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Smart tips for how to handle (and avoid) a small business insurance claim

We know how it goes for small business owners. No matter how you try to prevent it, sometimes stuff happens that affects your business. Floods, fire, theft, or accidents. Not fun to deal with, and definitely not fun if your business isn’t covered. That’s why it’s important to have BCAA Small Business Insurance, so we can help you navigate the tough stuff.

Here are smart tips on how to make things easier if you ever do have a claim and how to avoid them in the first place.

Liability

real estate agent pointing at the view to customer

Every good small business owner knows that safety comes first. The last thing you want is for a customer or staff member to slip and fall on your premises.

  • Reduce the risk of an accidents by doing a regular safety checklist with your property and staff. For example:
    • Clear leaves off your walkways in the rainy season, and clear away all ice and snow in the winter. Most cities have bylaws that require you to clear your sidewalks.
    • Do safety check-ups inside your business. Make sure all your aisles, walkways, and doorways are free from obstructions and things you can bump into or trip over.
    • Have regular safety meetings with your staff. Go over your business’s safety protocols and remind them to keep an eye out for potential hazards. Make sure your staff are all knowledgeable in the best safety practices for their jobs.
    • When your staff use equipment or machinery, make sure they’re protected with the right safety gear and safety knowledge.
    • Consider having employees take First Aid training.
  • If an accident occurs, write down the key details including the chain of events, alleged cause and draw a diagram of how it happened. Write down the names of anyone involved (including witnesses), plus the insurance information for the injured party.
  • You may hear about a liability claim when you receive a legal notice of claim. If this happens, call your small business insurance provider right away. If that’s BCAA Small Business Insurance, you can call us at 1.888.268.2222. We’ll make sure that any responses are done in the required time frames, as there may be deadlines for responses to lawyers and other insurance companies.
  • If you ever have any legal questions, all BCAA Small Business Insurance policies come with unlimited access to a Legal Helpline for legal assistance.

Theft and vandalism

taking a picture of the office

Know what you own in case someone decides that they want to own it, too.

  • Tally up all your possessions, products, gear, equipment, and supplies. So, before theft even happens, you’ve got a detailed record of all your business property and/or inventory.
  • Pro tip: take good photos of all your workspaces and storage rooms, inside and outside your business. They’re an easy way to take stock of all your property and inventory.
  • Review if your policy has a clause called co-insurance. This means: if the amount of insurance on your policy is less than a certain percentage of the value of all your property, then the settlement amount is reduced proportionately.
  • When a theft or vandalism happens, call the police first. They’ll give you a file number (a.k.a. police report number) so write that down along with the name of your attending officer. We’ll need to add that file number to your claim.

Water damage

Flooded office

Leaks and floods are destructive. Here’s some ways to prevent them.

  • Check the condition of your water lines and pipes. Make this a regular check-in a few times a year.
  • Make sure you know where to find all the shut-off valves. There’s usually a main shut-off valve for your entire property, plus all water-related appliances and fixtures (dishwasher, washing machine, toilet, taps) may have their own shut-off valves.
  • If a water leak happens, first stop the leak. If you can’t stop the leak on your own, call a plumber right away to make an emergency call.
  • Your next phone call should be to your insurer. If that’s BCAA Small Business Insurance you can call us at 1.888.268.2222. We’ll immediately connect you with a restoration contractor who will help control the spread of the damage.

Business interruption

Couple listening to financial advisor at home with laptop

A good business never stops moving forward. Here’s how to keep your business running when stuff happens:

  • Before a claim ever happens, it’s important to make a well-defined business continuity plan. Should your business get interrupted, a strong plan means you can return to normal operations with less stress.
  • A BCAA Small Business Insurance policy can help with extra expenses if you need to rent a temporary location and equipment and hire extra staff so you can maintain close to normal operations until your business returns to normal.
  • Make sure your financial records are easily retrievable and organized so you can present them in your claim right away.
  • Once a claim happens, your insurer may need to contact your accountant or bookkeeper to determine profit margin, expected revenue, and for longer term claims, the expected growth of your business.

Fire damage

paperwork and laptop on counter

The best way to put out a fire is to stop it from ever happening.

  • Before a claim happens, make sure that you and your staff are trained in fire prevention strategies like:
    • Everyone should know where the fire extinguisher is and how to use it. Check it once a year to ensure that it’s at the correct level.
    • Keep flammable materials in a locked storage area.
    • Make sure phones are easily accessible. So, if fire breaks out, anyone can reach a phone to quickly call 911.
  • Before fire ever happens, take photos of your premises, inside and out. These photos will help you create a list of damaged property, as some items/property may be totally burnt and unidentifiable. These photos may also help determine how the fire started or spread.
  • If a fire breaks out and you can’t immediately put it out, call 911 right away. Calling 911 is a good idea even if you do put out the fire. Depending on the size of the fire, there may be smoldering material hidden from plain sight that could reignite.
  • If you’re facing an electrical fire, suspect the fire is arson, or the cause is unknown, the #1 important tip is ‘Don’t touch or move anything after the fire is extinguished.’ Leave everything as is so the cause can be investigated.

Hopefully, your business will never have to deal with a fire, leak, flood, theft, vandalism, liability claim, or business interruption. If it does, your preparation will help limit the damage and your coverage with provider like BCAA Small Business Insurance will help get your business back to normal as soon as possible.


Need small business insurance? Let’s talk

Need insurance for your business or want to talk through coverage or a claim? BCAA Small Business Insurance is here to help your business to thrive and grow. Call our insurance professionals at 1.888.268.2222 or visit us online.