Does business insurance protect against hazards outside my office?
Last updated: February 2023
When you buy small business insurance, you're probably thinking about protection inside your company's walls. But have you considered the many ways your company may need insurance coverage in the great outdoors?
For instance, a customer could trip and fall in your parking lot. Expensive outdoor furniture could be stolen. An exterior sign could be damaged in a storm. Do you know if your business owners policy (BOP) covers common outdoor hazards?
A BOP typically helps protect your company's physical building and the furniture and other items inside it, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). In many cases, you may also be covered if business property (like furniture or art) is stolen or damaged within 100 feet of your company building (in a vehicle or shared lobby, for instance).
Some BOPs include a nominal amount of outdoor property coverage, while others may not. Be sure to check your policy, and to talk to your insurance provider about whether you need additional coverage.
Outdoor weather-related hazards, like a storm causing a large tree to fall on and damage your office roof, would likely be covered under your BOP. That's because the damage is to your company's physical structure — something covered by most standard BOPs — says the III.
If a customer were to trip and get hurt outdoors in your parking lot, their medical bills and other financial losses related to their injury could be covered by your BOP (or your landlord's insurance if you're renting office space), according to the legal publishing firm Nolo.com.
There are some outdoor situations, however, in which you might want to consider add-on coverage for your business. A few examples:
You have an outdoor sign that isn't attached to your building. Extra coverages to consider: Outdoor signage, mechanical breakdown
You have outdoor fences, antennae or satellite dishes that would cost more to repair or replace than your standard BOP covers. Extra coverages to consider: outdoor property; mechanical breakdown
You regularly carry company equipment offsite, such as expensive lighting to music festivals or catering supplies to outdoor weddings. Extra coverage to consider: property-in-transit and off-premises
You have extensive landscaping, such as trees, shrubs, potted plants and rockwork that would be expensive to replace if it were damaged or vandalized. Extra coverage to consider: outdoor property
Your company regularly uses outdoor tables, chairs, heaters/lights and other fixtures. Extra coverage to consider: outdoor property