The holiday season is upon us!  Time to lock up the offices and head home to spend some time with family and friends.  Everyone’s taking some time off, right? Unfortunately, it’s ‘one of the busiest and most lucrative times of the year for criminals.

It’s not uncommon for us Founder Shield folks to come back from family time only to find some claims in our inboxes.  One of the most common claims we see around this time?  Stolen laptops.  You lock up your office for the holidays only to come back and find that all of your productivity machines have disappeared.

Your business insurance covers stolen laptops via your property insurance, which can be a standalone policy or packaged as part of a business owner’s policy.  Here’s what you need to know about property coverage, what you can expect from the claims process, and how we’ll get you covered.

When am I covered?

Location

Generally speaking, property coverage is afforded to a policy-holder when the property damage/loss occurs on-premises.  That means that the physical location at which your company operates must be explicitly scheduled as a location on the policy.  As a business-owner, it’s important to make sure that your insurance broker knows when you’ve moved offices or added new locations.  Otherwise, there’s a chance you’ll miss out on coverage you’re paying for!  While property claims are generally only covered on-premises, we do have the ability to add some coverage for property in transit or off-premises.  Please talk to our team to confirm that this coverage is afforded by your policy.

Timing & Amount

This one might be a bit obvious, but your policy has to be in force at the time of the loss.  You also want to make sure you have enough coverage in force to insure the value of what you’re trying to cover.  For example, if you have 20 laptops in your office, a good ballpark would be $40,000 in coverage to make sure you’re covered even if completely cleaned out.

 

How do I recover money for the loss?

You’ll need some documentation to prove that the laptops were actually stolen.  Usually this comes in the form of a police report.  While you’re at it, you may want to take some pictures of any damage that occurred to the office during the theft, as that may also be claimable on your property policy as well.  Common examples include broken locks, furniture, or windows.  If you’ve replaced the laptops already, you should include the receipt for the new replacement machines as well (we’ll get to why in a minute.

Beyond the documentation, you may be asked to complete an incident report form or hop a call with a claims adjuster to talk through what happened and what was stolen.  We’ll usually ask for a call as well to give any advice that we can on the matter.

 

How much money will I recover?

Property losses are paid out in a couple different ways (which vary a bit in calculation from state to state).  The two main valuation methods are “replacement cost value” and “actual cash value.”

Individual states generally define actual cash value (ACV) is as replacement cost minus depreciation.   Note that California insurance law is a bit different.  If your policy values property at ACV, you can expect the claims adjuster to include depreciation into the recovery amount you’ll receive.

Replacement cost value (RCV) is generally defined as “the cost to replace the damaged property with materials of like kind and quality, without any deduction for depreciation.”  This method is more favorable because it doesn’t factor in any depreciation, which is why we push for RCV coverage on every policy we place for our clients.   If you have RCV, you can generally expect to recover the amount you paid to replace the laptops.

Deductibles

Remember that regardless of the amount recovered, you will always be subject to the deductible on your policy.  If you’ve chosen a higher deductible policy, you may want to hold off on making a claim if the loss would be minimally covered above the deductible amount.  The minimal compensation you receive above the high deductible may end up being outweighed by an increase in premium in the next year.  We’re happy to help you weigh your options here.

 

Have a happy and safe holiday season and be sure to keep your company’s property safe!

 

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