The Rising Costs Of Storm & Weather Damage For Businesses

It is not uncommon for the UK to experience severe storms during the winter. We are often hit with heavy rain, strong winds, snow and storm-force weather conditions that can cause many issues for business owners in the form of damage to your property.

From a business owner’s point of view, storm damage can prove devastating for many reasons. Storm-force weather can damage the structure of your building, such as the roof, doors and windows. This can make your premises unsafe for your staff to work in and result in a lot of downtime for your business while you undertake the necessary repairs.

So, what do you need to do to protect your business premises from storm damage when severe weather hits? Here, we will look at how you can prepare as much as possible to limit the damage and risks bad weather can have on your business.

  1. Steps to take to prepare your business premises
  2. Risk of high winds
  3. Does insurance cover storm damage?
  4. Do I need storm damage insurance?
  5. How to make a storm damage insurance claim

Steps to take to prepare your business premises

The British weather can throw a mixed bag of elements at us that can pose a risk to your business. This can include heavy rain that makes floors wet and slippery.

If you run a brick and mortar business, place slip mats in the doorway to help prevent staff, customers and visitors from slipping on a wet floor. Keep an eye on the condition of your floors and keep them as dry and clear of debris as possible. This includes any wet leaves that may get blown through your external doors that people can slip on.

Prevent leaks and overflowing drains, and guttering by clearing away debris that can slow or stop rain from draining away. If you have old doors and windows, check that the sealant around them is sound to prevent water ingress.

If your business premises are in an area prone to flooding, keep a stock of sandbags to hand to help reduce the risk of damage from localised flooding. If you don’t have the space available to store sandbags, other flood defence options include airbricks and pumps.

Should your premises be at risk of flooding, move your inventory and equipment off the floor and onto high shelves, or move them upstairs if you have a second floor in your building.

Risk of high winds

High winds are responsible for damaging business premises, especially roofs, awnings, signs and furniture that you keep outside, such as tables, chairs and parasols. Storage sheds and warehouses with large doorways are also susceptible to damage from high winds.

But it isn’t just damage to your property that you need to worry about as a business owner. Should anything come loose or fall from your building, it may cause harm to the public and you maybe liable for injuries.

Does insurance cover storm damage?

This is a question that crosses the minds of most business owners when they hear about severe weather warnings heading their way. However, you will find that different types of business insurance will cover specific risks.

It is essential that you check your insurance policy to see what it covers and whether or not you can make an insurance claim for storm damage. In most cases, if you take out both building insurance and contents insurance, you will be covered for:

  • Building damage: Your building insurance policy will cover damage caused to your business premises. If you rent your premises, then your landlord is responsible for protecting your premises with building insurance.
  • Damage to equipment or stock: Any business inventory, essential tools and equipment, such as computer servers and IT equipment, you keep on your premises that aren’t part of the structure of the building, or a permanent fixture, is covered by your business content insurance policy.

It is also worth looking at taking out business interruption insurance to cover the losses you make during any downtime your business needs to take to carry out essential repairs and refurbishments.

Business interruption insurance is usually offered as an extra when purchasing your buildings or contents insurance. It can help cover issues such as loss of earnings and increased running costs while you get your business back on its feet.

Do I need storm damage insurance?

Most UK business owners will need employer’s liability insurance and public liability insurance to provide them with the proper coverage for their business needs.

However, as you cannot predict what the weather will do, it makes sense to cover your business against the significant costs caused by storm damage.

Storm damage to business property is more common than you think and can disrupt your business in a number of ways. Ask yourself what you would do if your business suffered from any of the following issues:

  • Building premises or stock damaged or destroyed by falling trees
  • Roof or wall damage caused by a build-up of snow
  • Roof panels or tiles removed or damaged by high winds
  • Storm-related power cuts
  • Walls being blown down
  • Water damage and leaks caused by heavy rain
  • Windows being broken by flying debris

Even if your business premises are spared from storm damage, severe weather events can affect your business in other ways. Access issues maybe caused by fallen trees or flooding, preventing staff and customers reaching your premises. This could affect deliveries, and mean you will have fewer products in stock.

Storms can also cause lengthy power cuts. For example, on 10 January 2015, over one million people across the North East of Scotland were left without power for several days when a storm took down essential power lines.

How would your business cope if this happened in your area? This is why business interruption insurance should be more than an afterthought.

How to make a storm damage insurance claim

Should the worst happen, only return to your business premises when it is safe. To help with your storm damage insurance claim, make sure you take plenty of photographs that you can submit with your insurance claim.

Contact your insurance provider as soon as possible to notify them that a storm has hit your business premises. Getting in touch as quickly as possible will prevent delays in processing your claim and getting your business back up and running.

If you rent your business premises, contact your landlord so they can assess the damage to the building and make a claim on their property insurance to cover the costs of repair.

You may be able to claim for damage caused by other extreme weather. Heavy rain, snow or hail can also cause significant damage to your property.

For business owners in the UK that are at the mercy of very unpredictable British weather events, it can help to get the right insurance in place that you know will cover you for storm damage in severe weather.

If you’re a business owner in the UK, you are at the mercy of severe weather. A comprehensive insurance policy will minimise loss, and protect your business against financial pressure.

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