Property & Casualty

Securing Your Commercial Property from Damage Risks

Your business' success is an important part of your financial support and solvency. A good business owner knows how to make money fairly. However, they also knows how to protect the assets they have. The fewer the threats to your business, the better your chances of never having to make a commercial insurance claim.

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If you take time to secure your property and assets, you lessen the chances of damage to the business. Damage usually equals cost. Asset and property security can help you avoid losses that result from damages. Your commercial property insurance can help you in instances like these.

Getting Commercial Insurance

Commercial insurance is usually not a single policy. It may contain various elements of coverage. When combined, these policies often will provide a generally comprehensive blanket of coverage. As each business is different, how they structure their policies will also differ. Prices for coverage will also differ. To get the right business insurance, you should talk to your business insurance agent.

Your agent can often tailor business insurance to help cover unique property risks. You’ll need to get coverage based on what risks face your particular operation. You might consider investing in:

  • Property Coverage: Can protect the structure of your building, including your roof, foundation and interior features. Additionally, your policy can also often protect the personal assets inside your business. This may include furniture, equipment and other possessions.
  • Renters Personal Property Coverage: If you rent your location, you may not need to protect the building. Your landlord’s policy might do that. However, you may still have to protect your owned property in the space. Renters’ insurance will usually cover business assets owned by the company.
  • Business Interruption Coverage: Following a damaging event, the business might have to close for repairs. However, they may still owe costs for items like a mortgage or worker salaries. If the business cannot profit, it may put these costs on the line. Business interruption coverage can help the company still pay the bills during repairs.
  • Cyber Liability Insurance: Businesses likely have digital property. This may include customer data, accounts receivable and other information stored on computers. Various cyber threats could strike at any time. They might cause data destruction or the theft of valuable information. Such actions could threaten the security of both the business and its clients. Cyber liability coverage could help the business fight or fix data theft or losses. It may also help the business assist clients in protecting their identity.
  • Equipment Breakdown Coverage: If you own specialty equipment, standard property insurance may not provide adequate coverage for its value. Should this equipment malfunction, it may put a dent in your operations. Equipment coverage can help you afford to make repairs to valuable items. It may also help you make up lost costs because of interruptions caused by the breakdown.
  • Flood and Earthquake Insurance: Standard property insurance may not cover weather events like floods and earthquakes. Property owners may need to get this coverage based on the risks of such occurrences in their area.

You may be able to combine some of these types of coverage into a policy known as a Business Owners Policy or BOP. Often, they include property, liability and business interruption coverage. BOPs can serve as a convenient way for businesses to get the coverage they need in one formula.

Nonetheless, a BOP may not be right for your business. The limits imposed by this policy may not fit your needs based on the qualities of your business. Talk to your agent about how a BOP can benefit you, then see if it’s the right path to take for your insurance.

Securing Your Business from Insurance Risks

Even if you have commercial property insurance, nothing beats responsibility. You want to use your policy only following unavoidable accidents. Your priority should therefore be to minimize property risks throughout your business.

Damage might arise from events like storms, fire, theft, vandalism or other items. After getting insurance specific to your business, take steps to secure the property:

  • See to your structure’s integrity. Inspect your roof, foundations and other structures on the property regularly. If you can fix small problems up-front, you may be able to reduce or prevent potential damage. If you rent the property, keep in contact with your landlord about developing damages.
  • Secure and maintain all equipment and property belonging to you. Regular maintenance and care might help prevent losses.
  •  Create emergency preparedness plans to enact in the event of a threatening situation.
  • Always maintain security for all items on the property. You should invest in personnel security, cyber security and premises security mechanisms.

With the proper care, you can increase property reliability at your business. Never forget, the lower your risks, the lower the chances of having to file a business insurance claim.

Safety Concerns in Community Common Areas

A community association is an engaging mix of personal living and socializing. A resident might own their own house or condominium. Still, they might have access to perks like clubhouses, pools and recreational facilities.

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If you own or manage a community association, you know residents have expectations. The association’s role is to serve residents in an efficient way. That means taking care of the association’s shared property. Community associations, therefore, need to carry insurance for potential hazards. These might include property and liability risks.

The Risks in a Community

It is usually the support of the residents that keeps the association functioning. However, the community also has an obligation towards its residents. Should association property sustain damage, the association may face financial hardship regarding repairs. This could impact the community’s standard of living.

The community also usually has a responsibility for resident safety in common areas. Liability insurance can help the association if its actions cause harm to others. Should property damage or injury occur, the association may bear a liability.

Insuring these Risks

An effective way to reduce risks in your community is with comprehensive insurance. You often need protection for association property, as well as liability risks.

Insuring association property is sometimes a complicated process. At times, associations can only carry insurance property that they legally own. They usually carry coverage on common buildings and dwellings owned by the association. Associations may decide to provide blanket coverage for homes owned by individual residents. However, resident-owned property likely needs its own, separate insurance.

Furthermore, associations often need to carry liability protection for common areas. There’s always the chance that residents or other parties could get hurt or see their property damaged in those areas.

Keeping Your Property Safe and Secure

Each common area in your association could sustain damage. Various hazards might impact the association. These might include fires, vandalism, theft or even weather. They could also pose risks to individual clients.

Think about the various property over which a community association has jurisdiction. Once you become familiar with your own property risks, think of ways you can improve them. Below are some of the common areas that associations may need to secure:

Community Offices and Club Houses

An office or club might contain sensitive data for the community and residents. Damage risks might endanger the business’ privacy and security.

  • Keep all sensitive office materials under lock and key. Do not release sensitive information to anyone but authorized parties.
  • Consider investing in various security mechanisms like burglar alarms and anti-theft lights.
  • Manage community data networks with care. Provide secure, password-protected access points for residents to view community information. Use virus, malware, cyber identity theft and other protective measures on community computers.
  • Monitor access to the facility at all times. Some community associations even require key-card access from residents and their guests.
  • If this part of the establishment contains gathering areas, abide by all occupancy and sanitation rules to keep residents safe.
  • Perform regular maintenance throughout the clubhouse. Pay attention to utility and electrical use. Ensure residents understand how to safely operate common-use items in the area.

Food Preparation Areas

Community food prep areas may run the risk of harm to the property itself and to resident users. Risks in this area might include injury, burn and fire risks. Food service facilities may include kitchens, dining rooms, bars and even outdoor grilling areas.

  • Monitor and maintain all appliances in the area. Repair, service and replace these items as necessary.
  • Keep a record of who plans to book and use this area. This can help you control access to sensitive equipment.
  • Provide instructions for residents to follow when using appliances. This can ensure proper operations.
  • Keep fire suppressant systems on hand at all times. Always monitor open flames and electrical conductors in the kitchen area.
  • Maintains any permits to legally serve food or operate the facility. If you plan on serving liquor in your establishments, maintain liquor licensing.

Recreational Areas

The community might offer a diversity of recreational areas. These might include pools, playgrounds, dog parks, tennis courts, gyms and other assets.

  • Ensure that residents understand the risks of using these facilities. Require residents to sign permission waivers, as needed, to use the area. Post rules around the facility for safe use, as needed.
  • Provide safety equipment as needed. For example, add life preservers around pools. Your state may require you to provide certain protective measures in recreational areas.
  • Monitor access to recreational areas by any unauthorized parties.

It is a very good idea to maintain a comprehensive manual on association procedures. This can help outline emergency and safety procedures throughout the community. If you protect the property, the better your chances of avoiding property damage or liability risks. Talk to your insurance agent about how to structure your property coverage to protect both physical property and liability risks.