By Desiree DeNunzio, Insureon Contributor
If you’re a small business owner, you’re likely aware that burglary and theft – possibly by your own employees – can take a serious toll on your bottom line. Twenty-two percent of small businesses suffered a burglary or theft in 2018, according to an Insureon survey of more than 3,000 small business owners. Burglary and theft make up 20 percent of all small business claims, according to The Hartford, with each incident costing a company $8,000 on average.
While you can’t safeguard your company completely from every potential theft and break-in, you can take steps to protect your assets and minimize the damage if an incident does occur. Here are six ways to lower your risk of burglary and theft.
1. Install an alarm system
One of the best ways to protect your business from theft, vandalism, and burglary is to install an alarm system. The presence of an alarm system is often enough to deter any would-be burglars, and it can help you keep an eye on both external and internal threats.
Alarm systems don’t have to break the bank. Most setups can be customized, and companies offer numerous low-cost options. Just make sure that the system can be controlled and monitored remotely on your smartphone, tablet, or PC, and use a UL-certified central monitoring station to monitor your alarm system 24/7.
2. Check every entry point when leaving your building or work vehicle
Most burglaries are simply a crime of opportunity – an unlocked door, keys left in vehicles, etc. Most burglars will look for open windows or unlocked doors, and if there aren’t any, they’ll move on to the next easy opportunity. To avoid becoming a victim, lock and double-check every entry point (doors and windows) when leaving your building, and ensure that your work vehicle is securely locked and that the keys are on your person.
3. Keep track of keys
Track every key issued to employees, and ensure keys are returned when employees leave your company. Limit the number of people who have keys and access to expensive equipment. The more people who have keys, the more susceptible your business is to risks. You may want to consider installing an access control system with personalized key fobs that can determine which areas of the building certain employees can enter.
4. Perform background checks
While it may seem counterintuitive, sometimes employees who commit fraud in the workplace are those who are most trusted by others. That’s why it’s essential to perform background checks on newly hired employees and contractors, particularly if they’ll be handling payments or sensitive financial information about customers and your business. A background check not only can help you make smarter hiring decisions, but it will also serve as a preventive measure against employee theft.
5. Install CCTV cameras
Closed-circuit television cameras, also known as CCTV cameras, provide businesses with video surveillance and capture images or recordings of what goes on when you’re not there. The presence of surveillance cameras can discourage would-be thieves, protect your business during operating and non-operating hours, and increase employee productivity. Store footage off-site, and place cameras in strategic locations to identify faces of customers and employees.
If you do install CCTV cameras at your business, make sure you understand the legal and privacy ramifications. Employees should be made aware of the cameras and understand why they’ve been installed in the workplace. Cameras shouldn’t be installed in break rooms, restrooms, employee lounges, or other areas where there’s a reasonable expectation of privacy.
6. Evaluate landscaping and outdoor features
In addition to indoor protection, you should pay close attention to the exterior of your building. If possible, remove obstructive features where a person could hide. Tall hedges or large bushes can obscure your building from law enforcement and provide cover for criminals. Make sure that the outside of your building is well-lit, particularly around entryways and windows, and install motion-detection lights in any particularly dark areas.
How small business insurance protects your business from burglary and theft
Theft and burglary don’t have to cut into your bottom line. In the event of an incident, these small business insurance policies can help your business recover:
- Commercial property insurance can compensate your business for supplies, equipment, inventory, and furnishings stolen from your premises. This policy protects your assets and your business space, regardless of whether it’s leased or owned.
- A business owner’s policy, also known as a BOP, bundles property insurance protection with general liability insurance – typically at a more affordable rate than if the policies were purchased separately. It offers businesses a way to save money while covering losses such as damage or theft.
- Inland marine insurance can cover certain high-value items, as well as property you own that leaves your business, such as tools you take to and from worksites. Equipment that moves from location to location, such as cameras, tools, and catering gear, typically have a higher opportunity for loss. Inland marine insurance can cover a range of items that standard property insurance policies cannot.
Insureon makes it easy to find the coverage you need to protect your business. Complete an online application to compare quotes from multiple carriers.