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The Laundromat Success Program™ helps you create a detailed plan to completely protect all aspects of your laundromat business.

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Archive for the 'Laundromat Success Program' Category

Laundromat Tenants’ Improvements and Betterments (Aka Build-out)

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018






Laundromat Tenants’ Improvements and Betterments (Aka Build-out)



Suppose that a landlord leases a storefront to a Laundromat Owner that makes improvements to the facility.  This can include plumbing, Heating, walls, floors.  It includes just about anything you pay for to make a Laundromat (other than washer/dryers).   During the lease, a fire breaks out and damages the building, including the buildout that you paid for. When the insurance claims are made, the following questions arise:

  • Who did the improvements belong to?
  • Who is responsible for paying the damages?

Defining Improvements and Betterments

While legal definitions vary, improvements and betterments are anything that a tenant attaches to the landlord’s real estate that becomes a permanent part of that real estate. Under most leases, such improvements become the property of the landlord and tenants are responsible for repairing or replacing the improvements in the event of loss. However, property policies can be customized to determine whether tenants’ improvements and betterments are covered under the building category or under the contents category.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­A Landlord’s Point of View

When a tenant makes substantial improvements and betterments to a building, it adds to the building’s value. In order to realize this added value, the landlord needs to clearly establish who is responsible for damages to that property to avoid insurance complications. In doing so, the landlord typically has to make one of the following decisions:

  1. Increase the limits of the property insurance policy to account for this extra value.
  2. Add a clause to the rental contract stating that the tenant is responsible for damages to improvements and betterments.

In the absence of one of the aforementioned decisions, the landlord may face penalties in the event that he or she has to make an insurance claim. For example, if a tenant makes $100,000 worth of improvements and betterments to a property that was initially worth $500,000, and a fire destroys the entire building, the insurance adjuster will value the property at $600,000 when processing the claim. But, since most landlords’ property policies consider improvements and betterments as covered property, the landlord may be charged an underinsured penalty if the building’s policy hasn’t been increased to reflect the amount of the improvements and betterments.

A landlord who does not wish to insure for the values of the improvements and betterments should specifically exclude them.

A Tenant’s Point of View

If the lease requires the landlord to repair or replace tenants’ improvements and betterments that become damaged, the tenant does not need to insure them. In contrast, if the lease does not require the landlord to repair or replace tenants’ improvements and betterments, tenants need to make sure they are covered under their own property policy.

Considerations When Entering a Lease

When entering into a new lease or renewal, it is critical for both landlords and tenants to carefully review the terms of the lease to ensure that it adequately delegates the responsibility for insuring tenant improvements and betterments. It is also important to make sure that each party’s insurance policy is adequate enough to properly protect the scope of the tenant improvements agreed upon in the lease. When reviewing the lease, both the landlords and tenants should discuss the following questions:

  • Who owns the improvements?
  • Who is responsible to replace the improvements if damaged?
  • Which insurance policy covers the improvements—the landlord’s or the tenant’s?
  • Is the policy adequate?

Insuring Your Improvements and Betterments

Improvements and betterments are not difficult to insure, as a building’s insurance forms automatically cover them. However, many landlords expect their tenants to insure any improvements and betterments that are made, and some landlords refuse to increase the value of their building policies to reflect the new value of such changes. Therefore, it is important to understand the insurance ramifications of tenants’ improvements and betterments.

Brooks-Waterburn Corp protects over 1,000 laundromats nationwide and can help you identify your exposures and make appropriate recommendations.



Benefits of Using Cameras in your Laundromat

Friday, December 5th, 2014





Larry Trapani
Brooks-Waterburn Corp
123 Frost St., Suite 204
Westbury, NY 11590
516-997-7957 Fax

Benefits of Using Cameras in your Laundromat

At Brooks Waterburn, we protect over 1,000 Laundromats nationwide.  With that level of customers and experience, we have settled our share of claims in both industries.

Without a doubt, the most frequent type of claim is the so called “Slip and Fall”.  In our office it represents 55% of all claims in the Laundromats.  Unfortunately, a rather large percentage of these claims are either completely false or the fault is clearly the customers.  We had one claim in a Laundromat that the mother of a young child was not paying attention as the child climbed on a chair and fell.  You, as business owner can do everything right, such as keeping floors clean or aisles clear and still suffer a loss.

These claims will lead to higher insurance premiums as well reduced coverage.  What’s a small business owner to do?  One solution is to employ a proactive strategy that uses of cameras and staff training.  While many stores already have cameras, employing the right strategy can go a long way to reducing claims and keeping your premiums down.  Here are some suggestions:LSP

  • Have cameras that cover your entire operation including “back of house”. (it goes a long way to prevent employee theft)
  • Save the data in your video feed as long as possible. (minimum 90 days)  The costs of camera equipment and data storage has gone down dramatically over the past several years.  It no longer is an expensive cost to maintain a quality video system.  The reason you should save data for at least 90 days is that claimant attorneys are waiting beyond the 30 day traditional data saving time to alert you of a potential claim.  Once the video feed is erased, your case is much weaker
  • Train your staff that if there is an incident, report it immediately. We suggest they fill out an Incident Report Form.  If you need a form, contact us and we’ll get you one.  Reporting the information while it is still fresh will ensure its accuracy.
  • Make sure your staff reports the incident to management as soon as possible. Once you are notified, review all videos available
  • Report any slip and fall incident to your insurance company or agent right away. Early reporting goes a long way to reduce the amount paid in a claim.  Sometimes it just takes a few dollars to make the claim go away.
  • Do not talk to any claimant attorney without the ok of your insurance company. Remember, these attorneys do this for a living.  They know how to get you to slip up and say the wrong thing.  You might have a claim once a year or so.  They are far better at this than you are!

Given today’s litigious society and the high cost of insurance, it pays to take some proactive steps to protect your business.  Of course Brooks Waterburn stands ready to assist you if you have any questions.  Feel free to reach out to us at 888-997-9801 or check out our website at

The Laundromat Lease Trap

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014





If you have any questions on this topic or any Laundromat insurance topic
I can be reached at 888-997-9801 or email me at 





We are an insurance agency that works exclusively with laundromat owners.
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We are an insurance agency that works exclusively with laundromat owners.

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Contact the folks at the Laundromat Success Program™ today to make sure your laundromat is safe. It will help you sleep better tonight.

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