Businesses have a lot of their most important assets stored on their property. Yet, no property is immune to sudden, unexpected damage. One of the most devastating of such occurrences is a fire. Smoke and flames, not to mention water used in dousing, can easily devastate a business. With the appropriate commercial insurance, you can get help in your recovery. Nevertheless, what safety steps can you take to avoid fires in the first place? That’s often the safest way to keep your business secure. Let’s delve a little more in this topic.
Your commercial insurance can help you in a variety of ways. Still, your priority should remain proper safety procedures.
Commercial Insurance Coverage for Fires
Most businesses carry commercial property insurance. In most cases, coverage will pay for property damage resulting from fires.
- Structure and possessions coverage covers your belongings and the building in your possession. It will pay to repair or replace these items following a fire.
- Liability coverage might extend to damage the fire causes to third parties. For example, if it destroys a client’s furniture that you are refinishing, you can use it to repay them.
- Interruption coverage can help you pay the bills during the time you have to close to rebuild from a fire. It might also pay for a temporary relocation of the business.
You’ll need to obtain coverage for the replacement of your assets after a total loss. That will mean keeping on top of the total value of your business.
Determining the Correct Coverage Limits
Given how devastating fires might prove, you should get coverage for the full value of the business. You’ll need to look at your ownership of the structure, and the value of your belongings.
- Many commercial insurance policies will include possessions protection. It might cover office supplies, electronics, stock and other products. You’ll likely need to estimate a value on these items in your policy. That should roughly equal your possessions coverage limit.
- Some policies will only pay a certain amount of money per item lost, on top of a certain total amount. Make sure your agent increases your coverage address these needs. In some cases, specialty items might need riders or other policy endorsements.
- Get enough structure coverage to rebuild your building following a total fire loss. However, some businesses might not need structure coverage at all. If you don’t own the building (i.e. you rent the space), your property owner’s insurance might pay for the damage.
- Even if you don’t own the building, that doesn’t mean you might not be responsible for its damage. For example, if your actions lead to a fire, you might have to pay for someone else's losses. In this case, your liability insurance might help you pay for these losses. Most policies offer significant liability coverage for cases like these.
Fire Prevention and Safety Procedures
The more you do to prevent fires, the lower your chances of having to file an insurance claim at all. Keep these safety tips in mind for easy fire prevention.
- Ensure your business receives regular fire safety inspections. Inspectors can often recommend how to make the property safer. They can also point out developing problems before they have a chance to get worse. Keep in mind, many local business codes will require regular inspections.
- Monitor your business’s electrical use. Use electricity sparingly. Place surge protectors throughout the business. They can safeguard your critical appliances. If you notice flashes, surges or flickering, it might be time to call an electrician.
- Have regular appliance maintenance. For example, you might need regular repairs to the building's HVAC system.
- Do not store flammable items incorrectly. For example, don’t store wool rugs near lit candles. Police your use of open flames. Keep flammable solvents in their proper containers.
- If you utilize flammable materials in the course of work, use them correctly. Blow torches, commercial dryers, even computers and printers might all pose fire risks. Make sure any employee who uses these items does so professionally.
- Implement a comprehensive safety plan for your business. You should place hazard signs near fire risks. For example, warn employees not to place dish cloths near the coffee pot in the break room.
- Make sure all employees know the procedures to follow in case of a fire. Everyone should know the evacuation and containment plan you have in place. Observe an annual fire drill as necessary.
- Test your sprinkler and alarm system regularly. Also keep fire extinguishers in a convenient place.
In the event of a fire, your priority should be control and safety. If you can extinguish and contain the fire, do so. However, know when to get out. Get your customers and employees to safety. Worry about your belongings later. Don’t try to run back into a burning business, in other words.
After you have the fire under control, contact your insurance provider at 888-513-8784. They’ll walk you through the process of filing a claim for the damage. Let them be your guide in collecting evidence and following the claims process.
Also Read: Is it Time to Evaluate Your Business for Security Risks?