It is easy to understand how an unoccupied office, building, or apartment could seem harmless from the perspective of the insured. Many business owners operate remotely and maintain vacant property in other locations. Vacant properties however, can present a surprising number of challenges if not properly monitored.
Property is considered vacant if less than 31% is occupied. Because of the lack of owner or tenant presence, vacant properties are more likely to experience damage and are prone to criminal activity.
Property that has been vacant for 60 consecutive days before the loss may not be covered by an insurance claim if the following events occur:
- Sprinkler leakage (resulting from unprotected pipes)
- Glass breakage
- Water damage
- Theft or attempted theft
In addition, other covered causes of loss are reduced by 15% for vacant but insured property.
Consider taking steps to ensure that your vacant commercial property is secured and protected from loss that may occur in an owner’s absence. There are ways that both tenants and property owners can reduce the risk associated with unoccupied building space for extended periods of time. Properly setting the thermostat, or using a remote climate controlled system, and turning off the water supply when not in use prevents leaks, cracks, and water damage. Ensuring that ice dams are prevented and gutters cleaned out also helps reduce possible damage. Installing an alarm system and providing lighting around the perimeter discourages burglary, theft, and glass breakage.