It pays to be proactive! It’s also important to make sure you have the right insurance.
- It looks like it may be another higher-than-average hurricane season, and storms are lasting longer and can be more powerful after landfall.
- Get ahead of the storms by making sure you have all essential business insurance policies.
- You need a business survival plan to recover as quickly as possible. That includes safeguarding your location, your possessions, and your people.
- It’s important to know that your business insurance policies aren’t going to cover flooding, so obtaining a flood policy now is vitally important – there’s at least a 30-day waiting period once you begin coverage.
- If your business suffers hurricane damage, the first thing to do after making sure your property and employees are safe and secure is to reach out to your insurance agent. The faster you file a claim, the faster you’ll be back in business.
Hurricane season in Florida is on the way. August and September are usually the most active months for these storms, which means you have time to prepare for what is looking to be yet another higher-than-average season. When it comes to your business, it’s important to know the potential risks, the steps you can take to prevent or mitigate damage, and the insurance coverage you should have if the worst happens.
Hurricanes are lasting longer and are more powerful once they reach land. In the 1960s, once a hurricane made landfall, it lost 75% of its power. Fast forward to today, and that same strength hurricane is only decaying 50%. Scary statistics, but you can get ahead of the storm.
While there’s usually plenty of advanced notice of potential landfall, early planning will mean you’re fully prepared and won’t have to do any last-minute scrambling to make sure your business location, equipment, and inventory are protected. This proactive approach can prevent you from being one of the 40% of small businesses that don’t reopen after natural disaster damage.
It’s time for a business survival plan that includes the insurance coverage you need to survive the storm and thrive in its aftermath. We’ll talk about ways to safeguard your property and everything inside, the policies to have, and how to make claims regarding storm damage.
Safeguard your physical location
If you rent space for your business, it’s important to talk with your landlord about steps to protect it. If you own the building, take these steps to ensure you’ve done your best to mitigate any damage:
- Install shutters or use plywood to protect windows and doors from flying debris.
- Call a roofer to evaluate your roof to make sure it can stand up to a storm.
- Remove potential hazards in the form of branches or trees near your building that could fall and create damage
- Use sandbags to keep water out if you are in an area subject to flooding
These are steps you probably take at home and they are equally important for your business.
Secure what’s inside
If wind or water enter your building, you want to make sure you’ve done what you can to protect the contents of your business. Anchoring and bracing large furniture like bookcases and filing cabinets is a good start. Also:
- Remove valuable or fragile items.
- Strap down computers and other office equipment so they don’t become dangerous flying objects or float away in a flood.
- Scan important documents so that they won’t be damaged by water and then seal them in waterproof containers.
- Be sure to back up computers either to the cloud or a remote location so you can quickly continue business after the storm.
It’s also important to have a complete list of contacts that are crucial to your business, such as your employees, attorneys, accountants, vendors, etc. Speaking of your employees, there are steps you should take to make sure they are safe as well.
Create a disaster preparedness kit
Hurricanes create flooding and spawn other windstorms. Flash floods can sweep through with little notice, and tornadoes can wreak havoc in an instant. If you are at your place of business, there may not be time for everyone to leave and get to a safe place. Gather and place these items in a safe location inside your business just in case.
Include emergency contact information for everyone and be sure your insurance company and agent’s information are on that list. Purchase a battery-operated radio or TV, as well as flashlights, batteries, and light sticks. Make sure there’s petty cash on hand just in case further supplies are needed and electricity is out. Also, add to your kit:
- One gallon of water per person per day for a total of a three-day supply
- Blankets, pillows, cots, chairs
- A first aid kit with a manual
- Tarps, plastic bags, and duct tape along with cleaning supplies
- A three-day supply of non-perishable food for yourself and each employee
You’ll also want to make sure you have fire extinguishers, a basic tool kit, and containers you can put water in for washing. This all sounds like a daunting task, but because you’re starting early, by the time the start of hurricane season comes around on June 1, you’ll be confident that you’re prepared for whatever happens because you’ve fortified your property, protected your business assets, provided for your employees, and, importantly, made sure you have the right insurance in place.
The right insurance makes all the difference when it comes to hurricanes
Hurricane season in Florida adds another element of risk to your business, so it’s important that you have the right business insurance. This includes all the usuals: commercial auto, commercial property, general liability, workers comp, loss of income, professional liability, employment practices liability (EPLI), and of course commercial umbrella. As you read this list, if you don’t have all of these essential coverages, reach out to your agent.
What’s missing in all of the important policies you need to protect your business is flood insurance. You see, it’s not part of your commercial property insurance. It’s something you need to purchase now, before hurricane season, because most policies take at least 30 days to take effect after you purchase one.
Flood insurance is available through your insurance agent via a federal government program. Flood insurance covers damage to both your building and its contents caused by flooding, including hurricanes. It also can cover mold/mildew damage resulting from flooding.
Filing a claim for hurricane damage to your Florida business
When a hurricane strikes, your most important consideration is your property and your people. After the storm has passed, you can follow these steps to begin your recovery:
- Contact your insurance agent immediately
- Document your losses with photos and videos
- Make only repairs that are necessary for safety and security
- File your claim right away
Be sure to round up any relevant business records and receipts, a detailed record of repair expenses, and keep everything organized. An adjuster will review all of your information and your policy, determine coverage, and get estimates for repairs. Remember, the more information you can supply, the faster your claim will be settled, and you’ll be back in business in no time!
Don’t let your business be blown away by a hurricane. Call Avante today!
Don’t risk your business. Make sure you’re completely covered in the event of any disaster. At Avante, we’ll work with you to build the complete coverage you need with a deductible that works for you. Reach out today, because you never know what tomorrow will bring. At Avante, we’re always standing by.
This blog and website are made available by the publisher for educational and informational purposes only. It is not to be used as a substitute for competent insurance, legal, or tax advice from a licensed professional in your state.