You might think that the current extreme conditions mean insurance companies will relax. This is NOT the case. They will enforce the rules of their terms and conditions. This means, more than ever, businesses need to be aware of the smallprint banana skin…
You might think insurance companies have a moral responsibility to help in a crisis. They DON’T.
You have signed up to a contract that lasts for a year and the T&Cs apply no matter what.
You should take some time to read your insurance policy. And pay careful attention to the smallprint. TODAY.
This post highlights some of the things to look out for. AND how to survive the lockdown without falling foul of insurance banana skins.
And the good news is… it won’t cost you an arm and a leg to fix!
Banana Skin #1 – your Alarm systems
Setting your system
The smallprint may stipulate this. It’s critical you make sure both your fire alarm and security system are set. An unprotected premises may very well be an uninsured premises!
If your security system is smart you can control it from your mobile phone. So even furloughed, you can check from home to ensure that your alarm is set and working. You will receive a notification if the system does register a fault. Your alarm company can fix some faults online – without having to go to your premises. But you must tell them quickly so they can rectify any faults.
DID YOU KNOW..?
A security officer can pop in to your premises and check your alarms are fully functioning. You can choose from weekly, daily or even hourly checks. These mobile security officers are much cheaper than having a permanent guard. And don’t forget the tech. It’s simple and makes your life easier…
Keyholders – roles and duty of care
When you installed your alarm, you will have chosen some keyholders who live nearby. If your alarm goes off, someone will need to visit your premises. And get there in 20 minutes to let the emergency services in. What does your small print say about keyholders?
And what if they are sick, self-isolating or quarantined?
And with empty business premises more of a target during lockdown… Do you really want one of your employees to have to deal with a desperate burglar? Barbara from Accounts, who is in her sixties and 5’2? Or Tom, the 22 year old beanpole from the warehouse. Both have been with you for years. Completely trustworthy with keys… but chasing off intruders?
DID YOU KNOW..?
A licensed security guard is trained to diffuse difficult situations. And has backup on hand, just in case… As keyholder, your security guard will get to your premises in 20 minutes! He’ll stay there to make sure your building is secure. It is the wisest solution. And it won’t cost you an arm and a leg…
Get A Quote For Keyholding & Alarm Response
Many Fire Brigades now need a second on-site confirmation that the fire is genuine. Your fire alarm may start ringing. But the fire engines won’t come unless someone calls them from your premises.
This is because 41% of callouts from fire alarms are false! You don’t want the result of someone else’s poor quality system affecting your premises. A professional keyholding contract starts at less than £1 per day. Let the professionals deal with your emergency!
Cheap but not very cheerful – Bells only
Do you have one of the cheaper bells-only systems? How will you know if your alarm is set? Or if it has developed a fault? Or if there is an incident at your premises? With lockdown in place, very few people are out at night. If no one can hear your bell ringing, thieves can take their time in your warehouse, shop, store or office block. And your insurance company may have something to say about it too. Many now require you have a monitored system… check your small print, just in case.
You could also employ a mobile security patrol to make regular visits to your site. They can be your eyes and ears. Scheduled or random visits will confuse any burglar who is ready to try his luck!
Keep scheduled maintenance visits
If you have declared that you have a fire alarm and/or security system – make sure that both are working properly. This means you must keep your planned maintenance appointments. Many companies don’t want the engineers in their buildings because of infection. So they cancel the appointment or just deny access. Don’t do this…
Your Fire & Security company will document this cancellation. The evidence will show that you declined your regular service. This could invalidate your policy if you have to make an insurance claim. Check that small print! And do something about it!
A professional keyholder can arrange a mobile patrol to visit your site and let the engineers in. Both companies will follow the current strict Health and Safety guidelines regarding social distancing. Don’t use the lockdown as an excuse…
Does your policy require that you test the alarm regularly? If you can’t because of lockdown… you must speak to your insurance advisor and work out a solution. If there was an incident and the loss adjuster sees that the alarm is not working, the insurers could decline your claim. Someone needs to perform those tests!
Banana Skin #2 – Vacant Premises
Empty does not mean vacant, I know. But if your insurance company are treating it as vacant… there are rules and obligations. Check your smallprint!
Turn off your gas and water supply
Turn off the gas. And also consider turning off the electricity. The Police suggest this as it makes your property less attractive to squatters. DON’T switch off the electricity if you have fire alarms and security systems plugged into your electricity supply. These alarms will no longer work and this could invalidate your insurance. It’s a trade-off…
Also, some policies insist that your water systems are also drained down. Any stagnant water left in cisterns, tanks or systems could be at risk of legionella. Some policies say you must run the taps and flush the toilets in your building regularly.
While there is always the chance of a leak. The last thing you need is to return from lockdown… to a flood!
Someone needs to visit your premises to check. Regular inspections make sure you comply with your insurance smallprint.
Regular visits to check
Some insurance policies specify that a building must not be left empty for more than 30 days. For others it is 60 days. Some are less, some are more. It really depends on what industry you are in. So you must read your policy to find out what rules apply to you.
And, remember, your building could be affected by the actions of any co-tenants or neighbouring properties. Just because you have taken all reasonable precautions, your building could still be at risk. But you won’t know unless someone visits your premises regularly to check.
So it’s simple common sense to make sure someone checks your commercial premises regularly if it has been left empty for more than a few days.
A licensed security guard is fully trained and DBS checked… Your security guard will check outside for signs of attempted entry. Inside he’ll make sure you fulfill your insurance obligations. These visits will be recorded so you have proof! It is the wisest solution. And it won’t cost you an arm and a leg…
Lockdown is horrible for small businesses. Your premises is now unoccupied. You have no idea what is happening there. But there are ways to fix this:
Keyholders and Alarm Response OR Mobile Patrols
Employ an approved professional company that you can trust to take all this stress off your desk. Property-Safety make it easy to find a trustworthy Security company. With ten years in the industry we know who you can trust and who you can’t. The security company we match you with will give you:
- professional keyholders for the cost of a Mars Bar a day! That’s all. You only pay a call out fee when needed. They will be on site in 20 minutes. Guards are fully trained on what to do in an emergency. Anyone who needs to know will be called, immediately (see tech below). Any liaison with emergency services is done for you. And they stay on site until your property is secured.
- dependable mobile patrols. Security officers will pop in as often as YOU need. They will check the outside of your building and carry out the required tasks on the inside. This is a surprisingly affordable option. Much cheaper than a permanent guard on site.
And don’t forget the tech…
The companies we recommend use the latest cutting edge tech, to make your life easier… Here’s three ways how:
- You’re instantly informed of an incident. Keep updated in real-time.
- Or you can wait until morning to read the report, if you prefer. Reports include images and video, when required.
- Tracks Guards through their shift by GPS. You know they’ve done the work you agreed.