Hurricane season is here and for businesses, that could mean detrimental consequences should a storm come through. Business owners can be prepared, though, by reviewing their commercial building insurance before a storm comes in.
What to Know About Commercial Building Insurance
The Necessity of Commercial Building Insurance
Whether you own or lease the building you do business out of, you will most likely be required to have commercial building insurance. This is a good idea as it gives you and/or the building owner peace of mind should something happen.
Should an insurance policy need to be enacted, business owners can count on items to be replaced such as:
- The building itself
- Office furniture or equipment inside the building
It’s important to note the big difference whether you own or are renting the building — renters will only ensure everything inside the building, while the owner of the building will need insurance for the actual physical structure.
Most commercial building insurance policies have exclusions — meaning something that the insurance company can’t cover in certain circumstances. Most policies will cover instances such as:
- Wind damage
However, having wind damage listed on your commercial building insurance policy does not necessarily mean damages to your building will be covered during a hurricane. Read on to learn why.
Business Owners who Work From Home
With more people working from home than ever before, it’s important for business owners to understand how their homeowner’s insurance comes into play should a hurricane come through.
Most homeowner’s policies will not cover business expenses should the worst happen. The only way business expenses could be covered is if the business is conducted in one section of the house, and that section of the home has the appropriate rider (or additional amendment) on the insurance policy. It’s important to note, though, that most homeowner insurance riders do not offer as much coverage as a business owner taking out a commercial building insurance policy.
Hurricane and Flood Insurance Riders
Having additional riders specifically focused on hurricanes or flooding is critical for business owners who live near the coast, as hurricanes and flooding are usually considered standard exclusions. By having hurricane and flooding coverage, you’re most likely to be covered should a hurricane or flooding from a hurricane occur.
Additionally, another rider business owners should look into for a worst-case scenario would be business interruption insurance. Having this rider can help business owners pay expenses if they weren’t able to open their business for an extended period of time. Usually, this rider can be bundled with other insurances, so while it would cost a little more each month for this insurance, the payoff is worth it should a business owner ever need it.
Along with making sure you have the proper insurance, here are other best practices business owners should utilize as hurricane season approaches:
- Think about your employees and customers first. If a storm is approaching, is it best to keep your employees at work, or should they get home to stay safe? Additionally, is it important to keep your business open to customers, plus, how many customers will actually come to your business if a storm is on the way? Make smart business decisions that keep you, your employees, and customers all safe.
- Gather information that is important for your day-to-day operations. By having this information available, you won’t need to find it after the storm and you’ll eliminate the chance of this information getting destroyed by the storm.
- Gather supplies. Should you need to remain open and ride out the storm, make sure you have a supply kit full of necessary items — such as flashlights, extra batteries, first aid supplies, and hand sanitizer — and tell your employees where this kit is located.
- Board up and secure the property. If you do not have to keep your business open then it is still a good idea to make sure your property is secured from any potential damage. Boarding up windows and taking or putting down anything that is not secured to the walls can help prevent potential damage to your business.
If you’re a business owner who filed a claim because of hurricane damage and haven’t been properly compensated by your insurance company, contact Hawash Cicack & Gaston, LLP immediately. We’ve helped business owners recover funds that they should have received in the first place. Our team of Houston insurance claim lawyers is ready to help you when you’re ready to fight for what is yours — contact us today at (713) 589-7249.