What does business property insurance cover in South Carolina? 

I’m a small business owner in South Carolina. I’ve recently expanded from a home-based business to a leased space, and I’ve got several employees. What does business property insurance cover? What is excluded from business property coverage, and what are the risks if I don’t have it for my South Carolina business? 

Answer:

Business property insurance in South Carolina offers broad coverage for a wide variety of property claims that can occur. Most basic business property policies will cover the following perils, or causes of loss:

  • Burglary and theft: Burglary and theft are two of the most common business property claims. A typical business property policy would cover most burglary or theft claims. 
  • Wind and hail damage: Wind and hail damage are typically covered claims on a business property policy. If you live in certain coastal areas of South Carolina, however, wind damage may be excluded from your policy, but you can purchase a wind endorsement. Note that you may be required to have separate hurricane deductibles and other special policy provisions in areas that are prone to hurricanes. Your independent insurance agent can help you get the hurricane coverage you need if you live in one of these areas. 
  • Fire: Fire is one of the most costly business property claims, and is covered under a commercial property policy. 
  • Water damage and freezing: Water damage can be caused by floods, hurricanes, burst pipes, or a simple leaky toilet. Like your home, your business is susceptible to numerous kinds of water damage, not all of which are covered by your business property policy. There is no standard for water damage coverage. You need to carefully read through your commercial property policy to understand what is covered and what is not. Here are some examples of what is usually covered:
    • Burst pipes: Commercial property insurance will usually cover water damage due to burst pipes. But if your insurance company feels that you were at fault or failed to take precautions to protect your pipes, your claim could be denied. 
    • Slow leaks: Plumbing or HVAC leaks are common and can cause a lot of damage. Damage from leaks that are deemed to be sudden and accidental will be covered by your business property policy. If your insurance company feels that you have been negligent (perhaps you failed to fix an ongoing leak or properly maintain your building systems), your claim can be denied. 
    • Roof leaks: If your roof leaks and the roof as well of the interior of your building sustain damage due to a covered peril — wind, rain, hail, or fire — the damage will likely be covered by your business property insurance policy. If the leak and subsequent damage are because you did not properly maintain your roof, your claim will likely be denied. If your roof damage is caused by a flood (e.g., storm surge during a hurricane), your business property policy will likely not cover it.  

Is there any additional coverage in South Carolina? 

A: Business property insurance in South Carolina typically also includes business interruption coverage. If you sustain covered damage that forces you to temporarily close or relocate, business interruption coverage will reimburse you for ongoing expenses (rent, salaries, etc.) and lost income during the closure or relocation period.

This coverage only applies if there is covered property damage (damage due to a covered peril) that leads to your temporary business closure. Other non-property damage events (e.g., utility interruptions) that force your business to close are typically not covered by business interruption coverage. You can purchase additional policies or endorsements for coverage during these situations. 

Why do I need business property insurance for my South Carolina business? 

A: Business property insurance is one-half of a basic business insurance portfolio. It provides coverage for many of the most common types of business insurance claims. 

Business property insurance in South Carolina protects buildings and their contents, including computers, office equipment, furniture, artwork, and all of your business personal property — whether it is owned or leased — if it is damaged by fire, smoke, theft, vandalism, weather, or certain other covered perils. 

If you own your building, you need business property insurance to cover damage to the structure and what is inside. If you lease your space, you need this coverage for your business personal property.

What is excluded from business property insurance in South Carolina?

A: Business property coverage in South Carolina excludes several perils and certain types of property.

Business property insurance typically does not cover:

  • Vehicles subject to motor vehicle registration, including autos, aircraft, and trucks
  • Money or securities
  • Land water, growing crops, lawns, trees, shrubs, or plants
  • Water and living plants
  • Outdoor fences or signs not attached to the building

Most of these can be covered with an additional policy or policy endorsement. 

Business property insurance in South Carolina also does not cover damage caused by:

    • Flood from a hurricane or another weather event: Flood damage is not covered under your commercial property policy. But you can purchase flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program. 
    • Sewer backup: Sewer backup is not covered under most business property policies, however, you can add sewer backup coverage with a policy endorsement.
    • Ground water seepage: Most insurance companies will not over damage due to ground water seepage. This is typically considered a maintenance issue.

What are the risks if I don't have business property insurance in South Carolina? 

A: Going without property insurance for any business with physical assets can be extremely risky. Without business property insurance in South Carolina, how would you recover if a fire or a storm destroyed your business, or even a part of it? Could you replace your inventory and equipment? How would you pay your bills if you had to close in order to rebuild?

Business property insurance is important for any business owner that wants to be able to recover after a disaster. It may be the only financial backup you have when you need it most. 

Article Reviewed by | Paul Martin


© 2020, Consumer Agent Portal, LLC. All rights reserved.