What to do if an employee damages your property

Une femme au travail qui consulte son ordinateur

What if you’re at a store and an employee accidentally damages your car with a shopping cart? A landscaper damages your shed while pruning a tree? The question then is, how can you get compensation for the cost of repairs or the replacement of your damaged property? Generally speaking—and barring exceptions—the company’s liability insurance will compensate you in such situations.

Here, we teach you more about business liability and the compensation process when an employee of a company damages your property.

Business liability explained

Just like you, companies can take out liability insurance to cover property damage or unintentional bodily injury caused to others. In their case, this coverage is included in their business insurance and applies to their business activities.

So, if you suffer bodily injury or damage to your property as a result of a company’s activities, including accidental acts by employees either on or off the company’s premises, you have the right to seek compensation. In such situations, if the company is found liable, its liability insurance could cover not only compensation for damage or injury caused to you, but also your legal fees and costs.

Employee damage: Examples of common incidents

Company employees are not immune to mishaps. Fortunately, you now know that the liability insurance of the company they work for covers any damage or injury you may suffer as a result of their unintentional actions. Here are some situations where an employer’s liability could be involved:

On the premises of a business

1. A grocery store employee hits and damages your vehicle while it’s parked on the premises with a shopping cart.

2. A hardware store employee helps you carry the wood you bought and damages the body of your car while trying to put the wood in your trunk.

Off the premises of a business

Even if you’re not on the premises, the business may be liable in the following examples:

1. A landscaper cuts down a tree on your property, but falling branches cause damage to your shed.

2. A contractor inspects your home for renovation projects and knocks over a shelf during their visit.

In such situations, you can make a claim to cover the cost of repairing or replacing your damaged property. Your insurer will compensate you, subject to the limitations, conditions, and exclusions of your insurance policy, and then claim the costs from the insurer of the company at fault. Read on to learn more about the claims process in such cases.

Steps for getting compensation when an employee damages your property

Want to make a claim to cover the cost of repairing or replacing property damaged by an employee of a company you did business with? Here’s how:

1. After assessing the damage, take pictures of your damaged property and the situation, if applicable.

2. Immediately report the incident to the company manager. If you’re on the premises, go inside and ask to see the manager. If you’re at home, call the company’s customer service department.

3. Ask the person in charge for the company’s business insurance policy number.

4. Contact your insurer to report the incident and find out how to get compensation. If the damage was to your car, contact your car insurer. If any of your personal property (shed, front of your property, camera, laptop, etc.) was damaged, contact your home insurer.

Good to know

When you insure your principal residence, damage to your property will often be compensated based on the “cost of repair or replacement without deduction for depreciation,” commonly referred to as the “replacement cost.” In such cases, compensation is the lesser cost of either restoring the property to its original condition or purchasing new property of similar type and quality, without taking into account depreciation. This allows you to adequately replace your damaged property.

However, business liability insurance reimburses the value of your damaged property at the time of the loss. This means compensation takes into account the depreciation of the property and is based on the cost of purchasing replacement property in a condition comparable to that of the damaged property.

So there could be a difference between the replacement cost and the value at the time of the loss. Your claim could have an impact on your insurance file or you could have to pay a deductible to repair the damage, subject to the limitations, conditions, and exclusions of your insurance policy.

We’re here to help!

Have questions about personal or business liability insurance? Feel free to contact one of our damage insurance representatives !