Who to Choose for Your Commercial Building Insurance
When something goes wrong it’s not a good time to find out that your insurance cover isn’t right. If you own business premises and operate businesses from them you must ensure you have adequate insurance. Equally if you are a landlord with a single property or several properties and someone else operates businesses from them, you must ensure your risk is insured. This is known as commercial building insurance.
As a basic you need to insure the actual building in case something happens to it. If you have a mortgage this is likely to be a pre-condition but if you do not have a mortgage it is still recommended as otherwise you risk having to rebuild your premise yourself if something happens to it.
To insure a commercial building, you need know what activities are being carried out by the business or businesses which are using it. If you own the building and are running your own business that is a simple question to answer but for many landlords this is the biggest risk. Unless you visit regularly you don’t know that your property is no longer being used for the purpose your tenant originally told you – and what if the new activity is far more risky? This is easier if you have one building with one tenant but becomes much more complicated if you have multiple buildings, multiple tenants and a mixed portfolio of residential and commercial premises. Also you aren’t there every day to spot the broken window which needs repaired or the damp patch which is growing due to a burst pipe. This makes your commercial property insurance inherently more risky.
Your tenant has responsibilities too – but do they know this? They must make sure they tell you about the activities they are carrying out on site so that you can be adequately insured. They are also responsible for insuring their own contents and any specialist fixtures and fittings they install for their own use. As a landlord you should also consider contents and/or fixtures and fittings insurance if you have some within the building. A building owner running a business will also want to consider contents, stock and/or fixtures and fittings cover.
Whenever a business is in operation public liability insurance will be required to cover those using or visiting the building and employee liability insurance will be needed if you have employees on site.
You should also consider whether you can afford not to have an income from your building and what you would do if you or your tenants can’t use it for some reason. This could be as a result of a local disaster such as a flood or a fire or something specific to the building such as a burst pipe or failure of the boiler. As the landlord you have responsibilities – could you afford relocation costs as well as reparation costs or do you need this to be covered by your insurance? If you run your business from the site could you afford to the loose the site and your income? If not, you need to consider business interruption insurance or relocation cover.
And what about damage? Whether it is accidental or intentional it has to be repaired. If it’s not clear who is responsible, it will always end up falling to the landlord particularly if the repairs needs to be done urgently to keep the premise secure. So would you prefer to have accidental damage insurance or malicious damage cover? What if your tenant takes things from the building – do you need cover for theft by tenants?
All businesses are different – so all commercial property insurance policies should be as well. You need to ensure your policy is tailored to your needs and to make sure you get the right cover we would always recommend using a broker such as Property Insurance Centre. Don’t spend your time answering the same questions on multiple websites – call our team of experts on 0800 085 3761 and we will ask you the questions once and then do the legwork for you. Based in London and Northern Ireland, Property Insurance Centre has over 40 years’ experience working with all the leading insurers and we will ensure you get the right commercial building insurance for your business at the best price.