Five tips to prevent winter related claims on your business insurance
All business insurance policies contain a form of reasonable precautions clause. These state that the insured should take reasonable steps to prevent losses. In reality, insurers cannot enforce these clauses unless an insured has been grossly negligent. During the winter months, there is an increased likelihood of water damage and liability losses.
Whether you have a policy in force or not, a claim is likely to cause disruption to your business. At the very least, you’ll be involved in additional work in submitting and dealing with the claim. Hopefully, your business insurance broker will take some of the burden. However, it is in every businesses interest to reduce the likelihood of a loss occurring. Your business insurance policy will probably contain an excess. This means there is a financial benefit to reducing the likelihood of a loss.
Removing snow and ice from paths and car parks
A property owner’s insurance policy will include public liability cover. This is in respect of injury or damage caused to third party persons or property. It is not expected that a business will clean every flake of snow or ice crystal from paths and car parks. It is expected that visitors to your premises can do so safely. If for example, a car park is unsafe due to severe black ice, this should be gritted or treated. If it is impossible to do so, you should consider restricting access to unsafe areas. There should be a safe pathway to or from your business premises. You should consider appointing a specialist contractor to undertake this for you.
One point to remember is that once visitors are in your premises, they can slip on melted ice or snow. Please make sure floors are clear and dry, or have suitable floor mats.
Consider opening cupboard doors and attic access hatches
If the temperature really plummets, try to spread the heat throughout the property. Most water pipes and tanks are in hidden away areas. Simply opening some internal doors and hatches, can increase the temperature to prevent freezing.
Leave the heating on, at minimal levels
Over weekends or outside of business hours, heating is usually switched off. If a business closes on Friday at 5pm, there could be around 60 hours with no heating. This could cause pipes to freeze. Leaving heating on could prevent this.
This is not something that can be done quickly. If your water pipes are not lagged, consider this as part of your normal property maintenance procedure.
Know where your mains stop cock is
If all else fails with protecting your pipes and they do leak, you need to be able to turn off the mains. Turning off the stop cock will prevent any more water entering the building. You’ll probably have a stop cock in the building plus a main external one.