The University obtains insurance or self-insures against losses or damage to University property. Departments that suffer damages are encouraged to protect University owned property from further damage and must cooperate with Risk Management to promptly investigate, settle, and mitigate the extent of property claims. University employees' personal property, whether used to perform assigned duties or not, is not covered by UVM insurance. It is your sole responsibility to maintain adequate property insurance.

Property Damage

Suggestions to Minimize Property Losses

  • Keep your departmental inventory list updated. Include location of the equipment and who is responsible for maintenance, daily checks, etc.
  • Back up computer data on university servers.
  • Establish a check out system for all equipment loaned or removed. If an item is taken out of storage and its location and intended date of return is not documented, it will be difficult to show an actual theft of the equipment. Without evidence of theft, a missing item becomes a case of "Mysterious Disappearance" which is not covered by insurance.
  • Make sure property is secured when not in use. If your equipment or property is publicly accessible after hours, consider a check-in point with a responsible person monitoring use and activity. Post notification of proper use of and care for the equipment.
  • Keep rooms or offices locked when unoccupied.
  • Report all maintenance problems, such as water leaks, to Service Operations at 656-2560.

Theft Protection

Be sure your office or laboratory is locked by the last person to leave the area at the end of the day. Distribute keys to authorized personnel only. Students’ or employees’ private possessions which are stored on campus are not covered under University insurance policies.

Consider bolting expensive equipment such as computers and audiovisual equipment to stationery objects to discourage theft.

Maintain accurate inventories of all equipment valued over $1,000.00. This will speed the replacement of equipment if stolen because a record exists and the loss can be substantiated.
The University’s Asset inventory control system centrally tracks only equipment whose value is greater than $5,000.00.

Establish a check-out system for any equipment loaned or removed. Without evidence of theft, a missing item becomes a case of "mysterious disappearance," which is not covered by insurance.

Preventing Water Damage

Do not store expensive equipment in basements susceptible to seepage.  Keep equipment on pallets or store on shelves.  Cover expensive equipment at the end of each day. Do not leave lab sink faucets running.

Be sure to close all windows at the end of the day for security reasons.  This can also help to prevent the freezing of pipes in the winter, which can lead to serious water damage.

Report all maintenance problems, including water leaks, to Service Operations Support at 656-2560 and Press “1” or online through FAMIS.

Fire Prevention

Be fire safety conscious! Do not use extension cords for long term use or space heaters. Be sure to turn off all appliances when an office is unoccupied. Become familiar with the use of a fire extinguisher in order to put out fires smaller than a waste paper basket. Don’t accumulate combustibles in storage areas and/or hallways.

Protecting Your Research

Materials that have been developed in a research project cannot be purchased and may be irreplaceable, depending on the stage of the research project.  The results of damage also include the potential loss of future grants and the costs generated to recreate the research.

The most frequent causes of loss in a laboratory are:

  1. Human error – unplugging the wrong equipment or not changing the coolant in a freezer
  2. Equipment malfunction – compressors, freezers, circuit breaker tripping or even a cyber attack
  3. Fire arising from ignitable liquids and gases
  4. Water intrusion

Methods to protect/minimize research losses in a lab:

  1. Freezer Protection: Install temperature alarms that will trigger when temperatures rise above the minimum required. Conduct a daily check of freezers to assure that they are maintaining temperature. When power outages occur, be sure to notify Physical Plant at 656-2560 of freezers containing critical and expensive research materials that may need to be temporarily relocated or hooked up to temporary generator power. Keep an accurate inventory of each freezer and update the inventory annually. Post emergency contact information on each freezer.
  2. Keep critical equipment connected to back-up generator plugs
  3. Good housekeeping to prevent accumulation of combustibles
  4. Daily visual inspections of key equipment and establish a preventative maintenance schedule