Building Insurance Brokers
Building insurance brokers are those which write policies for businesses to protect commercial property against damage from a vast number of perils. Because commercial property is so valuable, special care must be taken to ensure full coverage of all property, and brokers are a near necessity in making sure that a policy is as protective as it can possibly be.
Unlike your home, your commercial property is the place you do business. In it are probably years of financial statements and reporting, thousands of dollars of inventory and supplies, and many volumes of customer data and employee possessions. All these items, without a proper building insurance policy, would be lost in the case of a fire, earthquake, natural disaster, or theft. But with a proper policy, you can be sure that everything from the ground floor to the top of your commercial property is protected against loss.
Building Insurance Types
Insurance on commercial property is often sold as building or contents insurance, or both, depending on who owns the specific property. A commercial tenant would need only contents insurance, whereas a business that owned both the physical property and the items stored within its walls would need both building and contents insurance.
Building and contents insurance is generally written with a cost-basis for replacement; that is, the only costs that matter are the cost to buy new materials, a building, or storage and not the cost that you paid for each item. This kind of policy is especially favorable because it requires little record-keeping of the prices paid for each item, and instead it is only necessary that you keep a total inventory of the valuables associated with the property.
Why You Need a Building Insurance Broker
Building insurance is not a commodity. From location to location and building to building, the price for insuring property is as variable as most any other product. Local and state law are especially important since municipalities often require that building owners and tenants alike maintain a minimum amount of coverage. This minimum often starts at $100,000, and for some industries it can rise as high as $1 million or more.
But one of the most important reasons for hiring a building insurance broker is that you have an advocate. Building insurance brokers generally work for a number of different insurance companies, and act as a middle man in negotiating a policy. While middlemen usually earn a bad reputation for creating higher prices, a good building insurance broker will save you money by helping you cut your costs where you can, and finding a coverage amount that is conducive to operating your business safely and successfully.
Having someone stand between your eventual insurance company selection and yourself is one of the easiest ways to reduce the time and hassle of dealing with an insurance company should you need to. While most business owners purchase insurance with the idea that they’ll rarely, if ever, make a claim, it is at that crucial moment that every clause of your contract comes into place.
When seeking out a building insurance broker, ask around for referrals. If you’re currently using a commercial lender, ask if he or she can refer you to someone. If possible, you may just find that your local bank has an insurance arm that can write a policy around your current financials and company position, thus allowing you even more flexibility in your policy.
Above all, verify any contract with a lawyer. While having a lawyer read a written contract is expensive, it can save your company tens of thousands of dollars in the future should the contract not fit your insurance needs. Consider the cost of hiring a lawyer as your insurance for your insurance contract. You’ll be glad you did.