Even in our electronic, computer-driven world, few businesses can operate without acquiring a number of valuable papers and physical records. Losing them to a fire or natural disaster could seriously affect business operations. Before you have a loss, take steps to protect valuable papers, or consider ways to store copies. You know your specific business needs, but valuable papers and records may include:
- property deeds or construction plans
- patient, customer or employee records (remember that some may contain information protected by state and federal privacy laws, requiring additional protection measures)
- financial documents
- original copyrights or patents to key products
- product specifications
- manuscripts or blueprints
- customer lists
- licenses, permits, contracts
Any business could experience a loss of valuable papers and records, most commonly from an accidental cause such as a fire. Earthquake or weather events such as tornado, hurricane or flood also account for a significant number of losses. Water damage can also occur from a plumbing failure, accidental discharge from a fire suppression system or backup of sewer and drains. And documents sometimes are the target of criminals seeking proprietary data or information for identity theft.
Replacing your valuable papers and records can be expensive and time consuming. Take precautions to protect your business by storing copies of documents and records at an off-site location.
Most commercial insurance policies include limited coverage to replace valuable papers and records. Additional coverage can be added to your policy by endorsement to cover certain situations at your business or when working off-site. Your insurance agent can help you determine how much coverage you need to protect your business.
When a loss occurs, your insurance claims representative can assist you with locating vendors that specialize in remediation and restoration of valuable papers and records. USA.gov provides assistance with replacing vehicle registrations, tax returns, county and federal documents.
This loss control information is advisory only. The author assumes no responsibility for management or control of loss control activities. Not all exposures are identified in this article. Coverages described here are in the most general terms and are subject to actual policy conditions and exclusions. For actual coverage wording, conditions and exclusions, refer to the policy or contact your independent agent.