According to the Hartford, wind and hail damage account for 15% of all small business insurance claims, with an average claim cost of $26,000.
Fortunately, business insurance can help cover you in the event your property does get damaged by wind or hail, so it really pays to make sure you have the right coverage in place. In addition to ensuring your covered, you can also take many easy and inexpensive measure to keep your business safe from the next storm that blows in. Safeguard your business with these tips and preventative measures:
Inspect your building’s roof
Your roof is the “first line of defense” against wind and hail, but also the most vulnerable part of your building. Storm season typically begins in the spring and also occurs throughout the fall so it is a good idea to inspect your roof both seasons. It may be a good idea to hire a licensed, bonded, and insured roofing professional to help you perform a commercial roofing inspection to make sure your roof is in it’s best shape. Here are some things they will be checking for (it can be a good idea for you to keep an eye out for these throughout the rainy seasons):
- Aging or weathering of roofing materials
- Loose or missing shingles
- Bubbles, tears, or crack in the roof
- A loose lightning protection system that could detach and damage the roof in strong winds
- Skylights that are not well sealed, which could let rain into the building during high winds
- Gaps in rooftop vents
- Debris on the roof that could damage the roofing materials over time
Evaluate your landscaping
Strong winds can cause a lot of damage to your buildings or other property. Here are a few things you can do to avoid that damage:
- Swap out pea gravel or small rocks in your garden/driveway for items that won’t break windows or dent siding in a windstorm. You can substitute soft mulch for placement around flowers and shrubs and consider switching a gravel drive to asphalt or cement.
- Check for trees that are in danger of toppling over (signs include: leaning, having large hollow trunk spaces, obvious decay, shallow root systems, or mushroom growth that could indicate rot).
- Be on the lookout for limbs that could fall on your property (signs include: limbs that are cracked, hanging over a building or power lines, or too close to electrical wires or poles).
- Hire a certified arborist who can thoroughly check your landscaping for any of the things mentioned above and recommend any necessary steps to prune, stabilize or remove unsafe trees.
Install impact-resistant windows to prevent shattering.
Bring outside equipment and valuables indoors if a storm is expected.
Secure outside objects
Large, heavy objects also can turn into dangerous projectiles in strong winds. Some of these items include heavy trash receptacles, outdoor furniture, exterior lights, and signs. FEMA recommends you hire a qualified contractor to secure these items using ground anchors and cables or chains. Use chains to attach lids to garbage cans. If you’ve got a fence on your property, make sure it’s in good repair, with no loose boards that could get dislodged by wind.
Keep yourself and your employees safe.
Stay away from windows and in a basement or storm shelter if possible.
- Protect company vehicles
Secure all company vehicles by storing them inside a garage, carport or storage building. Basic metal carports are available for purchase for as low as a few hundred dollars. If you do not have a secure parking area and it is not feasible to buy a carport, make sure you park your vehicle safely. Never park your vehicle under a tree and be aware of things that could cause additional damage such as branches, lampposts and power lines.
At Jessica Liu Insurance Services, we take great pride in the quality of service we provide our customers. We are always ready to help whether you need assitance filinf a claim, processing a payment, or just understanding your coverage and insurance needs. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected! Just give us a call at 415-386-2283 or send us a note at [email protected]