Insurance Implications of Water-Damaged Paper Records
and How Document Restoration Services Can Help
Luke Brown, Guest Blogger
In an increasingly electronic document age, it is sometimes easy to forget about the stalwart: documents recorded on paper. Personal libraries, artwork, family pictures, wills, documents establishing trusts, corporate or government documents and other information stored on paper.
But what if there were a flood, a hurricane, a broken pipe or a fire? You guessed it. Even a fire can result in water damage to documents because of the very way that it is extinguished. After the disaster, insurance often plays a role in the clean-up and recovery of lost contents – including restoration of damaged documents.
Insurance is a contract between two parties, the insurer and the insured. In return for the payment of money by the insured – the “premium” – the insurer agrees to assume a financial risk of loss on behalf of the insured. The details of the risk insured against are outlined in the insurance policy. A loss of documents or other vital records can be measured either in terms of the total or partial destruction of the item, such as a partial obliteration due to water damage.
Valuable Papers Coverage
The amount payable by the insurer when a covered document loss occurs, called the “coverage limits” is stated in the insurance policy. The insurance coverage limits for documents can be high, especially when a special kind of insurance is involved, called “Valuable Papers Insurance”. This kind of insurance is often purchased by entities that have a great deal to lose if records are damaged or destroyed. Damaged government records, military records, business records, and even healthcare records may be covered by these types of policies.
Valuable papers insurance policies often state coverage limits in terms of “market value” or “replacement value”. The insured may dispute the amount that the insurer wants to pay, in which case a lawsuit may be filed to recover additional amounts. If that happens, the insurance company hires a lawyer to defend itself, pays his or her fees, and, if it loses the lawsuit, pays the amount that the court awards and, in some cases, the attorney’s fees and court costs of the insured.
What does all of this have to do with Document Restoration Services? A lot. Document Restoration Services’ innovative technology can often restore documents to their pre-damaged condition. The information can be retained and the files, recreated. The benefit of restoration of vital records is more than purely financial. The minimization of down-time to a business or local government is priceless. By using the innovative technology of Document Restoration Services, the customer, the insurer, and all involved save time, money, and ensure minimum disruption after a disaster.
Luke Brown, Retired Attorney, Author, Editor and Blogger. Insurance topic supervisor at Answers.com.
After practicing civil and regulatory law, mostly insurance, teaching and mediating business and personal disputes, Luke discovered that the common denominator was that the positions he held all involved furnishing explanations, insights and information in a way that was both usable and understandable by others. He has written about civil law for lay people as a freelance writer, contributed to the State Bar Association, and served as a freelance member of the editorial team and as the insurance subject-matter expert for an international publisher in the design, publication and launch of an insurance compliance product.