A fire can cause catastrophic damage to a commercial building in a matter of minutes. Whether you are the business owner or the property owner, losing the assets you had invested in can be devastating.
But what is your liability for damages incurred by a fire when you own the building different than if you’re leasing it to conduct your business? In this article, we will explore the unique position a commercial property owner is in when it comes to financial responsibility after a fire has caused damage.
What Is Fire Legal Liability?
Fire legal liability simply refers to who is responsible for paying for damages when a commercial property is destroyed or damaged by fire.
Since it can often be a dispute between landlords and tenants, a fire legal liability insurance policy will clearly define who is responsible for what damages and under what circumstances. These policies are usually part of the business owner’s commercial general liability policy.
Important Ways to Protect Yourself
The onus for property damage tends to fall mostly on tenants. There are a few things you need to do to ensure that you and your building are covered in case of a fire.
1. Cover Yourself
As the owner of the property, you are responsible for holding a Commercial General Liability insurance policy. This policy will cover you for liabilities you have related to issues with the business premises.
For example, if someone is injured on the property because of a broken step that has not been repaired, any liability for that injury will be covered under your Commercial General Liability insurance policy.
2. Review Your Lease with Tenants
You will want to make sure the lease you have tenants sign is up to date and crystal clear about who is responsible for damages incurred during a fire and under what circumstances. Your lease should contain an insurance clause that clearly identifies:
- Who must purchase the insurance
- What coverage is required
- Limits of insurance that is needed
That means that if the insurance clause in the lease your tenant signs states they will be responsible for all property damages that occur if the fire is their fault, they will be responsible for damages to the building as well as their own personal business losses.
Making sure there is clarity and understanding when it comes to liability is vital. The very nature of disasters is that they happen whether you’re prepared for them or not. To ensure you have all of your ducks in a row, review early and often what everyone is responsible for to be covered.
Midwest Comfort Homes Can Help
If you ever find yourself in the unfortunate situation of picking up the pieces after a fire and rebuilding your business, partnering with a restoration company you trust is the next most important step you can take.
At Midwest Comfort Homes, we understand the devastation a fire can cause to any home or business. That’s why we understand where you are and help guide you through the twists and turns of dealing with insurance carriers and restoring your property so that you can get back up and running.
Contact one of our experts to discuss how we can help you start disaster restoration right away!