Vacant buildings can be a lure for unwanted activity. They can be an easy target for theft, a place to party, or a place to find temporary shelter. They also create liabilities for building owners.
Theft is a major concern. Removal of copper wiring or air conditioning units was a common occurrence when the price of copper hit highs a few years back. Vacant buildings are an easy target and can sustain significant damage when wiring and plumbing are removed while systems are active.
“In insurance we call it an attractive nuisance,” says Chris Barnes, senior vice president at LevelFirst. “It may be days before anyone notices damage has occurred, so that damage can be more severe and the loss greater.”
Barnes says that generally vacant buildings need to be protected with the same coverages as occupied buildings, but may require alarm systems, security and even sprinklers to get full replacement coverage.
“Sometimes security systems are required to have theft coverage,” Barnes says.
Senior Underwriter Kate Innocent issues another warning- there can also be liabilities that extend beyond property damage. Property owners can be liable for injuries. While rare, there have been cases where people who have broken into buildings have successfully sued property owners for injuries incurred.
Though vacant buildings are an easy target, there are some measures that can be taken to help protect vacant buildings including keeping blinds closed, not letting mail and trash accumulate, fully draining water lines and keeping lights on a timer.
“Prevention can be effective and proper coverage can protect against property damage and other liabilities” Barnes says. “Vacant buildings owners should know their risks and make sure they have proper coverage before a loss occurs.”
For a more information on vacant building coverage from LevelFirst, contact Chris Barnes at 512-279-4708 or Kate Innocent at 512-279-4714.