Running a business is hard, but not having the right insurance is one way things can get harder. Who pays for fire damage, if you share office space in a building? What happens if one of your employees starts a fire?
Below, the fire-damage experts from Professional Restoration explain everything you need to know about fire legal liability.
What is Fire Legal Liability?
Liability is a legal term used to describe responsibility. Here, liability refers to who will pay for fire damage.
Fire damage liability is included in most commercial general liability policies. It’s required in most cases. However, these policies only pay if the business is at fault for the damage.
What’s NOT Covered by Fire Legal Liability?
There are limitations to fire legal liability coverage. Limitations may include low coverage limits; limited or no coverage for damaged property contents; or no coverage for auxiliary damages (e.g., water damage), which is common after a fire.
Lease agreements can stipulate that tenants are responsible for fire-related property damage regardless of how the fire damage occurs.
In cases were limitations apply, business owners could be on the hook for the total or remaining costs to repair damaged property.
Depending on your business and coverage needs, getting the right insurance can make all the difference after a major property disaster.
Get the Right Coverage
Fire damage legal liability is often overlooked in commercial general liability policies. Moreover, depending on how much space is rented (e.g., one office or an entire building) will help inform how much coverage is needed.
Businesses and individuals renting commercial space should purchase a general policy that covers liability due to any type of negligence that results in a fire or causes damage to another’s property.
Moreover, lease agreements should be reviewed carefully. The insurance clause defines the rights and obligations of each party and who purchases insurance, what coverage is required, financial limits, and so on.
How Can a Restoration Company Help?
It’s in the best interest of a landlord or tenant to contact a professional restoration company after a fire.
First, fire damage leaves behind contaminants like soot and smoke smells, which can result in irritation or respiratory issues for some people. A fire damage repair company will have the tools and experience required to clean, sanitize, and rebuild damaged property to like-new condition.
Second, fire-damaged properties are easy targets for criminals. Security features are often damaged or destroyed, leaving a property vulnerable to vandalism and theft. If the property is dangerous and someone gets injured, property owners could face further legal problems.
Securing the property is faster and easier with a professional restoration team. They’ll board up entrance points, provide on-site power if needed, and erect temporary fencing to secure a perimeter.
Lastly, documentation is very important following property damage of any kind. Fire-damage experts work with insurance companies regularly and know what they’re looking for when compiling damage reports.
In some cases, the insurance company will pressure claimants to use an insurance-preferred vendor for cleanup and restoration.
However, these vendors don’t work for you, they work for the insurance company. This can be problematic after major fire damage.
By selecting your own restoration company, property owners can ensure they’re being represented fairly and accurately.