Is Your Commercial Property Unoccupied during the coronavirus outbreak?

At this unprecedented time, it is highly likely that you will be leaving your business premises unoccupied for longer periods of time than you normally would.

These are exceptional circumstances.  Your insurance covers may well be adequate under normal trading circumstances, and it's easy to think you have the right covers in place. But life just got a whole lot different for everyone in the country.

With the Government making daily changes to advice on how to conduct our lives, please give consideration to how your operational changes may affect your insurance requirements.  There are potential pitfalls of leaving your property unoccupied that you need to be mindful of.

You are not alone. Many businesses are closing down premises and asking staff to work from home.  However, you could potentially be leaving your property vulnerable to many types of perils, including escape of water, theft, malicious damage, fire, and storm damage, to name a few.  All things you really could do without.

While this won’t necessarily be at the top of your mind when it comes to protecting your business, it is important that you familiarise yourself with the terms and conditions of your policy wording.  The main reason is to ensure that you can still comply with them at this unsettling time.  Although they will vary from insurer to insurer, most policies will have conditions written into the wording about the length of time you can leave your property unoccupied.  This is typically around 30 days, with a requirement to thoroughly check your premises every 7 days.

The main reason for not allowing property to normally be unoccupied for an extended time is to ensure that small problems are identified quickly and put right before they turn into major issues, to help minimise the value of any insurance claim.  If the checks are not frequent enough, then anything that happens outside this period may not be covered.  This just highlights the need to familiarise yourself with your policy wording - or speak to us.  Some insurers are being more accommodating in the circumstances. Check with us if you're unsure of where you stand.

This is not limited to just commercial premises. It also applies to residential and holiday homes too.  The latest government advice is to self-isolate at your main residence to avoid the spread.

If you need help finding the policy information referred to, or need to adjust your policy wording, please let your Account Manager know.  They will be happy to assist if you need it.