The Business Insurance Bureau

Commercial Insurance Do's & Don't's


In this page you will find some great bites of information in regards to understanding commercial insurances, what is involved and what the best options might be for you to learn or expand your information on.

Duty of Disclosure

DO inform your insurer of any inaccuracies, and disclose all material facts whether or not the subject of a specific question, as failure to do so may invalidate your contract of insurance or result in a claim being rejected


DO notify your insurer if there is any material alteration to your circumstances

Premium Payment

DO ensure your premium is paid in full within the specified timescale

DON’T default on your direct debit / monthly repayments

Survey & Forms

DO complete all survey requirements, proposal forms and periodic declaration forms within the specified timescales

Reasonable Precautions

DO maintain your premises and all equipment

DO take all reasonable precautions for the safety of your property insured and to prevent loss, destruction, damage, accident or injury

DO comply with all statutory requirements and regulations

DO keep books with a complete record of purchases and sales

DO take all precautions to minimise the cost of claims or legal proceedings


DO notify your insurer if any part of your premises becomes unoccupied or tenanted, or when any unoccupied part becomes reoccupied


DO notify your insurers if scaffolding is being erected around buildings you own or occupy. Insurers vary the terms of policy coverage during the period scaffolding is erected. It is best to know and understand the terms

Property Insurance Guidance


In respect of buildings or parts thereof which are unoccupied:-

DO make the buildings secure against illegal entry
DO inspect the buildings in accordance with your insurer’s terms (e.g. weekly) and immediately repair any damage
DO switch off all services at the mains and drain where applicable
DO remove all combustible debris and waste from the premises
DO board / seal all windows and letter flaps


DON’T allow smoking on your premises

DO display prominent signs to this effect
If smoking is allowed in specifically designated external areas:-

DO provide appropriate receptacles for waste materials and keep these a safe distance from the buildings

Premises Inspection

In respect of premises or parts thereof to which the public has access:-

DO carry out a thorough examination of the buildings for smouldering matches, tobacco or other material at the close of each business day


DO store all oily / greasy waste and used cleaning cloths in accordance with your insurer’s terms (e.g. in metal receptacles)
DO remove all combustible trade waste and refuse from the buildings in accordance with your insurer’s terms (e.g. daily, weekly)


DO inspect and clean your kitchen, including grease traps, at regular intervals in accordance with your insurer’s terms (e.g. weekly)
DO keep appropriate fire extinguishing appliances in the kitchen area
DO store, and remove from your premises, waste and batter scraps before disposal in accordance with your insurer’s terms (e.g. in metal receptacles with metal lids)

In respect of fixed frying and cooking equipment:-

DO arrange for a service and ‘deep clean’ of the range, motor, fan, and the ventilation extraction ducting by a competent service engineer in accordance with your insurers terms (e.g. quarterly, every six months or annually)
DON’T leave the range unattended when draining or filtering oil from the frying range whilst power by gas or electricity is on In respect of portable frying and cooking equipment:-
DON’T leave such equipment unattended by the operator when being used for the heating of oil or during cooking

Fire Proof Doors

DO keep all fire-proof doors and shutters closed except during working hours
DO keep all fire-proof doors in efficient working order
DON’T obstruct Fire Exit Doors

Portable Heaters

DON’T use, or store, paraffin, gas or LPG heaters or containers on your premises unless specifically agreed by your insurer prior to such use or storage

Fixed Electrical Installations

DO arrange an inspection of all electrical circuits by qualified electrical engineers in accordance with your  insurer’s terms (e.g. every three years, every five years) and immediately remedy any defects found
DO retain the electrical inspection certificate as evidence

Portable Electrical Appliances

DO maintain, and arrange a periodic inspection / test of, all portable electrical appliances in accordance with your insurer’s terms (e.g. annually by an approved contractor) and immediately remedy any defects found

Fire Extinguishing Appliances

DO maintain, and arrange a periodic inspection / test of, all portable electrical appliances in accordance with your insurer’s terms (e.g. annually by an approved contractor) and immediately remedy any defects found

Automatic Sprinkler Systems

DO maintain and test the installation in accordance with your insurer’s terms and
immediately repair any defects

DO notify your insurer immediately if the installation is rendered inoperative
DO allow your insurer access to inspect the installation if required


DO carry out all work involving use of flammables in accordance with your insurer’s terms
DO store flammables in accordance with your insurer’s terms

Laundrette & Dry Cleaning

DO use a “cool down system” (if available) for at least seven minutes at the end of each cycle
DON’T leave dryers running unattended
DON’T leave clothing in a dryer when the shop is empty
DO air items taken out of the dryer on a non-combustible surface until completely cooled
DO make sure that all dry clothing is under constant supervision for at least an hour after it has been removed from the dryer

Forklift Trucks

DON’T store combustible materials within a certain distance of the recharging area in accordance with your insurer’s terms (e.g. 2 metres)

Storage In the Open

DON’T store combustible materials within a certain distance of the buildings in accordance with your insurer’s terms (e.g. 2 metres)

Hot Work Permit

DO ensure that a hot work permit (in the form set out in Loss Prevention Recommendation RC7 published by the Fire Protection Association) is completed jointly by the person responsible for carrying out the work and your safety officer or nominated person
DO ensure compliance with the precautions and systems of work shown on the designated hot work permit

Flat Roof

DO carry out a periodic inspection of your flat roof in accordance with your insurer’s terms (e.g. annually) and make good any remedial maintenance required

Valley Gutters

DO inspect and clear valley gutters in accordance with your insurer’s terms (e.g. every six months)

Composite panels

DO comply with your insurer’s terms regarding fire protections, inspections, use or storage of heat sources or combustible stock or waste, work involving the application of heat


DO store all stock on racks, pallets or stillages in accordance with your insurer’s terms (e.g. at least 10cm above floor level)

Security Protections

DO make sure that, whenever your premises are closed for business or left unattended, all security devices provided to protect the premises are properly fitted and put into full operation
DO notify your insurer if such protections are withdrawn or varied to the detriment of the interests of your insurer

Intruder Alarm

DO make sure that your intruder alarm system is installed and maintained in accordance with your insurer’s terms
DO put the intruder alarm system into full and effective operation whenever your premises is closed for business and/or unoccupied
DO notify your insurer if you have been officially notified by the police or intruder alarm company that they no longer answer calls from your alarm system
DO notify your insurer when the maintenance contract with the alarm company is for any reason cancelled or suspended


DO notify your insurer immediately of any demolition, groundworks, excavation or construction being carried out on any adjoining site.

Frozen Food (deterioration of stock)

DO enter into a maintenance contract in respect of any refrigerating units which do not have hermetically sealed motors and compressors upon expiry of any guarantee period.


DO keep a complete record of the money and non negotiable documents
DO deposit such record in a secure place other than in the safes and strongrooms containing the money and non negotiable documents
DO keep the safes and strongrooms locked outside business hours and make sure that the keys of the safes and strongrooms are not left on the premises (unless the premises are resided by you in which case they shall be deposited in a secure place not in the vicinity of the safe.)


DO transport and accompany money in accordance with your insurer’s terms, e.g.:

1 person accompanies up to£2500:00

2 people accompany up to£5,000:00

3 people accompany up to£7,500:00

Above £10,000:00 a security company conduct the transit.

Goods In Transit

DON’T leave goods in unattended vehicles unless you comply with your insurer’s terms regarding security protections
DO maintain in good order all vehicles, trailers, containers and protective devices
DON’T vary or withdraw security protections without written consent by your insurer

Book Debts

DO keep all books of account (or other business books or records in which customers’ accounts are shown) in fire resisting safes or fire resisting cabinets when not in use.

Loss Of License

DO notify your insurer of any change in circumstances which may affect the application or renewal of any licence

Liability Insurance Guidance

Business Activities – Restrictions

DON’T carry out any business activities which have not been disclosed by you to your insurer

DON’T work above any height limit detailed within your policy (e.g. 10 metres, 4 storeys)

DON’T work below any depth limit detailed within your policy (e.g. 1 metre, 3 metres)

Unless the activity is already expressly covered within the wording of your policy, DON’T carry out any work at height, at depth, involving the application of heat, involving hazardous locations or hazardous substances unless the activity has been disclosed to and agreed by your insurer

Personal protective Equipment

DO ensure that the use or wearing of Personal Protective Equipment by any Person Employed is rigorously enforced and that Personal Protective Equipment is supplied to the Person Employed and that a formal record is maintained confirming receipt of such equipment

Bona Fide Sub Contractors

DO check that each of your sub-contractors has their own liability insurance policy in force and that it provides:-

Employers’ liability coverage with a limit of indemnity of not less than £10,000,000 any one occurrence (if required by law)

Public liability coverage with an indemnity limit of not less than the limit(s) provided by your policy

An indemnity to you as principal

DON’T assume by agreement any liability or potential liability that would not have attached to you in the absence of such agreement, including but not limited to, the assumption of any liability or potential liability on behalf of any bona fide sub contractor, or the waiver of any rights of recourse against any bona fide sub contractor

Use Of Heat

DO comply with your insurer’s terms regarding the work involving the application of heat at or away from your premises

Use of equipment by members of the public

DO inspect all equipment in accordance with your insurer’s terms and immediately repair any defects found

DO ensure that all equipment is used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions

Fork Lift Truck

DO ensure that operatives complete a training / refresher course regarding the safe use of fork lift trucks in accordance with your insurer’s terms

DO retain appropriate documentation verifying completion thereof

Motor Insurance Guidance

All commercial insurance policies have conditions which make the cover provided conditional upon some behavioural input from you, the policyholder. These conditions have names like ‘Warranties’ or ‘Conditions Precedent to Liability’ or sometimes simply ‘Policy Conditions’.

In simple terms, these boil down to a list of “Do’s and Don’ts” and we have given below the gist of some of the more common ones. This is, of course, a working synopsis, and you should refer to your own policy documentation for a complete interpretation.


DO notify your insurer of all ‘unspent’ motoring convictions (e.g. shown on the current licence) for any drivers of your vehicle(s)

DO notify your insurer of all medical conditions etc notifiable to the DVLA for any drivers of your vehicle(s)

DO notify your insurer of all accidents and claims within the last 5 years for any drivers of your vehicle(s)

DO check licences for all drivers of your vehicle(s) at least once a year and keep a copy on file

DO notify your insurer if you intend to authorise persons to drive who are not automatically covered by your insurance (e.g. a 20 year old if your insurance cover has an ‘over 25s’ driving restriction)

DON’T authorise persons to drive your vehicle(s) unless you are satisfied that they are licensed and competent to drive the vehicle(s)


DO notify your insurer of any proposed change of vehicle or change of use prior to the date and time of the change

DO ensure that the certificate of motor insurance is in the same name as shown on the V5 registration document as Registered Keeper

DO ensure that your vehicle(s) are kept in a roadworthy condition

DO notify your insurer if you modify your vehicle(s) from the manufacturer’s standard specification

Motor Insurance Database

If you, rather than your insurer, are responsible for maintaining your details in the Motor Insurance Database (MID):-

DO ensure that all details are accurate and up to date

The Police can seize any vehicle where they have reasonable grounds to believe it is uninsured. They make over 2 million MID enquiries each month.


Many people think that it is culturally acceptable to make motor insurance arrangements that incorporate members of their family or employees on more favourable terms than would be routinely available without their own involvement in ‘fronting’ the insurance.

For example, saying that you own, drive and keep a car that is in reality exclusively driven by your 19 year old student son or daughter who lives in another city attending university, is deception tantamount to fraud, which is how your insurer will treat it.

In motor insurance, small acts of twisting the facts are a catastrophic mistake: lives are ruined by motor vehicle accidents, often involving young drivers – leaving a young person inadequately insured may be the worst favour you can do them.


DO make sure that all the information concerning ownership, registration, drivers, occupation and residence and all other relevant information is truthfully and adequately disclosed and described.