As a small business, you purchase insurance so you’ll have the coverage you need when you experience a loss. We’ve compiled our top 10 most common business insurance claims areas along with information about how you can protect your business.
#1. Burglary and theft
- If you don’t have an alarm system, consider installing one, even one that can be monitored on your cell phone, tablet, or personal computer.
- Make a point to double-check locks, both for your business and vehicles.
- Process established guidelines for key inventory. Who has keys, are locks changed when employees leave, are certain areas locked or prohibited by unauthorized personnel.
- Employee background checks are important and help prevent fraud in the workplace.
- Re-visit your building’s exterior, parking lots, and garages. Do you have visibility into all entry points, windows, doors, outdoor lighting, and motion sensors? Make sure to groom landscaping and other obstructions.
- Neighbors: get to know them and watch out for each other.
- If a theft does occur, be sure to take pictures and call the police.
#2. Water & Freezing Damage
- Prevent cold air from entering your building. Seal any cracks, holes, or other gaps.
- Make sure to insulate exposed pipes.
- What’s your thermostat set on? To prevent pipes from freezing, it’s best to keep the thermostat always set to at least 50 degrees.
- Regularly inspect gutters, downspouts, and drainage systems…and keep them clean.
- Perform roof inspections after the winter months. Snow & ice can cause structural damage.
- HVAC & Sprinkler systems can leak, but inspections help prevent future problems.
- Do you know where the shut-off valve is for your water supply? The ability to shut off the main water to the building during repairs can prevent flooding.
- If any items become water-damaged from flooding, record the value of the items (photos/inventory) and move them off the floors, if possible.
#3. Wind-Hail Damage
- Take some time to seal cracks and gaps to prevent wind or water from coming in.
- Don’t forget outdoor clean-up, including trimming trees and removing dead wood.
- Secure all outdoor items if possible, such as outdoor chairs, tables, etc.
- Review water flows and drainage from your property to determine if you need updates.
- Complete inspections of the roof, garage doors, and windows – and make sure these are all secure.
- Keep track of weather including drought conditions and wildfire potential.
- Identify any potential hazards.
- Clean roofs and gutters of dead leaves and debris that could catch embers.
- Flammable materials should be moved away from any exterior walls or space.
- Lawns and grass should be mowed to four inches.
- Whenever possible, use noncombustible materials such as gravel, brick, or concrete.
#5. Customer Slip & Fall
- Keep all floor areas in a clean and dry condition, and practice great housekeeping.
- If a spill happens, mark it immediately using wet floor signs and start cleaning up.
- Obstacles should be removed from walkways, clutter-free is the best policy.
- Secure items (tacking, taping, covering) if in a walkway.
- Utilize proper area rugs or mats and prevent wrinkled carpeting.
- The bottom drawers of filing cabinets should always be closed.
- Maintenance of walkways, and uneven steps/thresholds should be a priority.
- Safety footwear should be worn, when possible.
#6. Customer Injury and Damage
- Regularly inspect your property, and look for potential risks.
- Maintain tools and equipment and ensure they are operating safely and properly.
- Keep good logs (date/time stamp) for inspections, repairs, and incident investigations.
- Post warning signs for any potential hazards. For example, post a sign on a wet floor.
- If necessary, have customer waivers that include signs of warning of innate risks and alert for danger.
#7. Product Liability
- Understand manufacturing defects including failure in the manufacturing process that are unique to the product manufactured.
- Design defects are common to products of the same design and exist before manufacturing.
- Failure to warn includes products that lack foreseeable uses and misuse and failure to warn of potential harm.
- Take time on the warranty, including expressed warranty or implied warranty.
- Repair or service failures include service provided, aftermarket parts, and interaction of aftermarket or original parts and materials.
#8. Struck by Object
- Use personal protective equipment such as a hard hat, safety glasses, goggles and a face shield.
- Make sure all tools and loose materials are secured.
- Limit access to unsafe areas.
- Any items stored at heights should be secured.
- Store heavy objects close to the ground.
- Only operate machinery or equipment you are trained to use.
- Keep open sightlines and visuals.
- Display caution around corners and doorways.
#9. Reputational Harm
- Protect against data breaches by having policies and security in place.
- Be vigilant about customer mishaps, and how these might impact online reviews.
- Are employees happy? Review your people practices.
- Company values should be illustrated, values should be operational.
- Be mindful of ethical conduct.
#10. Vehicle Accidents
- Keep your distance from other vehicles.
- Employ strategic driving, like avoiding sudden breaking.
- Distractions should be minimized – avoid eating, texting, or cell phone usage.
- Don’t drive when you are sleepy or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Park in a garage if you can and away from driveways and busy intersections as well as avoiding tight spaces.
- Watch weather conditions like forecasts of rain, snow or ice, and plan accordingly.
- Always pay attention.
Business insurance claims can be prevented in many cases by taking extra care. Implement some of the tips above to help protect your business and lower your risk of experiencing a loss.
In the event that you do experience a loss and are insured by Coterie, our Claims Team is here to help! Reach out to email@example.com with any questions or concerns about business insurance claims.