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Are you prepared?
Is your business ready for disaster?
- Do you have an emergency response plan for employees and customers?
- Do you have copies of important papers and information stored off-site?
- Does the information include: details on business assets, receipts, photos, insurance policies, contact details for your agent or company? These documents will assist you when you file a claim later.
Minimize your risks
- Install fire and security alarms
- Plan and train employees for emergencies on the premises, such as fires and evacuations.
- Direct employees to keep wallets and other personal items in a secure place and put the business' cash and other valuables in a safe.
- Maintain office space in good physical condition.
Manage property and liability costs:
- Review all insurance policies annually and note any changes that may affect your coverage costs. For example your premiums could be impacted by the addition or reduction of employees, clients product offerings or inventory; alterations to your building; or changed state regulations.
- Find out how plans differ to make sure you are purchasing the best policy for your particular business and at a competitive price.
- Claim a tax deduction for your premiums on fire, casualty and burglary insurance.
- Avoid purchasing overlapping policies. Read the terms carefully to make sure you are not covered for the same item in two separate policies. Reviewing your policy regularly will help ensure that you are not missing crucial coverage in other areas.
Your property insurance policy covers you for damage or theft of the physical property and equipment of your small business. If you own the physical structure of your business address, your property insurance should cover both the structure and its other assets. If you lease the space you occupy, you are responsible for insuring your personal property/contents. As a leaseholder, you need to have a contingency plan in case your landlord or your landlord’s insurer is not able to promptly repair the building where your business is located.
More information about property insurance:
- There are three types of property insurance – each covering a wider range of perils. Know which form your business has – Basic, Broad or Special – and what perils are covered.
- Check to see if your property will be replaced for the actual cash value (ACV) or replacement cost. ACV reimburses the cost to replace, rebuild or repair damages, taking depreciation into consideration. Replacement cost does not factor in depreciation.
- Flood is not a covered peril in a standard business property insurance policy. You can purchase flood coverage from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). You generally have to wait 30 days for a flood insurance policy to go into force. If you are worried aboutdamage from flood, find out more about the NFIP at www.floodsmart.gov. If the flood insurance property limits from the NFIP are inadequate to cover your business, check with your insurance agent about coverage options.
Business interruption coverage
Business interruption/continuation insurance covers expenses associated with running your business, like your payroll and utility bills, based on your company’s financial records. Business interruption/continuation may also help pay for the extra expenses to keep your business in operation until you recover. This coverage generally includes a waiting period that serves as the deductible.
Filing a claim
- Contact your insurance company immediately to report the loss and follow the instructions given to you by claims personnel. You may have several different policies that cover all of the damages from the storm (a flood policy, a homeowners policy, an auto policy that may cover damage to your car from flooding), and it is likely you will have to file separate claims for each loss.
- Take photos or videos of the damage when it is safe to do so.
- Get organized. Get a complete copy of your insurance policy or contract and find your previous business tax filings. Many commercial business filings have income loss protections and your filing may help you to identify lost property. Collect any records that can prove the value of damaged equipment. If you have business interruption insurance, you will need to prove income to determine the amount of business lost.
- Keep a log of expenses incurred and contacts made with the insurance company.