From space heaters in offices to deep fryers in commercial kitchens, fire hazards are placed throughout all types of commercial buildings and, under the right conditions, can turn into a raging inferno within minutes. Fires can start from simple accidents, lightning, or other weather/climate-related events like the devastating wildfires that recently ravaged Northern California.
No matter how they start, if you’re a property owner or renter, you could be held liable for damage unless you’re properly insured. We’ve been keeping up with the latest news from the recent wildfire damage to provide property and business owners with the right tools to protect their assets if fire damage occurs. Catch up on 3 Facts About Commercial Building Fires for more information about how to prevent fires and protect your space. Listed below is information about insurance coverage and some of the damages that you may be held responsible for.
Fire Legal Liability: Damage To Commercial Leases
If you’re a business owner and a fire happens in the building you’re leasing because of an accident caused by you or your employees, the landlord will demand that you pay for the damages. In this case, when the insured party is directly at fault, insurance will step in to cover damages. Sometimes, the landlord will still demand you to pay for damages that occur from natural disasters or otherwise, even if the damage is not directly your fault.
Usually, fire legal liability insurers only cover damage that was directly caused by the business owner or an employee, which is why it’s wise to obtain additional coverage for natural events like lightning and wildfires. To protect against all fire damage, you can request a legal liability coverage form from your insurance provider, which will give you additional coverage for any type of damage sustained by the commercial property while you are a tenant.
Additionally, Commercial General Liability Insurance protects small-business owners from claims of injury, property damage, and negligence as it relates to their business activities. Whether you own or rent, the property insurance portion of general liability insurance covers damage that you may have caused to surrounding people’s property due to fire, lightning, or explosion. This also covers other areas of the building that may be damaged as a result of negligence on your part.
Dealing With Insurance After A Fire
The increasing threat of fires demands that property owners familiarize themselves with how to file insurance claims. The National Fire Protection Association reported that in 2016, the US had 25 fires that resulted in losses of at least $10 million each, totaling $1.4 billion in direct property losses. The second largest fire in terms of direct property loss in 2016 was the Clayton Fire in California, which resulted in $175 million in damages. Not to mention, the very recent Tubbs Fire, which burned 36,807 acres throughout Napa and Sonoma County this past October. The fire killed 13 people and is considered the 6th deadliest wildfire in California’s wildfire history.
There are important steps to take immediately after a fire affects your property:
- Make sure the premises are safe: assess the damage and complete a thorough safety check of all gas and electricity supplies
- If there is only minor damage, you can take pictures of damage and begin repairing
- If there is major damage, it’s best to call your insurance company first and they can provide additional advice
- Consider obtaining a Public Insurance Adjuster who doesn’t work for your insurance company, but represents the interests of the policyholder in settling a property insurance claim
This process will be a long road to recovery when your building and business are affected by a fire. It will majorly impact your productivity and bottom line. While obtaining fire legal liability insurance is wise and will protect your business’ financial future, did you know there’s another way to protect your building and minimize damage due to fire? Investing in a commercial Fire Alarm System will take an active role in monitoring fire so accidents don’t happen.
Sonitrol isn’t an insurance company. We’re a business security company that offers verified solutions to actively protect your property and people. Our Fire Alarm System has two key elements to limiting loss due to fire: early detection and verification. All of our security solutions are backed by our expertly trained, 24/7 monitoring staff. Our fire alarm system can meet all of your fire security needs with its comprehensive technology that provides for smoke and heat detection, water flow and sprinkler monitoring, elevator recall, and more.