If you’re obtaining a surety bond or insurance policy for your construction-related business, it may be advisable to consider coverages for job site thefts. There has been a significant increase in construction site burglaries, thefts, and missing materials. Previously, it was sufficient to obtain coverage for damages, such as a stack of lumber that got damaged due to a forklift accident.
However, nowadays, due to economic problems, theft has increased. Additionally, laws are not prosecuting criminals as much as before, leading to a more open mentality about crime, theft, and burglary. More people are stealing lumber, and building materials have become more expensive than before. A product that used to cost a dollar 99 now costs six or seven dollars. Similarly, a bucket of paint that was once 20 dollars now costs a hundred dollars.
Consequently, losses are not only more frequent but also costlier for the contractor or the builder. Therefore, it is crucial to have insurance and understand your insurance policy’s terms and conditions. Most job site materials coverage extends to a certain number of feet from the actual construction site.
If you store your materials within 50 or 100 feet, your policy may cover them. However, storing your materials farther away, say, 300 feet away, may not be covered. Thus, little things like where the materials are stored can make a significant difference. Installing a security fence around your property might be an additional expense, but it could prevent you from losing hundreds or thousands of dollars. Furthermore, you don’t want to file an insurance claim for a small amount as it might lead to coverage loss, non-renewal, or higher premiums the next time around. Therefore, practicing good job site security is essential, such as keeping things bundled up. For instance, if you have a stack of lumber that has banding around it, leave that banding on it until you need to start pulling from that lumber pile.
Suppose you have paint that’s palletized and shrink-wrapped; leave it shrink-wrapped as long as you can. Keeping the items inside a garage, shed, or storage compartment is best practice, especially for your tools. Ensure you have a good job site security box or take them with you. However, if you have a construction trailer, a towable trailer that contains all your tools, that’s a problem waiting to happen. Someone could back up and steal your trailer or break into it and walk off with a bunch of tools. As you can see, between what we have in our office and job sites, there are eight, nine, or ten thousand dollars worth of tools, which thieves can quickly pawn to get their next fix.
Getting another pair of eyes on your job site security could be helpful. Your insurance broker can assist you with that by providing you with some best practices and informing you about the types of claims they are seeing. This is crucial because you might be unaware of new types of theft, and you don’t want to be the first victim of such incidents. It’s better to know about such incidents from other areas of the country and avoid their financial impact on you. Theft not only costs you but can also cause you to shut down your job site while waiting for replacement materials or tools to show up, which can affect your job schedule.
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