COVID 19 – Protecting your Vacant Buildings
Given the current Government guidance with regards to the ongoing pandemic, many clients are finding that they or that their tenants/lessees are forced to vacate their premises.
As ever, cover for an otherwise occupied building in the event of unoccupancy depends entirely on the applicable policy wording.
However, it is common across the industry for insurers to allow up to 30 days of unoccupancy for policyholder premises with no change to the policy. Usually, after these 30 days, insurers will restrict cover to FLEA (Fire, Lightning, Explosion and Aircraft). Some insurers are willing to extend this period to 45 days upon request. This transition to FLEA cover can be subject to requirements such as contents being cleared from the building/s and an inspection of the unoccupied premises.
Given the unprecedented circumstances that we are currently experiencing, we understand some insurers have agreed to relax their requirements in relation to a premises becoming unoccupied. We also understand that some insurers are stating that they are allowing policyholders to ‘buy back’ full perils cover or certain amounts of theft cover.
What can you do to protect your premises?
Unfortunately, the current situation does give rise to opportunity for criminals in terms of arson, vandalism and theft/looting.
We would advise companies to ensure that any CCTV is in working order and signage advising the same is visible and clear. Other simple measures to protect the premises are ensuring that the lighting at the property is in working order and that all entrances are secured.
Where possible engaging security guards to patrol your premises may be an option, along with signage detailing their presence.
If your premises are now or soon to be unoccupied, please let your insurer know as soon as possible in order for them to advise any action required on your part and also to confirm what cover you will have in place.