Know the Hazards of Vacant Property

Whether for financial difficulty or other reasons, your business may carry an increased number of vacant, or partial vacant, properties. When determining what kind of risk management efforts are necessary, it may seem that compared with managing a fully functioning commercial building, a vacant property would have substantially fewer hazards. There is less traffic, and therefore less liability—right?
In reality, vacant and partially vacant properties present a unique set of risks that must be managed effectively to avoid costly losses at a time when money may already be tight for building owners. Vacant buildings might be unoccupied, but they should not be left unattended. Evaluate the following risks on a regular basis to avoid expensive losses.

Undetected DamagesVacant sign

Small hazards—like an exposed electrical wire or a slow water leak—are normally detected and repaired before they can worsen and cause loss in an occupied building. However, when buildings are unoccupied, these small hazards are less likely to be corrected immediately and can escalate into larger problems. Gradually occurring damage, such as mold, can be equally threatening.

Crime and Liability Risks

Although there are no tenants, it is important to maintain security and surveillance efforts to reduce costs, as you can be held liable for criminal activity or accidents that take place on your premises. Vacant properties attract trespassers, arsonists, thieves and other criminals. It is important to maintain an on-site or surveillance security presence to minimize trespassing or other criminal activity.

Environmental Risks

Facilities that are used to store chemicals or other pollutants on site must have these materials removed or adequately stored to prevent leaks and seepage. Businesses can be held liable for cleanup in the case of groundwater contamination. Underground storage tanks can represent an even bigger threat to the environment and property owner.

Loss Control Steps

To prevent claims in vacant properties, follow these loss control guidelines:

  • Notify Prairie Villa Insurance and check your policy terms and conditions that are applicable to vacant property.
  • Advise local authorities.
  • Remove unnecessary materials and combustibles from the premises.
  • Inform local fire departments of remaining materials that could impede firefighting.
  • Inspect facilities regularly or hire a guard service for daily observation.

Contact Us

We have the insurance solutions you need to protect your property, occupied or not. Contact us today to evaluate your business’s unique exposures and learn how best to stay covered.