Any time a business rents or leases a space to operate from they sign a contract. In that contract are insurance requirements stating that the tenant will carry certain liability limits. Normally they will ask the tenant to carry a commercial general liability policy, and more often than not they ask for at least $1,000,000 per occurrence limit. The reason they ask for this is that if the tenant is the cause of a fire or other type of damage to the rented building, the landlord wants to make sure that the tenant’s insurance will pay for the damages, and not their own insurance.
Commercial General Liability takes care of a lease contract with two different types of coverages. The first is the coverage I mentioned above of $1,000,000 per occurrence limit. This coverage, however, only gets the tenant half way there. The per occurrence limit doesn’t cover for actual areas of a building that the tenant rents or leases. It will pay for only the part of the building that is not rented by the tenant. An example might help explain this better.
Let’s say that business XYZ, Inc rents unit A of a four unit office building. If XYZ, Inc causes a fire that extends damages to both unit A and unit B, the per occurrence portion of their insurance policy will only cover damages to unit B. It will not pay for damages to unit A because it is leased or rented by them.
Damage to Rented Premises (sometimes called Fire Legal Liability) is the other coverage a tenant needs when they rent space. This coverage is often included in a general liability policy as well but many times is not specifically mentioned in lease contracts. In the example above, Damage to Rented Premises would be the coverage that would pay for unit A that XYZ, Inc. rented.
The reason I bring this up as a blog article topic is because the Damage to Rented Premises is often overlooked. Since it is left out of many lease contracts, businesses don’t think to check with their insurance carrier about the coverage. Your typical commercial general liability policy will only include $100,000 to $500,000. If company XYZ, Inc. in the above example rented a large space, this may not be enough coverage, and they could pay for some of the damages out of pocket.
So next time you rent a space for your business be sure to have Fey Insurance Services review the lease and double check your commercial general liability insurance limits to make sure you are covered in case of a large fire.