Any fool can know. The point is to understand.
Here are general steps you should take to file a business interruption claim in California, along with some helpful information.
REVIEW YOUR POLICY
Do you have business interruption insurance? If so, do you know what it covers and what the limits are? Do you know how you’re supposed to give notice of loss?
This information should be available in your policy. Start first by reviewing the declarations page. Make sure you have a complete copy of your policy, including all endorsements in effect on the date of loss.
GIVE NOTICE OF LOSS
Give notice of the loss your insurance company. It’s important to do this as soon as possible, even if you don’t think there’s coverage for the loss. The reason that’s important is because insurance policies require you to notify them of any loss that could be covered under the policy.
Giving notice to the insurance company is also important because that requires the insurance company to investigate the loss. It’s the insurance company’s duty to do so. An insurance company must “fully and fairly” investigate the loss. A standard form letter from the insurance company, without more, is arguably not a “full and fair” investigation.
GIVE PROOF OF LOSS
Generally, this requires you to submit documentation showing the loss. Sometimes that means you have to complete paperwork affirming the truth of the loss. You should give a proof of loss as soon as possible. Problems arise, however, when you don’t have all the necessary information showing the loss (e.g. you’re unaware of the full extent of the loss, you’re unable to obtain the right documentation). Most courts recognize a “substantial compliance” standard for proofs of loss, but not all. And it’s unclear what your insurance company may do if you don’t submit a full and timely proof of loss.
EXAMINATIONS UNDER OATH
Examinations under Oath (EUO) are similar to a deposition in a civil lawsuit. You are asked questions under oath by the insurance company. Its purpose is similar to giving proof of loss. Going forward without an attorney to help you, however, is unadvisable.
You have a duty to mitigate the loss. For example, if you can try to minimize or alleviate the loss, you should. Sometimes that includes protecting property from further loss; at a minimum it means being proactive to protect against any ongoing loss.
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