It can be tempting to pass on commercial multi-unit insurance and simply put up a premises liability sign when hundreds of guests visit your property every day. However, physical warning signs are not always the best option to protect you and your business from a liability claim. Here are 3 reasons why it’s better to have insurance for your multi-unit building instead of or in addition to leaving your guests’ safety to a sign.
1. Premises Liability signs do not mean that you are not liable.
First, let’s go a little into how warning signs for public buildings work. Even when trying to prove non-liability in a negligence claim, a premises liability sign needs to have four elements:
- It has to be placed somewhere where the guest will see it before they encounter the named danger.
- It must be clearly visible – not hidden by foliage or objects, and it can’t be in dim lighting.
- The lettering on the sign has to be dark enough and large enough for a person to read it before they encounter the danger.
- It must be written in a language that most people will understand upon reading.
Maintaining these warnings can be cumbersome – plants grow, letters fade, and the sign may even fall. Plus, if a premises liability sign is not necessary on your property, it doesn’t matter if it’s there or not in a liability case.
What does matter the most is something called a “standard of care.” If you own a building, the standard of care is basically the attention and effort you make to keep your property safe.
So, if there’s a danger of theft in a parking garage, do you have the proper amount of security cameras and security guards? If you own student housing, are you responding to maintenance requests promptly and inspecting your property regularly for damages? If you have an apartment complex, HOA, or COA, are there trained lifeguards and safety stations? These are some of the types of things a judge will consider if you’re brought to court for a liability case, not just if you’ve warned your patrons of a specific danger.
However, if someone is harmed on your property, and you have general liability insurance for your rental property, even if you are found liable, it can help cover the injured’s medical bills. If the situation escalates, your insurance can also help cover the fees of hiring a lawyer, court fees, and settlement payouts.
2. Premises Liability signs won’t help you repair or replace the object that caused harm.
Sure, warning signs may alert potential visitors about the dangers they may face in your office park or public recreation facilities. However, the sign won’t help you repair the uneven sidewalk that caused someone to break their arm or the piece of ceiling that fell and hit your student tenant or the out-of-date wiring that electrocuted a guest in your strip mall. That’s where multi-unit building insurance can come in handy.
Property coverage for someone who manages rental units can be a great way to prevent accidents in the future and keep your buildings up to date. Normal property damage policies can usually help cover damages due to:
The amount of property coverage may vary by your specific policy and location, but these are some of the basic types of protection you may see in your property damage policy.
There are also endorsements or parts of property management insurance plans that can help you bring an older building or older building systems up to code. So, instead of placing a sign and waiting for an electrical short or a plumbing issue to harm a guest, your insurance can help you cover the costs of inspections and repairing/replacing the outdated systems.
3. Premises liability signs won’t reimburse you for the income lost if you do have to shut down your multi-unit building for repairs.
The property portion of your insurance policy can help you cover repair costs, but what about a repair that involves ripping up a major walkway or involves closing down an entire section of your building?
By this point, with just a premises liability sign, you may be found liable for someone’s injury, have to find the money to fix the object that caused harm, and you’ll have no business revenue coming in for the shut down section of your property.
However, most multi-unit building insurance plans can also include business interruption insurance. This can help reimburse you for the revenue you would lose if you had to close down a part of your complex, main office area, or your entire building for repairs. It can also help pay for the business expenses you may have trouble paying while your building is out of commission, such as bills and employee salaries.
When leasing property, these are just some of the ways that getting insurance can help protect you. There are tons of property management insurance policies that can work in tandem with a premises liability sign so that even if you’re found liable, your business won’t go into financial ruin trying to resolve a negligence case. However, it can be tricky and time-consuming sorting through all of these policies by yourself.
That’s why we have insurance agents that specialize in multi-unit properties. Whether you’re an independent landlord, a property management company, or a residential association, we’ll work with you to get multiple quotes on the policies that fit your specific business. Call us today for quick, free, and easy quotes on the multi-unit building insurance you need. Or, if you prefer, fill out our online form or message us on LiveChat.