June 1 marks the start of the 2018 Hurricane Season. With this in mind, now is the perfect time to review your business insurance policies to make sure you are covered in the event of a hurricane or other natural disaster. Whether you are based out of an area prone to hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes, or even Tornado Alley, there are key coverages you need to have in place to ensure your business doesn’t become another casualty of Mother Nature.
Flood insurance is an obvious need, but what exactly does it cover? The answer isn’t as simple as “anytime there is water damage a flood insurance claim can be filed.” Covered losses can differ depending on how the water damage happened. A rush of water from an overflowing river may be covered, while water coming in due to the roof blowing off may not. Because of this, it is imperative that you review your policy carefully and understand the exact kinds of flood damage that are covered in your policy. It may turn out that you will need additional coverage.
In some property policies Wind & Hail are a covered peril. This is not true in all parts of the country however. If you live in an area that isn’t prone to flooding, but frequently has damaging wind and/or hail events, you may need to get a separate policy to cover damages. It can’t be emphasized enough the importance of thoroughly reviewing your policy and seeking the guidance of an insurance agent if you are unsure. The future or your business depends on it.
But what if your business doesn’t suffer any damage due to a hurricane, flood, or earthquake? Natural disasters can still cause harm to your business even when no direct damage is incurred. There may be times where your business is intact but is inaccessible to customers, suppliers, and your employees, causing a loss of income. For times like this it is important to ensure you have Civil Authority and Ingress/Egress coverage. Both of these coverages help when a business suffers a loss of income due the inability to access the location, but trigger under very different circumstances.
Civil Authority coverage triggers when police, fire, or other local authorities restrict access to your business as a result of damage caused by a covered peril (hurricane, earthquake, hail, etc.). If they block off the area surrounding your business due to powerlines downed due to high winds, you may be covered. Loss of access to your business due to the city tearing up the street to repair an old sewage line may not.
Ingress/Egress coverage is for when your insured premises cannot be accessed due to a covered peril damaging a third-party property, but an act of Civil Authority is not needed to trigger this coverage. A nearby business may block the road to your establishment with excavation and construction equipment for their building that was damaged. Debris may have piled up enough to make the road unpassable until cleanup crews can arrive, but the city has made no restrictions to the area.
In all of these cases, you need to know in advance what is covered. The last thing you need to deal with after a catastrophic event is the realization that you don’t have the right coverage to save your business and livelihood. Talking with an insurance professional will prepare you for hurricane season, or any other natural disaster you may be prone to where you live.
Don’t hesitate. Reach out today.