Filing insurance claims
When disasters like hurricanes strike small businesses, many owners must quickly learn how to file insurance claims. It can be a lengthy process, depending on the amount of damage, but it's easier for owners who are well-organized before disaster strikes.
Insurers want to see proof of the damage. Although an adjuster will visit, owners must provide a detailed list and photos or video of what was damaged. They'll also need invoices and other business records that prove the value of the equipment or property.
If a company can't operate and an owner files a claim for lost income under a business interruption policy, the insurer will want to see financial records. According to the Insurance Information Institute, an industry group, companies must provide documents showing revenue, expenses, profit and loss, inventory, projected budget and any other forecasts for a company's earnings. Accountants can help owners identify the documents they need to put together, and, if the documents aren't available, how to reconstruct the information.
Owners also must get bids from contractors with the estimated cost of repairs to a building. Insurers also want estimates of how much it will cost to repair or replace equipment or furnishings.
A reminder from the insurance institute: Keep copies of all correspondence about your claim. If you speak with someone on the phone, make a record of who you spoke with and when.