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Has Your Business Been Affected By Hurricane Sandy? Understanding Your Insurance Can Help You Get Your Business Back In The Black

"For business interruption to be triggered under civil authority, there also has to be some physical damage in the area where the property is located and coverage typically lasts up to 30 days," Worters pointed out. 

If the business cannot operate due to the loss of power, there could be coverage under what is typically referred to as "off-premises service interruption." In this scenario, the business owner does not have to have damage to their facility, but the power outage must be caused by damage from a covered peril under the policy such as wind, fire, electrical breakdown, etc.

If a business has extra income coverage, the policy will reimburse the sum of money the business spends, over and above normal operating expenses, in order to avoid having to shut down during the restoration period.

Worters noted that those businesses that were not physically affected by the hurricane, but whose suppliers or customers were affected, will be protected if they have contingent business interruption insurance. "Companies today are heavily dependent on raw materials from key suppliers to make the products they sell. If the supplier suffered a loss and could not deliver the product, their contingent business interruption insurance will help."

Flooding is not covered under standard business owners policies, unless specifically added as an endorsement and usually carries its own deductible, so it is important to check with your insurer or broker.  Flood insurance is available from the federal government's National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and a few private insurance companies. From 2007 to 2011, the average commercial flood claim was over $75,000, according to the NFIP. Business Interruption coverage is not available under the NFIP.

Damage to vehicles from flooding, felled trees or other debris is covered under the optional comprehensive portion of an auto insurance policy.    

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