Managing Losses

What Is Loss Control?

The process of identifying and mitigating situations that may lead to losses is called "loss control." Loss control may involve both simple and complex ways to reduce the likelihood of facing a loss. Loss control can also be use methods to minimize losses that may not be totally avoided. Often, insurance is purchased for handling losses.

Besides insurance, you can choose to use protective devices, oral or written contracts to shift loss consequences, avoid ownership of items that may cause a loss (such as large pets, vehicles or firearms), avoid dangerous hobbies and activities, or change your environment.

For individuals, losses and being held financially for losses an individual may cause to others spring from what one owns (or controls) and what one does. Let's look at some areas where you might exercise loss control.

Loss Control - Automobile

  • Use a bike or public transportation instead of owning your own car
  • Borrow or rent a car only when needed
  • Take a course on defensive or advanced driving skills
  • Practice defensive driving
  • Obey traffic laws
  • Avoid driving distractions such as texting
  • When appropriate, voluntarily yield right of way
  • Adjust driving habits according to driving conditions
  • Park or store your car where there is greater security
  • Install security alarm and/or other anti-theft devices
  • Properly maintain the car in good condition, especially safety devices such as brakes
  • Purchase or use cars that have higher safety ratings
  • Don't lend your car to inexperienced or inconsiderate drivers
  • Have an emergency kit available, including first aid

Loss Control - Home

  • Keep your home and surrounding access ways in good repair
  • Carefully store flammable liquids and dangerous chemicals
  • Install security alarm and/or other anti-theft devices
  • Consider an apartment or condo which avoids certain risks of home ownership
  • Warn visitors about any known hazards in your home
  • Avoid running a business from your home
  • Take precautions when your premises includes attractive nuisances such as play sets, trampolines, tree houses and swimming pools
  • Keep dangerous objects out of the reach of children
  • Carefully scrutinize activities that may create a bigger exposure to loss such as dangerous hobbies or highly visible activities (volunteer work for organizations that may create extra chances for losses)
  • If you are involved in high risk hobbies or activities, get the training and/or take precautions to be sure that your participation is as safe and responsible as possible
  • Take care with heating and electrical devices and systems (such as portable heaters, loads on electrical circuits, etc.)
  • Keep first aid kit available
  • Have a fire escape plan, including any needed safety devices (such as escape ladders from second floor exits)

Loss Control - Miscellaneous

  • Store important papers in a secure, fire-resistance box or even in the corner of a freezer.
  • Keep all the negatives of photos, so they can be reproduced
  • Make digital recordings of personal property as documentation of your possessions
  • Make copies of personal videos or digital property.
  • Be sure to carefully read contracts or agreements before accepting them
  • Arrange to exchange and keep important papers and mementos such as copies of videos and photos with friends so they're easier to access and less expensive than storing in a safety deposit box

Of course the help of an expert is invaluable and your insurance agent is a very helpful source for reviewing any actions you're considering to reduce your chances of facing a loss. So contact your agent for his or her expert assistance.