Protecting Vacant Properties During the Winter

// December 2, 2021
Reading Time: 3 minutes

According to many HVAC professionals, the biggest concern for vacant buildings during the winter season is frozen pipes. Frozen and ruptured pipes usually lead to water damage, which can be extensive if undiscovered for even a short period of time.

However, that’s not the only concern vacant building owners need to have during the winter months. They should also be concerned with falling branches and snow and ice accumulation on sidewalks, driveways and rooftops. Not taking care of snow and ice can cause damage to the building itself, but it can also cause slip and fall incidents on the property. The following bodily injury claim shows how not clearing away ice can result in a costly claim.

While walking on a sidewalk in front of the insured’s vacant lot, the claimant fell on ice. The injured party required surgery to repair a torn ACL, and the hospital stay was longer than anticipated due to complications. The claimant sought representation from an attorney. The claim was eventually settled for $125,000, plus an additional $10,000 in expenses without litigation.

Insureds should be aware of other exposures as well. For example, if an insured isn’t visiting their property often, they should ensure they have working smoke alarms in place. Batteries should be checked frequently; even if the system is not connected to the local fire company or police precinct, a passerby or neighbor may alert authorities in the event an alarm is heard.

USLI writes not only vacant or partially vacant buildings, but also vacant land. We’ve seen many claims at vacant properties that result from winter conditions. To help your customers get through this coming winter season with less risk of loss, we have developed these loss prevention tips >>

Some of our product and coverage features include:

  • No restriction on the length of vacancy
  • No minimum earned premium or a 25% minimum earned premium, even for short-term policies
  • Special Form and replacement cost available for some risks
  • Business personal property coverage available
  • Short-term policy extensions by endorsement
  • Vandalism is included with property coverage for most risks
  • No liability deductible
  • Risks with renovation work up to $1 million in cost (nonstructural renovations only)
  • Independent contractors coverage available

As always, thank you for your support and business.

Contact Kate Shuron
Assistant Vice President, Senior Underwriter – Home Office | 888-523-5545, ext. 2064

Elizabeth Shults headshotWritten by Elizabeth Shults
December 2, 2021