Mischievous people with nothing to do, long summer days, and plenty of vacant and unoccupied buildings: a recipe for disaster. Whether your insured owns a vacant building or a building in the midst of the construction process, they should take steps to mitigate risk of vandalism, theft, and property damage as the universe conspires to make those crimes easy to engage in.
What Can You Do to Protect a Vacant Building or Construction Site?
- Ensure that the building is well lit at all hours to deter criminals from entering. Illuminate doorways, parking lots, etc., and consider investing in motion detecting lights.
- Install security cameras that monitor both the exterior and interior of the property. If you already have a security system, use it and consider upgrading it in these vulnerable months.
- Cut back weeds and plants to reduce hiding spaces and show that the space is well kept and cared for.
- Remove valuables, like cash, if possible. Store in secure, windowless rooms if not.
- Inspect doors, fences, windows, and gates regularly for damage. Make sure they are locked when the building is not in use. Consider installing additional locks.
- Unoccupied interior spaces should also remain locked when not in use.
- Clearly indicate that people may not enter the premises with signage. Warn that the property is under video surveillances and is alarmed to detract thieves or vandals from entering.
- Monitor utility bills. Be suspicious of activity in dormant months.
- Reach out to local law enforcement and notify them that the building is unoccupied. If you notice any changes to the building or suspect attempted entry and/or vandalism, ask them to drive by the building at night.
- Consider hiring a guard service to walk the premises throughout the day and night. If time permits, walk through the building yourself with some regularity and note any changes.
- Do not publicize the buildings’ unoccupancy. You do not want to make your property an easy target so take steps to make the property appear occupied.
Minimizing Risk with Builders Risk and Vacant Building Insurance
Perhaps the most important step in protecting a vacant property or construction site is speaking to an insurance agent. While being proactive and taking steps to mitigate risk is important, it is not foolproof. The last thing a property owner wants is a costly claim with no insurance to support them. Regular property insurance is not enough to cover the unique needs of a vacant property or construction site. Keep your insurance agent abreast of the status of your property and be honest to ensure you get the coverage you need. With flexible policy terms, like those offered by Distinguished, insurance agents can find the perfect policy, one that gives you the necessary coverage without you overpaying.