When theft or vandalism occurs at your place of business, it can be incredibly devastating. To help minimize the impact of theft or vandalism on your business, you should begin by understanding the true definition of each crime.
With over six million thefts occurring each year, it is one of the most common crimes. Theft, or larceny as it called in some states, occurs when someone takes your property with the intention of permanently depriving you of it. In commercial property insurance case, this typically means a theft of valuable inventory or fixtures, and often copper and other metals used in plumbing, electrical or HVAC systems. A theft claim, and particularly one ignored by an insurance company, can cause serious financial damage to a business.
Vandalism is a popular crime for young teenagers. It occurs when a person destroys or damages property without permission. This could include intentional damage or destruction to a commercial building, such as graffiti painted on exteriors walls or windows, and purposeful damage to roofs, siding, plumbing and HVAC systems, and other destruction of your property.
Common Ways Insurance Companies Deny Theft and Vandalism Claims
Many insurance companies are reluctant to pay theft and vandalism claims, and offer many excuses to avoid them. Many insurance policies contain provisions that exclude theft and vandalism claims when a property remains vacant for a period of time. Vacancy can be difficult to define, and frequently misinterpreted. A building that is under repairs or construction is generally not considered vacant, even though many insurers will seek to avoid payment on that very basis. In other circumstances, policies may contain provisions require certain monitoring equipment, and unscrupulous insurers may deny claims by contending, sometimes inaccurately, that the proper monitoring equipment was not in place.
How To Protect Yourself
There are steps you can take to help prevent theft and vandalism. It’s important to always securely lock the entrances and exits of your business when you leave. It’s wise to also install a security system with an alarm and video cameras to deter criminals from theft and vandalism. Most importantly, try not to leave valuables like laptops visible in plain sight through the windows. Copper building systems are often a theft magnet, so owners with such components should take extra care and be well covered for a loss.
What To Do If You’ve Been a Victim of Theft or Vandalism
If, despite your best efforts, you have been a victim of theft or vandalism, there are steps you must take to ensure your stolen belongings or damaged property is replaced. If you discover that theft or vandalism has taken place in your business, immediately call the police. Once you have reported the crime to the police, you must document any damages and notify your insurance company. Your insurance company will send an insurance adjuster to assess the damages and process your claim.
Raizner Slania: Commercial Insurance Lawyers
If an insurance carrier acts in bad faith, we will help you take legal action. If your theft and vandalism claims have been delayed, underpaid, or denied, contact Raizner Slania, Houston commercial insurance lawyers, today. We are litigation professionals who know the insurance business and how to protect your rights.