Many Florida small business owners have a lot invested in their enterprises. Even when it's not mandated by contractual obligations, such as in commercial property leases, it simply makes sense to stay protected against certain risks by carrying business insurance. They say that insurance may be the only product both seller and buyer hope never to use. If a loss occurs, however, it seems logical for the business owner to file a claim and receive a compensatory payout. Under some circumstances, that may not be true.

Before deciding to file a claim, it's important to look at the language of the relevant policy. Start with what is covered and what is excluded. Specific issues to consider include deductibles that may apply to the type of loss, losses that are not covered under any circumstances and losses that may be covered contingent on some duty of the policyholder, such as regular maintenance or service.

It may seem obvious, but the larger the loss, which includes any time the business has to shut down, the more likely that filing a claim will be beneficial. A loss that exceeds the deductible by only a few thousand dollars may not be worth filing for. Other factors in the mix include the possibility of rate increases, the length of time the loss will "follow" the business' future rates and the possibility of cancellation of coverage by the insurance carrier.

An experienced insurance law attorney can assess claims related to water, fire or smoke damage. If necessary, legal counsel could suggest a prudent course of action under the circumstances.

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