A lease agreement is a binding contract between the lessor and the lessee. Do you know what you are agreeing to when you sign that lease? It might surprise you to learn that, depending on the type of lease, you have certain responsibilities that put you at financial risk—risk that isn’t covered by your commercial insurance policy.
Before signing, read every provision of the contract carefully to make sure you are not agreeing to financial responsibilities you are unprepared to cover. Better yet, ask your insurance agent or broker to review the lease before you sign it to verify that your insurance policy will cover the exposures you agree to carry.
Oftentimes, business owners think they need their insurance policy to simply list the landlord as “additional insured,” and they do not review the lease requirements with their insurance professional. In the event of a claim, the insurance carrier may ask for a copy of that lease. If the business has agreed to something that is not consistent with its commercial insurance policy, coverage can be denied.
As you review the lease provisions, carefully inspect maintenance and property duties, “additional insured” requests, and hold harmless and indemnification agreements. Your lease should play a critical role in how your commercial insurance policy is written.