A warehouse is a commercial building for storage of goods. Warehouses are used by manufacturers, importers, exporters, wholesalers, transport businesses, customs, etc.

A warehouse can be built of hollow masonry or concrete panels. The steel used in construction can collapse when exposed to high temperatures. The collapse can cause other property damage. Protecting the steel supports by placing sprinkler heads close by will help to minimize this risk.

A warehouse is usually a large plain building in industrial areas of cities and towns. The year built, type of structure, fire resistance, crime protection, and use of the building will all help determine the rate for insurance.

If you are the tenant of such a building then it is wise to have your agent or broker review the lease. The lease will declare what insurance coverage you should consider which could include damage for theft or attempted theft, glass, improvements and betterment.

How can I reduce my insurance premiums?
Some other things to consider which might contribute to fire loss in a warehouse structure include:

  • The layout of the warehouse needs to be considered. Storage areas should have separate fire divisions for different commodities based on their fire hazard. The storage room needs to be separated by fire resistant walls from other areas such as the boiler room, machine shop or garage. If there is highly flammable liquids then they should be stored in a separate building at least 50 feet from any other structure. Anything that might give off harmful fumes when ignited should not be stored in a basement area. If there are aerosol cans then they need special consideration for automatic heat and smoke venting and restrained placement with sprinklers.
  • Has there been a change in occupancy or use in the warehouse since the original fire protection system was installed?
  • How many stories is the building? The shape of the building can facilitate access by fire fighters. Is the outside of the building clear of debris and does it provide easy access to the responding fire department?
  • How is the storage set up for goods on pallets? High piles of pallets will result in greater losses due to fire spreading faster vertically then horizontally. Empty pallets should be removed from the main building and stored off site, perhaps in a small building specific to that purpose.
  • A Slip and Fall program should be in place to reduce claims as part of the safety program.