Many Mississippi commercial property owners are unclear about what protection they have and what added coverage they need for hurricane damage. In most cases, standard commercial property insurance will cover the primary risk, i.e., wind damage. However, the closer your business premises are to the coast, the more likely you will need to purchase specific windstorm insurance to protect your commercial property.
The 2014 Atlantic hurricane season is upon us now – it lasts from June to November with a peak in August and September each year. While windstorm damage is inevitable, one of your greatest risks in a hurricane is flooding – particularly in coastal areas. You may face the problem of water invading your commercial premises from outside; but you also need to think about what else could threaten your property during a hurricane and whether or not your commercial property insurance covers you for it.
For example, take a business that is flooded and then shut down for two weeks because there was no power after saltwater submerged the local electrical substation. To be covered for these losses, the business would need some form of flood insurance and a rider to cover the business interruption caused by unavailable utility services.
- The flood peril is typically a concern in coastal areas that are subject to storm surge; however, inland areas may also sustain flood damage due to the heavy rains that occur during a hurricane.
- The wind damage is typically caused by the hurricane itself but may also be the result of tornadoes spawned by the hurricane.
A typical business owner’s policy covers basic risks like liability, business property, and loss of income due to a disaster, but windstorm damage and flooding may or may not always be covered by the standard commercial property owner’s insurance policy. Flood insurance is purchased as a separate coverage; windstorm insurance is purchased with the overall property coverage package or from the Mississippi state windstorm pool.
Hurricane Preparedness—Tips from Hurricane Insurance Experts
The following steps can be taken ahead of hurricane season to prepare your business:
- List employees, their phone numbers and addresses
- Make copies of insurance policies and agent contact information
- Handle electronic data backup
- Take an inventory of your existing equipment, furniture, hardware and software
- Make copies of essential business documents, agreements, etc.
- Take photos of business equipment – inside and outside
As a business owner, you need to think ahead about what steps to take if your building becomes unusable after a storm. In addition, you should consider pre-storm steps to secure the business property. Examples are installing plywood over windows and doors, anchoring roof-mounted equipment and portable buildings, securing heavy equipment, etc.
Buying insurance is complicated because off-the-shelf products simply don’t work the same way for every business. You have to carefully put together the policies that are appropriate for your risk and your business needs. Working with an experienced insurance agent is one of the best ways to ensure that you have a proper analysis of your needs and protection for those risks.
Call The Nowell Agency Inc. at 601.992.4444 for more information about commercial property insurance with hurricane damage coverage or request a quoteonline.