I had an incident at my cabin that has put insurance front and center on my mind. This got me thinking about what commercial property owners and tenants should know about insurance. Leases and mortgage agreements require adequate insurance. But what are the important things we should look out for? Is there something I’m missing to best advise my clients?
I called on Jeremy Thompson, an insurance expert and friend from my Business Network International (BNI) group. He’s an agency owner at Forthright Insurance––the perfect person to have a forthright conversation with. Here are my five takeaways:
1. Examine utilities and updates to the building. Insurance rates factor the age of building and the type and age of the utilities. Updates save money. For example, PVC piping is preferred over copper because of the problems with corrosion over time. (Learned something new 🙂) It’s also a plus if the electric panel has new circuit breakers. These fixes can make a difference in the rates you pay now and lessen the total amount paid overtime on insurance, as well as stop losses.
2. Know your deductibles. Wind and hail deductibles are moving towards 2% of rebuild costs. That can be a big change from a set amount. So prepare––budget worst case scenario to not be caught off guard if something happens. Mitigate and eat the small losses when you can in this hard market.
3. As we move from wind and hail season to slip and fall season, get ready. Even though they say it won’t be as snowy this season, we’ll have those days. It’s Minnesota after all. Know your liability exposure and assess your property for potential hazards. If you’re a tenant, buy a shovel and some sidewalk salt to use when needed. If you’re an owner, make sure property management and snow removal contracts are good to go.
4. Read the fine print and go through extra coverage and endorsements thoroughly with your agent. Don’t assume policies include everything. You may need to broaden insurance protection by adding to the standard policy based on the property’s condition, use, and contents.
5. Layer your protection. Collect certifications of insurance from subcontractors. A building owner should request to be an additional insured from tenants and reverify certificates each year.
Reach out to Jeremy at email@example.com if you have any questions. He’s friendly, helpful, and very knowledgeable. I trust him.
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Jeff Salzbrun is the owner/broker of Commercial Equities Group (CEG). As a veteran-owned real estate brokerage, CEG has been involved in thousands of sale and lease transactions, ranging from single offices to 250,000+ square foot buildings. At CEG, we get your deal done. We know space, and we know the CRE business.
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