Protecting Your Vacant Property
Whether you deem it ‘vacant’ or ‘unoccupied’, one thing is for sure: your property has been void of any visitors for quite some time now. Many property managers describe their inhabited spaces by using the terms vacant and unoccupied interchangeably, but the truth is, there is a difference – and while it might seem like a minor difference, the effect it can have on your insurance policy can be pretty major.
The main difference between a vacant property and an unoccupied one can be answered with a simple question:
Do you intend on returning?
If the answer is “yes”, your property is considered unoccupied; a temporarily inhabited building. If the answer is “no”, then the property is considered to be vacant. But much like the glass of water that’s either half empty or half full, if left unattended, no matter how you phrase it, at the end of the day, it’s susceptible to damage.
This is especially the case with an unattended property; the longer your office is left uninhabited, the higher the risk of damage due to vandalism or water damage, significant loss due to it being a high target for burglary or theft. But worry not, we have some tips for you.
What to do when you’re away from your property:
Notifying your broker that your office will be unoccupied or vacant is the best thing you could do, and it should be at the top of your list. Not only will your broker be more than happy to share some tips and insights with you on best practices for keeping your property safe, by doing so, you could also significantly impact your coverage.
Whether it’s pricing adjustments on your policy or extending your coverage past the typical 30-day mark in order to accommodate for the time you will be away, your broker can help adjust your insurance policy to fit with your unique circumstances.
Extra steps to take:
There are other precautionary measures to take when leaving a property unattended, in order to ensure its safety and well-being.
General maintenance: Your insurance policy will also stipulate other tasks to ensure that general maintenance is taking place on your property, like locking and securing all entrances, doors, and windows and shutting off water supplies.
Check-ins: Having regular check-ins from a business partner or even friends and family members can ensure that the property is unharmed and in top shape, while also making it seem heavily regulated to deter potential criminal activity.
Alarm Maintenance: Make sure that all of your fire detection systems are up-to-date and working.
These are just a few things you can do in order to secure the safety of your property while away for more than 30 days. By speaking with your broker first and foremost, you can rest assured that you’re getting the best recommendations and advice on how to protect your investment when you won’t be around.