As humans, we must accept that sometimes accidents happen. Business owners know this better than anyone. Except there’s a distinction between completely unpredictable freak accidents and accidents occurring as a result of unsafe conditions.
Businesses require different types of business insurance to cover different areas, one of the most important being general liability coverage. Commercial general liability insurance protects companies from financial loss if their business operations cause harm (like property damage or bodily injury) to others. The Insurance Information Institute outlines a basic example: “While visiting your business, a customer trips on loose flooring and is injured.”
This is already an undesirable situation. But what can literally add insult to injury is the messy aftermath. It’s not always a matter of simply helping the injured person regain their footing, or even of calling an ambulance. General liability insurance will help cover resulting expenses like medical bills, rehabilitation costs and litigation fees, which can literally save your business after an accident.
But would an investigation into the cause of the injury unearth safety violations in your commercial space? Are you prepared to pass building code and safety inspections with flying colors? If you answered no to either of these questions, your business may be in danger.
Let’s look at a recent example. After a customer was hit by an automobile in an auto repair garage in Boston, inspectors visited the scene “and discovered several health, fire safety and building code violations, including raw sewage in the basement, hazardous materials and structural problems,” as CBS Boston reports.
The garage was part of a pair of adjacent businesses owned by the same company. The owners received citations for issues like retaining wall failure, exposed electrical wires, rodent droppings, unlabeled hazardous substances, improper business permits and more. In the end, both the businesses were shut down due to code violations.
In addition to safety-proofing any areas where employees, customers, delivery workers or anyone else will be, business owners should make sure that every aspect of their business would pass an impromptu inspection. Every industry has different standards.
For example, before entrepreneurs in the city of Chicago can obtain a business license, they must pass a formal inspection by one or more departments. For animal-related businesses, the Commission on Animal Care and Control checks on animals’ conditions and facility cleanliness. The Fire Department checks for functioning sprinklers, illuminated exit signs, extinguishers and safe storage for flammable materials. The Department of Buildings checks on systems like electrical, plumbing, ventilation and construction permits.
A “slip ‘n’ fall” accident is bad enough, but the situation can take a dramatic turn for the worse if you lack the right business insurance policies and proper underlying conditions. Investing in general liability insurance (often as part of a Business Owners Policy (BOP) bundle) and bringing your commercial environment up to stringent code can help minimize financial and reputational damages if something does occur on your premises.
CoverHound specializes in helping companies get the different types of business insurance they need, whether it’s liability coverage, workers compensation, professional liability insurance, property protection or all of the above.Get your quote today!
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