Business owners can buy Commercial Property Insurance whether they own, rent, or lease a building. If you rent or lease a building, you will still need a property policy to insure your on-premises property, including machinery, furniture, and merchandise. The cost of tenant coverage is usually significantly less than building coverage because the policy will only cover contents, not the building itself.
Businesses operating at multiple locations can be covered under a single policy, unless they have different functions and different risk profiles. This could be the case if your business has an administrative office and a separate factory.
Commercial property policies in Texas generally fall into one of three categories:
- Basic Form Policies - typically cover common risks or perils, such as damage from fire, lightning, windstorm, vehicles, aircraft, or civil commotion.
- Broad Form Policies - typically provide basic form coverage plus coverage for additional perils, such as water damage, structural collapse, sprinkler leakage, and losses caused by ice, sleet, or weight of snow.
- Special Form Policies - cover against all types of losses except those the policy specifically excludes. Common special form exclusions include losses from flood, earth movement, war, terrorism, nuclear disaster, wear and tear, and insects and vermin.
Most commercial property policies cover damage from windstorms, except in counties on the Texas coast. If your business is in one of Texas’ coastal counties, you’ll most likely need a separate windstorm policy.
Commercial Property Policies provide either replacement cost coverage, actual cash value coverage, or a combination of both. Replacement cost coverage will pay to replace your property with new property of like kind and quality, up to the policy’s dollar limit. An actual cash value policy will pay the replacement cost of the property minus depreciation due to age and normal wear and tear. Although replacement cost coverage is more expensive than actual cash value coverage, it might better ensure that your business fully recovers after a significant loss.
Commercial property policies provide various types of coverage, either as part of the base policy or through policy endorsements. Endorsements expand or amend a policy’s coverages and usually increase your premium. You can buy certain coverages as separate stand-alone policies. Typical commercial property coverages are:
- Building occupied by the insured coverage-insures a building that you regularly use but do not own. This coverage can be important if you lease or borrow a building that is critical for your operations.
- Newly acquired or constructed buildings coverage - insures a new building if you add it to your policy within a specified amount of time. If you don’t notify your insurer within the time period – usually 30 days – your policy won’t cover the new building. Commercial property policies generally only cover buildings named in the policy.
- Business Personal Property – insures the business’s contents and inventory inside the covered building location up to the policy limit.
- Employees’ Personal Property Coverage- insures your employee’s personal property against covered losses if the property is on your premises. Generally, you must buy this coverage as an endorsement if you need more than a limited amount.
- Off-Premises Property Coverage - covers your property located off site. Some policies might not cover off-premises property or may provide only limited coverage. You can usually buy an endorsement to cover off-premises property. If you can’t buy an endorsement, you may have to buy a separate policy.
- Business Interruption Coverage- pays for actual or projected lost income if loss from a covered peril prevents normal business operations.
- Extra Expense Coverage- pays any additional costs to expedite your business’s return to normal operations after a covered loss.
- Valuable Papers Coverage - provides limited coverage of your business records and other essential information. You may be able to buy an endorsement to increase this coverage.
- Ordinance or Law Coverage- pays any additional costs required to repair or rebuild a facility damaged by a covered peril to ensure it complies with current building codes. Many policies provide limited ordinance coverage, but you can increase it with an endorsement.
- Boiler and Machinery Coverage - covers boilers, air conditioning units, compressors, steam cookers, electric water heaters, and similar machinery. Coverage generally extends to machinery specifically listed in the policy and to any subsequent losses, such as when a boiler explosion or water heater leak causes damage to other property. You can usually purchase this coverage as either an endorsement or a separate policy.
- Inland Marine Coverage- insures goods in transit by land, air, or inland waterways. It also covers projects under construction and transportation and communications structures, such as bridges, tunnels, and communications towers.
Depending on the type of business you own and where it’s located, you might want to consider additional coverages to ensure you’re protected from an array of losses.
You can buy several types of coverage to protect your business from crime. Common crime coverages include:
- Loss of Glass and Money Due to Theft pays for damage to glass and loss of money resulting from a break-in.
- Robbery and Safe Burglary (property other than money) is a more limited form of coverage that does not include money or securities.
- Forgery or Alteration protects your business against forgery or alteration of checks, drafts, promissory notes, or other types of payments.
- Theft, Disappearance, and Destruction Coverage insures money, securities, and other property against losses, both on your premises and off premises in the custody of an employee or messenger.
A policy may pay losses from crime on either a loss sustained or discovery basis. Loss sustained coverage pays for losses that occur during the policy period, and discovery coverage pays for losses that occur at any time. Both types of crime coverage require that losses be discovered during the policy period or extended reporting period.
Most flood insurance in the United States is available only through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Some insurers may provide flood coverage in addition to NFIP coverage.
To qualify for NFIP coverage, your business must be located within an NFIP-participating community. These communities have adopted federal building and floodplain management programs to reduce the likelihood of flood damage. Special flood hazard areas are areas within NFIP communities that are at high risk for flooding. NFIP requires all structures within these areas to have flood insurance.