit from additional policies.
Determining Your Business’s Value
One of the first things you will have to do when purchasing a business income insurance policy is to determine the value of your business. Luckily, there is a fairly straightforward list of what to use to calculate this sum.
When you are determining your business’s value, follow these steps in this order:
- Determine your revenue
- Subtract any expenses or deductions you may have
- Calculate and subtract taxes
The sum you end with is considered your business’s income. Be sure to note whether you have calculated the income based on monthly, quarterly, or yearly revenue. Any denominator is fine, and will be used to calculate both your coverage needed, and your premium for business income insurance.
Filing a Claim
If the time comes for you to file a claim, you will need certain documentation to properly do so. This means that it is in your best interest to ensure that you have multiple copies of these documents, preferably an electronic copy that you can access from multiple locations.
The documents you need include:
- Sales records
- Tax records
- Payroll history
- Rent/mortgage payment history
- Profit and loss statements
Remember, in the event of a fire or other damaging situation, physical documents can get destroyed. The irony is that those same destroyed documents can help you to recover from the tragedy. Overall, it is best to keep electronic copies to make sure you always have them when you need them.
Evasive Insurance Companies
Unfortunately, it is often easier to set up your business income insurance than it is to file a claim. In many scenarios, insurance companies will do everything in their power to avoid making costly payments to their clients. This means using underhanded methods that get you to admit fault, waive your rights, or accept less settlement than you deserve.
This likely feels counterintuitive, as insurance companies are meant to help people, but you must keep in mind that insurance companies are businesses too. Profits and budgets are their bottom line, and they often exploit their clients to maintain that bottom line.
The Role of Your Orange County Attorney
One of the most beneficial actions you can take to secure your business is hiring a business income loss claims attorney. Though insurance should be a reliable purchase in itself, as we mentioned, many insurance companies will do their best to avoid paying. When tragedy strikes, the last thing you will want to do is argue with your insurance provider. Furthermore, you will have bills and expenses to cover until you receive your settlement, meaning that time is of the essence.
By hiring an Orange County business income loss claims attorney, you help to ensure that the process progresses in a timely manner, and that you receive what is owed to you. Insurance companies rely on the fact that policyholders do not read the fine print, and do not know how to fight their denials if they refuse to pay. When you hire an attorney, you make sure that you have essential defense against claim denials and delays from your insurance.
As your Orange County business income loss claims attorney, we will help you to look through your policy and determine what should be covered. We will give you guidance on the paperwork that is necessary for the claim, and help you to assemble what you need. We will then act as the intermediary between you and your insurance. Insurance representatives have many tactics for getting clients to inadvertently admit fault. Because we have gone through this process before, we know what to look for and ensure that no such tactics are successful.
Filing a Denial Lawsuit
As your Orange County business attorney, we will help you to negotiate with the insurance company to help you get what you are owed. However, in some situations, insurance companies will not be bothered to do the right thing. They may keep denying your requests for payment, or otherwise try to claim that your policy is not what you think it is.
This is when we will file a lawsuit against your insurance company. Though negotiations are faster and preferred, litigation is an option if the insurance company will not cooperate. At this stage, it is absolutely necessary to have an attorney on your side. The insurance company likely has several attorneys on retainer to defend them, and they will undoubtedly win the case if you do not have representation.
With us on your side, we can transition seamlessly from our above services into litigation. We will already know everything about your case, your claims, and how the insurance company has behaved. Because we will have interacted with your insurance directly, we can provide solid, irrefutable evidence to support your argument. There will already be a foundation for a working relationship, making our litigation argument even stronger.
Contact Winthrop Law Group
Here at Winthrop Law Group P.C, we have been supporting the businesses in our community for years. We were founded on a passion for small business defense, and carry that passion to this day. We believe in protecting businesses of all kinds from predatory insurance company behavior, and ensuring that each business owner feels supported in the event of a disaster or emergency.
We are ready to serve you and your small business. To schedule a consultation or ask us a question, contact us online today.