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Take Steps to Protect Your Property During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Unoccupied building

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, several state governments have issued shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders. This has led to regularly scheduled events and activities being postponed or canceled, and many buildings being unoccupied for long periods of time. It also presents a greater risk for property-related incidents, including theft, vandalism, water damage and fire. Following are some actions you can take to protect your property.


  • Notify your local police and fire departments that your building is unoccupied and request regular patrols.
  • Suspend mail and package delivery.
  • Keep the exterior of your building well-lit, including your parking lot.
  • Keep some interior lights on to deter loitering and vandalism.
  • Ensure that your alarm system is active and working.

Water Damage

  • Shutting off the water to your business can reduce the chances of frozen or burst pipes. Be sure to turn off the water and open all faucets to drain pipes; flush all toilets once to drain the tanks, but not the bowl. If you drain your pipes, be sure to turn off your water heater first.
  • Do not turn off the water supply to your building sprinkler system.
  • Check your sump pump and ensure it is working properly.
  • We partner with a company called Roost to provide eligible customers with complimentary Smart Water Leak and Freeze Detectors. These property sensors are designed to identify water leaks and temperature or humidity changes, and alert you before significant damage takes place.  More information can be found on

Building Systems

  • Unplug or disconnect non-essential electrical equipment such as computers, sound systems and cooking equipment. 
  • Keep the heat to your building at least 55 degrees to prevent water freezing in pipes.
  • Set the building air conditioning to a maximum of 85 degrees to prevent mold and excess humidity.
  • Remove all flammable materials from the building. Assure that all combustibles are stored at least 36 inches away from electrical and mechanical equipment. 
  • Ensure all automatic fire sprinkler and alarm systems are working properly.
  • Remove all perishable food items from the building, including items in refrigerators.


  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends individuals not use playground equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Signs should be posted and read: Playground is closed in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
  • If fenced, all gates should be locked.
  • If unfenced, playground equipment should be cordoned off with hazard/caution tape.

Ongoing Maintenance

  • Visit your building at least two times per week to help facilitate an easy transition once normal activities resume.
  • During your visit, thoroughly examine the exterior of your building: check the roof, doors and property to ensure there is no damage or vandalism.
  • Also examine the interior of your building to ensure all systems, including electrical, plumbing, heating and cooling, are in good working condition.

© 2023 GuideOne Insurance. GuideOne® is the registered trademark of the GuideOne Insurance Company. All rights reserved. This material is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to give specific legal or risk management advice, nor are any suggested checklists or action plans intended to include or address all possible risk management exposures or solutions. You are encouraged to retain your own expert consultants and legal advisors in order to develop a risk management plan specific to your own activities.