January 5

Protecting Your Business in Lockdown

Insurance News

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So we are back in a national lockdown. Whether you agree or disagree, its where we are and as business or property owner you still have assets that need protecting.

This could be:

  • the premises – office, warehouse, workshop etc
  • contents
  • stock
  • machinery that you own or have on have on lease
  • vehicles that you have laid up

All of these assets are still at risk even though your business may be forced to close.

They are not just at risk of theft but also:

  • Fire
  • Storm damage
  • Escape of water
  • Subsidence
  • Vandalism

Most policies automatically provide cover if the premises becomes unoccupied for upto 30 days. Once that time passes, normally a number of conditions kick in which you need to be able to comply with to ensure your policy would react should a loss occur.

The main terms that get activated when the unoccupancy goes over 30 days are:

  • Regular inspections of the property are to take place. These also need to be documented
  • All doors and windows need to be locked and secured
  • The alarm system needs to be active and maintained
  • Water tanks need to be drained down and switched off at the mains
  • All utilities need to be switched off where possible

There may be other conditions that apply which could impact in your cover but these are the main ones.

As a Business Owner what can you do to protect your assets?

Firstly you need to contact your insurance provider to let them know that your premises is unoccupied and update them on your business

In addition to complying with the policy terms and conditions you may also want to look at the following to give yo a bit more protection

  • Lock all internal doors. This can deter and restrict thieves if they do get access to the premises and delay them.
  • Secure all letter boxes and ensure mail is diverted to an address you are working from
  • Clear all waste internally and externally. Not only does this reduce the fire risk but also makes the premises look potentially occupied
  • Ensure gutters and downpipes are clear as this will reduce your risk of a flood at the premises
  • If you, personally, cant make the weekly inspections that may be required by your insurers then engage with a security or key holding company. Preferably one that can evidence that they have been to the location. A number of key holding companies have trackers and cameras on their vehicles and this can be used as evidence that the inspections have been complied with
  • Check with the local police to see if local police response levels have been reduced. If so then please advise your insurers accordingly
  • If your staff have taken kit home, then let your insurers know so that they can cover these items away from the premises

What about Property Owners?

As with the businesses you will need to comply with the policy terms and conditions and the points above may also be useful to protect your business. However you may not be close to your property, you may own a commercial unit in Newcastle and be based in Exeter. You may have the rental arranged through an agent. Are you in contact with them about the lease? Are they in contact with the tenant?

Its important that you are aware of the situation of the tenant. Are they in the property? Are they inspecting and visiting regularly? If not, have you arranged or has the letting agent arranged for this to be done? Are these inspections being documented?

What else can you do in relation to your insurance?

As we have said all along throughout this crisis its imperative that you speak to your insurance provider and update them on changes to the business or the property

  • do you have less stock?
  • have you got less office furniture?
  • have you got less staff?

These can impact on your over cost and can give you a potential saving on your annual or monthly costs

If you are struggling to understand the cover you have in place, want to review what’s in place or speak to a someone about any insurance issues then we are available on 01204 201800

About the author 

Chris Boothman

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