If you’ve got a plan in place to protect your historic property, then there’s less that you’ll have to worry about. There’s three key areas that one should focus on in order to reduce losses: documentation, effective building maintenance and proper risk transfer. Once you’ve pinpointed your historic property and obtained it, the following should be completed (including after any major changes occur) in order to ensure that the property and its rich history will be protected for years to come.
When you’re taking care of your property, documentation always comes first. Keeping physical property and personal property documents will make replacement and repair after a loss that much easier. Without these key documents, it’s hard to prove the validity of a historical property to the National Historic Society or Register.
All files should be up-to-date and kept in order. If you experience a loss, you’re going to need site plans, property layouts and diagrams in order to keep things accurate. On top of documents, you’re going to want to have photographs. They are incredibly important to the replacement process. If there’s a theft, a photograph might be all you have to identify missing items.
Other things you need are copies of valuations and receipts; and, if you can, keep your information on a disc or hard copy. Have a fire-proof copy and an electronic copy for backup. Keeping a version outside of the home is beneficial as well. The final documentation you’ll need is the replacement costs for certain historical items, which can change with the years, as well as documentation of your historic commercial property insurance policy.
The next thing that should be done to protect your property is making sure that your property is well kept. This includes electrical systems, plumbing, the roof and HVAC. Electrical systems have to deal with fire, while plumbing systems can deteriorate and crack with age, as well as develop mold.
Roof systems have to be maintained because they are almost the entire soul of the house. Serious damage can be done to a structure and the contents without a sufficient roof. Each roofing system is different: there’s wooden thatch, ceramic tile, or metal. Keeping the system properly maintained can prevent major water, wind and mold damage; it also controls power as well as heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC).
HVAC systems, if the building has one at all, also have to be maintained in order to control costs. Other ways you can make sure that your building is being upheld properly include infrared thermography, which can help determine problems with roofs in addition to electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems. Infrared can detect hot spots with electrical work, as well as water damage in roof systems and areas where heating and air conditioning might be escaping the building due to structural damage.
The final task for protecting your property includes risk transfer. This includes obtaining certificates of insurance, having contracts reviewed prior to signing, using reputable contractors and having at least $1 million in general liability coverage with a policy number attached.