You never know. It could happen, and that's why you have Business Insurance, right? If it does happen, there are certain steps, you, the insured, should take. This post will hopefully be a helpful resource for you in the event of a theft or other loss. Failure to perform these duties could relieve the insurance company of its obligation to pay for a loss, so it's extremely important to take note. Below are the Insured's Duties in the event of loss or damage to property.
First things first, if the loss appears to be a result of a violation of the law, like theft, you should notify the police and file a report. You need to also notify the insurance company as soon as practical (prompt notice) and report the damage or loss. Be prepared to provide when, where, and how the loss occurred.
Next, you need to take immediate steps to protect property from further loss or damage. If you have to spend money on materials to protect the property, its important to keep track of expenses. If possible, take out your iPhone or Android and take some photos or video of the damage. Again, if possible, protecting the property from further damage should be priority.
You must furnish the insurance company (insurance adjuster) with inventories of damaged goods/property and undamaged goods/property. Be prepared to setup up a time with the adjuster, so that they can come out and do an inspection. This is where an inventory, pictures, and video of property prior to the loss can come in handy, so if you're reading this and have not had a loss, consider getting a camera out and opening up a spread sheet and conducting an inventory. You won't regret it should a loss ever occur.
Insured must file a proof of loss within sixty days of loss. This is a sworn state surrounding the facts of the loss. It might include information as to the time, place, cause of loss, value of property, and any other pertinent information. Usually the insurance company will furnish the form for the insured to complete and sign. The insurance adjuster can assist with the proof of loss form, if needed.
If you have any questions about Commercial Property Coverage, please feel free to contact me. It's always important to review your policy to ensure you understand what perils are covered and excluded. The last thing you want is to go through all of the above and find out Theft is excluded from the policy. Again, If you have questions, or need help, please let me know.
When it comes to Commercial Property Insurance, insurance companies have put exclusions in place when it comes to vacant properties. Right now we might not see a lot of vacant buildings in Austin, TX, because the economy is doing well, but when the market starts to change, it's not uncommon to see vacant buildings. How an insurance company responds to a loss or claim at a vacant structure could make or break a company, so hopefully this information will help some business owners.
The question I get at times is, what does it matter if it's vacant or not? Simply put, your property is more susceptible to losses the longer it's vacant. Studies have shown that vandalism and theft claims increase when the property is vacant. This is the primary reason insurance companies put this clause on the policy.
Insurance companies understand that businesses go out of business or move and will be vacant at times. However, there is a limit on how long they will provide coverage. In most, cases there is a 30 day or 60 day vacancy clause, which means, if the property has been vacant for more than 30 or 60 days, some causes of loss, like, vandalism and theft, might not be covered. That is why it's extremely important to read your policy to understand what kind of vacancy clause is on your policy.
If you have a property that is going to be vacant for an extended period of time due to renovations, being sold, etc., there are insurance policies that will cover the property. If you need help obtaining one of these policies or would like for me to review your policy with you, please feel free to contact me.
If it were called Business Property not Business Personal Property, I probably wouldn't even need to write this blog post. Essentially, that's what it is, though. It covers loss or damage to property owned by the insured and used in the course of business. This might be furniture and fixtures, equipment, inventory or machinery. Defining the coverage is the easiest part, explaining the coverage is where it can get confusing. Below are some tips when looking at Business Personal Property.
The first thing to look at is your coverage amount, also known as coverage limit. This limit can change, so it's extremely important to review it. Some insurance carriers know some business owners don't review it, so they put an endorsement on the policy to automatically increase the coverage. You can find you Business Personal Property (BPP) Limit on the Declarations Page of your policy. Also look at your deductible as you don't want there to be any surprises when you have to file a claim.
Secondly, It's important to look at the policy form. There are three forms, "Basic", "Broad" and "Special". "Special" form is going to offer the broadest coverage. However, as with any insurance policy, you have to look at Exclusions and Property Not Covered. An example of an exclusion that comes up a lot is Flood. Flood Insurance is a separate policy and cannot be added as an endorsement.
Lastly, you have to know if your Business Personal Property is covered at "Replacement Cost" or "Actual Cash Value". Both sound good, but one is definitely preferred over the other. Simply put, Actual Cash Value factors in depreciation and Replacement Cost does not (Replacement Cost- Depreciation= Actual Cash Value). For more details on this see this blog post.
These are just a few simple tips when looking at Business Personal Property. If you have any questions, or need help understanding your policy, please feel free to contact me.