A fire can cause major damage to a building in a matter of minutes, quickly spreading until it becomes a raging inferno that is nearly impossible to control. If your business is renting the property that goes up in smoke, you could be liable to pay for damages. Fire legal liability insurance offers you protection from another major financial loss after an already devastating fire.
Total Loss Due to Fires in 2014
According to the National Fire Protection Association:
- Total structure fires in the US in 2014: 494,000
- Total losses due to fires in 2014: $21,821,000
- Property loss due to fires in 2014: $9,846,000
Every single day, fires cause major damage across the nation. These blazes can start in the blink of an eye, sparked by electrical problems, lightning, or simple accidents. From space heaters to deep fryers to outdated wiring, there are potential fire hazards everywhere. For the business owner, this is a major cause for concern that must be addressed with liability insurance.
What Is Fire Legal Liability?
In rental properties, fires can cause major disputes between landlords and tenants. Fire legal liability refers to who is ultimately responsible for paying for damages related to a fire. For the business owner, fire damage legal liability is included under their commercial general liability policy. However, in order for the insurance policy to pay for fire-related damages, it must be proven that the insured party was directly at fault.
Imagine for a moment that you are renting a downtown storefront where you sell wedding dresses. One night while closing up, an employee accidentally leaves a steamer plugged in. After everyone has locked up and left for the night, the steamer catches on fire, sending the whole building up in smoke. By the time local firefighters stop the blaze, the building has suffered $75,000 worth of damage. The landlord demands that you pay for the repairs, since your business ultimately caused the fire due to negligence. In this case, your fire legal liability insurance would step in to pay for the losses.
The Limitations of Fire Legal Liability
There are some instances where a tenant is liable for a fire, but their general liability insurance policy will not cover the loss. If your business signs a lease that accepts full responsibility for any fire damage that occurs while you are under the lease agreement, it doesn’t matter whether the fire was caused by your negligence, lightning, or a wiring problem. You’ll be forced to pay because you signed a contract agreeing to that arrangement. But your liability insurance will only pay for the damage if you directly caused the blaze, meaning you’ll be responsible for these damages out-of-pocket unless you sought additional coverage in advance.
Is Fire Legal Liability Insurance Enough?
Because fires can be caused by natural disasters and are sometimes no one’s fault at all, it’s important to take extra precautions. You can request a legal liability coverage form from your insurance provider, which will give you additional coverage for any type of damage sustained by the commercial property while you are a tenant. This will not cover not only fires, but also tornadoes, flooding, and other damages that happen on your watch. This is a smart way to protect your financial future in case of a major disaster while you are leasing a property for business use.
Find the Best Fire Damage Legal Liability Insurance
If you’re worried about your potential risk for liability problems related to fires, a Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent can help. Our experienced agents work with business owners daily, matching them with the best coverage options to protect their companies from financial ruin after a disaster. If you wait until a fire starts to think about liability issues, it will be too late. Contact a Trusted Choice agent today to make sure your business is adequately covered against fire legal liability risks.