Employees may claim lost items at work. If they do, who is responsible? Several factors play a role in determining this. The type of incident matters, for example.
This type of situation can be tricky to navigate. State laws differ. Business insurance differs as well. Here's a look at some of the scenarios that may play out.
Someone Steals an Employee's Belongings
One potential claim for businesses has to do with the loss of an employee's belongings. For example, an employee may leave a wallet or purse in a community room. Someone steals it. Does the employer maintain responsibility for the item?
In some situations, the employee can claim the employer was negligent. The negligence stems from not providing a secure place to store items, for example. A locker system, for example, may alleviate this type of claim. General liability insurance may offer that type of coverage.
An Employee's Belongings Have Damage After a Covered Incident
Another scenario involves a fire. A break room catches fire. As a result, employee belongings have damage. Does the employer maintain responsibility in this case? In this type of situation, the coverage may stem from the property insurance for the business.
Any claims made for damage in the community room can include those lost items. Some insurers may question this, especially if the items are high value. Nevertheless, this is the most likely option for covering these losses.
Keep in Mind
There are limits to coverage. A business' insurance coverage depends on the terms listed in the policy. Some policies may offer only limited coverage for employee items. Some may list them as an exclusion. In some situations, employees may still file a claim against the employer for them. For high valued items, this can lead to a liability claim or lawsuit. However, employee handbooks can help. Be sure to list employer responsibilities (or lack of them) within the handbook. This helps minimize these types of risks to the employer.
Business insurance can often help. Speak to your agent about coverage. Do not assume you have enough. Avoid claims whenever possible to keep costs low. However, losses in low valued items may not meet the company's deductible. This may mean paying for losses out of pocket. Consult with your business insurance agent for additional options and loss prevention tips.
Does your Michigan business need insurance? Let Allen Harmon Insurance help! Call us at 269.441.5156 for a free quote on a strong policy.
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