Many UK business insurance companies offer packaged policies for shops. These policies contain the main covers that most shops would require. These include business assets (contents and stock), business interruption, money and liabilities. Contents and stock are susceptible to claims for theft. Shop insurance security is something that needs to be considered carefully, to ensure you comply.
The use of security
Before we get into further details regarding the levels of security, we need to consider the operation of this security. A business insurance policy is purchased to protect your assets and defend potential liability claims. Even though you may have a policy in place, you need to act as if you’re uninsured. This means that you’ll need to put security into full and effective operation when the business is closed. This makes sense, you cannot expect a theft claim to be paid if you’ve not locked doors or windows.
Usually, a policy will state that physical security needs to be used fully outside of business hours. This will also apply when your business premises are left unattended. As we’ve mentioned before, every policy is different. We’ve also said that you should work with an independent business insurance broker. A broker is there to advise and guide you about your cover. If you are unsure about when your security needs to be in operation, speak to your broker. Whilst it will be mentioned in your policy, your broker will help explain the conditions for you.
Minimum levels of security
Shop insurance policies can have two types of security level. The first is minimum security. Each commercial insurer will have their own level. It will refer to locks on doors and windows. What insurers want is a business to have suitable, quality locks at the insured premises. They’ll specify the type of locks, including rating and where they’re to be fitted.
Window locks, for example, are not needed on every single window. Normally it will be ones that are easily accessible. For example, ground floor or those you can reach from nearby accessible roofs.
The important point is that this minimum level will apply to every single shop insurance policy issued. If you are in doubt as to whether your business complies, please discuss with your broker.
Increased levels of security
An insurer can also specify increased physical security, over and above the minimum noted above. If the shop has more theft attractive contents and stock, higher security may be specified. Also, a higher level may be required simply because of the amount of contents to be insured. Geographic location is also a factor. A shop in the middle of a large city may have different security requirements to one in a rural location.
The role of a business insurance broker
As noted above, each insurer will have a slightly different view. One insurer may be insisting on an intruder alarm to be installed. Another may be happy without an alarm, as the shop has metal shutters on all doors and windows. This is where working with a business insurance broker is beneficial. A shop owner may not want the additional cost of installing an intruder alarm. By speaking to a broker they may be able to get a range of shop insurance quotes. There will be a difference in premium, but this needs to be considered against the cost of security. Maybe a shop is in its first year of trading and cannot, yet, afford an intruder alarm. They may accept a slightly more expensive quote, without an intruder alarm requirement in the first few trading years. As the business grows, they may look to invest in an intruder alarm and save money on their insurance too.
The key here is to understand fully what security you need to have and when you need to use it.