When you get new insurance for your building or renew an existing policy, a representative from the insurance company will come to your building to evaluate it before setting your insurance rates. So how can you lower building insurance costs? And what can you do to cut your premiums even before the representative arrives?
Some factors are outside of your control, such as the materials used to construct your building. But keep in mind that your insurance company sets your insurance premium based on perceived risk. The more you can do to reduce risk, the more attractive your building profile will look to an insurer.
Here are some ways to lower your risks and premiums.
Increase Your Deductible
If you can afford it, share more of the risk with your insurance company by raising your deductible. But don’t go overboard and expose yourself to too much liability.
Keep Employee Roles Up to Date
Make sure your payroll is accurate in classifying employees as full-time, part-time, and independent contractors. Make sure the company that provides your workers compensation insurance coverage is notified whenever you add or lose an employee.
Install Hard-Wired Smoke and CO Detectors
Where possible, use hard-wired smoke and carbon monoxide detectors (with battery backups) for the apartments in your buildings. Hard-wired detectors are wired directly into the building’s electrical system. This setup prevents tenants from disabling the smoke detectors by removing the batteries. If you can, use detectors tied into a security system that automatically dials 911 in the event of smoke, fire, or carbon monoxide.
Install Proper Handrails and Fire Escapes
Another step you can take to lower building insurance costs is to make sure all handrails and fire escapes are secure. Double-check periodically to make sure they’re in good repair.
Make Child Safety a Priority
Install window guards on all windows of apartments in which children under age 11 reside, as well as safety knobs on stoves.
Maintain Steps and Sidewalks
Check your building’s sidewalk for any major cracks. A major crack is anything that can be a tripping hazard. If it looks like the heel of a high-heeled shoe could get caught in the sidewalk crack, fix the crack before the insurance company’s inspection. Do the same thing for outdoor steps and railings. Keep in mind that trip-and-fall incidents are one of the leading causes of insurance claims.
Keep Fire Doors Closed and Install Panic Hardware
The building’s fire doors (for example, the door leading to the roof) should be closed and equipped with panic hardware, which allows tenants to exit easily in an emergency by pushing a bar.
Make Maintenance a Priority
When an inspector visits your building, will they see a building that looks well maintained? Those first impressions matter. An inspector who sees loose tiles, peeling paint or other neglected maintenance will wonder what else has been skimped on.
Inspect Before the Inspection
Conduct your own in-depth inspection before the insurance company arrives. Have HVAC and other systems inspected and maintained, and keep those records handy. Do your best to look at your building as if you were seeing it for the first time.
Ask for Advice
Before the inspection is even scheduled, ask your insurance partner what else you can do to lower insurance premiums. A good agent/broker will know what each insurance company is looking for and can often spot relatively easy changes that might make a significant difference.
If you have any questions about these tips or your insurance policy, or if you would like a free insurance review, please call us at 877-576-5200 or post a comment below.