How many times have you noticed water-damaged ceiling tiles when you've walked into a building? Did you notice a larger stain when you returned a second or third time?
Stained ceiling tiles and walls are signs of a water leak that can cause catastrophic property damage if left unattended.
Commercial roof leaks, plumbing leaks, basement leaks, and plumbing fixture leaks are all common issues that many business and commercial property owners face when it comes to building water damage (5 Tips on What to Do After Finding a Leak in a Commercial Building).
Commercial buildings can be defined as office buildings, restaurants, schools and universities, retail strips, hotels, apartments, multi-use buildings, warehouses, hospitals, and industrial buildings. Commercial Buildings: Definition, Types, and Tips
Where there is water flowing there are leaky problems:
Water leaks can damage your ceiling and walls, cause mold growth and bad odors, and create water puddles inside your business. Repairs can be expensive, costing you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
If you have a commercial property insurance policy there are 5 steps you can take when filing a water damage claim for your commercial building.
Step 1: Mitigate the water damage without doing a total repair (Don't Destroy Your Evidence).
If you find a persistent leak or you have a hidden leak behind your walls, you need to stop the flow of water as quickly as possible. Your duties under the commercial insurance policy include taking reasonable steps to mitigate the damage or risk denial of coverage.
Some reasonable mitigation methods include:
Shutting the water valve off
Shutting the water meter off
Using dryers (rentable) to stop the mold (mold is usually excluded)
Placing a tarp over the opening in your roof where the water is leaking
If you fail to repair a persistent leak your water damage claim could be denied by the insurance company.
Step 2: Identify the type of leak and possible cause to confirm water damage coverage.
Broad form policies usuallycover the causes of loss included in the basic form, as well as damage from leaking appliances, structural collapses, falling objects, and weight of ice, sleet, or snow (Commercial Property Insurance Guide).
Common Types of Commercial Leaks:
Faucet leaks: Check your seals for drips or trickles
Toilet leaks: Check the flapper to make sure it's making a solid seal
Underground leaks: Check for wet soil. Fast-growing shrubs and grass indicate heavy water
Hidden leaks: When your water bill goes sky high and you can't find the leak, call a professional
Common Causes for Commercial Leaks:
Poor or no drainage
Damaged roof flashings
Step 3: Call your commercial property insurance agent and file your water claim.
Many insurance companies offer 24-hour automated services to help you file claims by phone or online. Your insurance company may also be able to refer a water damage/restoration company to help with mitigation and clean-up.
A water damage restoration company will dry the wet areas, and remove ceilings and walls to prevent mold. The sooner you get the water damage restoration going the better.
Step 4: Take pictures of the damaged area and any damaged property.
The more picture the better so make sure you take pictures of everything affected by the damage to help build evidence to support your claim.
Step 5: Call an experienced property insurance attorney at The Cedrick D. Forrest Law Firm.
If you own a business, you can't afford to waste money on a leak that could cause serious damage if not fixed. It's best to let your property insurance lawyer look into the coverage issues you might face. Your insurance attorney will maximize your settlement and make sure that no money is left on the table.
Residential properties can have a leaky faucet that is easily repairable while commercial buildings are burdened with significant water flow in bathrooms, kitchens, and various other processes. If you need to file a water damage insurance claim for your commercial building, fill out our form or call us toll-free today to begin your FREE policy review.
Click the link to learn more about commercial property insurance coverage Texas Department of Insurance