The struggling economy has resulted in a large number of commercial vacancies as failed businesses cut back on business, reducing the number of locations out of which they operate, or even shutter their doors for good. Unfortunately, these unoccupied spaces have special exposures to risk. As a business owner or manager, you certainly understand the need for property insurance in New York from a practical point of view, but that need is driven home when tragic situations occur like the one in a recent news report. A homeless couple broke into a boarded-up, vacant building and apparently had been occupying the building for weeks. They vandalized the building, removing fixtures and selling them for cash. They used candles at night for illumination and a small, portable barbeque grill for cooking. The accumulation of carbon monoxide led to the couple losing consciousness, and the candles were knocked over, igniting bedding, trash, and other debris the couple had amassed. Soon the entire space was aflame, and the couple perished.
If you have vacant building that you own or manage, you must realize the additional risks that you may face. For example, unoccupied buildings are particularly vulnerable to trespassing, vandalism, burglary, and even arson. These risks increase when it’s easy to see that the building is idle or vacant due to shoddy or nonexistent maintenance—and of course, it become difficult if not impossible to maintain the building when the water, power, gas, phone, alarm, and other building utilities are cut off. Disruption of services can result in a free-for-all from natural and human sources: weeds overgrowing the parking lot, debris and trash accumulating outside, taggers spray painting graffiti all over walls and fences, and vandals breaking out windows and defacing property.
Fortunately, a good commercial policy will offer coverage under the “basic” cause of loss form for a variety of risks, including fire; lightning; explosion; windstorm or hail; smoke; aircraft or vehicles; riot or civil commotion; and vandalism.
Talk to a professional insurance agent, who can provide information about property insurance in New York. An agent can also recommend strategies to minimize all types of risks that you face, especially if you have the additional burden of commercial space that is unoccupied. Call an agent today to learn more.