Spring is here, and relief from the cold weather is just around the corner. Your seasonal promotions are ready to go, and you’re looking forward to driving sales as customers shake off the cold weather. Unfortunately, more business can mean more liability because hiring more staff and servicing more customers means taking on more risk. These handy tips can help protect your business from spring insurance claims and keep your focus where you want it to be—on your business.
Tip #1 – Reassess Your Business Risks
According to a recent study by The Hartford, about 40% of small business owners will have to file a claim within the next ten years. These losses happen more often than you might care to think and typically include:
- Burglary and Theft
- Water and Freezing Damage
- Wind and Hail Damage
- Customer Slips and Falls
- Product Liability
- Struck by an Object
- Reputational Harm
- Vehicular Accident
Do your current insurance policies give you the coverage you need?
Are there insurance gaps you’re not aware of?
Spring is a great time to reassess your risks. Consider it part of your spring-cleaning routine and contact a local agent to learn more about how we can customize business insurance policies to fit your needs.
Tip #2 – Take Care of Your HVAC Equipment
Will your air conditioning system deliver the comfort your customers and staff deserve when that first hot day hits? Winter can stress and damage your company’s HVAC equipment, leading to expensive repairs, system failure, and costly insurance claims.
Mice can chew through wires, dirt and debris can suffocate your HVAC system, and the resulting wear and tear can lead to catastrophic failure when you least expect it.
Spring is the perfect time to invest in professional maintenance by a reputable HVAC company. This will ensure that your system operates at peak efficiency, saving you the hassle of filing an expensive insurance claim and the pain of waiting for service on a hot day.
After all, you wouldn’t drive your car without ever changing the oil, would you?
The same goes for your HVAC system. Give it the care it deserves, and you’ll extend its lifespan by years. This includes installing new filters, replacing worn parts, and keeping the area around your HVAC equipment clear of debris, plants, and bushes.
A good rule of thumb is to have your HVAC system maintained twice a year: AC in the spring and heating in the autumn.
Tip #3 – Prepare for Spring Weather
Weather is always unpredictable, and as a small business owner, you need to expect the unexpected.
One way to insulate yourself from spring storms, like lots and lots of rain, is to get business income interruption insurance. This is especially relevant if your business operates on or near a body of water, like a lakeside restaurant or a boat rental company. High winds and flooding can grind your income stream to a halt, but business income interruption insurance can help you weather the storm.
If you know a storm is coming, you’ll want to take the following precautions to protect your livelihood:
- Secure windows and doors.
- Bring outside furniture indoors.
- Secure outside objects (grills, signs, umbrellas, etc.).
- Clean gutters and drains to ensure water flows away from your facility.
- Conduct landscaping to prevent trees or limbs from damaging your business.
Common storm damage insurance claims include:
- Wind damage
- Hail damage
- Water damage
- Frozen pipes
- Fallen trees
- Power outages
- Sewer backups
If you lose power, what do you do?
Adequate emergency supplies, such as flashlights, generators, and batteries, can help keep your customers and staff members safe during a power outage or severe storm. It’s also a good idea to train your employees on your business’ emergency procedures; this can help reduce your risk levels and may even help reduce your premiums.
If you operate a food business like a restaurant, you’ll want to make sure freezers and refrigerators remain closed. Even better, connect this equipment to a generator to avoid food spoilage.
Finally, you’ll want to make sure you know how to communicate effectively with employees, customers, and state and local agencies in the event of an emergency.
Tip #4 – Inspect Your Roof
Now that the snow and ice have melted, it’s the perfect time to avoid a costly insurance claim by inspecting your roof for damage from winter weather. It’s cheaper, quicker, and easier to repair small roof problems before they become big ones, and it can also help you avoid water damage from leaky ceilings.
Check your roof for obvious damage, such as loose seams, breaks or rips, and puddling water. Drain pipes should be secured and undamaged, and rooftop equipment should also be inspected. Lastly, check all roof penetrations such as pipes and roof hatches to ensure they’re still properly sealed.
If you do find damage, contact a professional roofing company—and your insurance company—right away.
Tip #5 – Prevent Fires
The best time to test and inspect your fire suppression system is during the warm weather because the water flowing into drains and across parking lots won’t freeze and create slipping hazards. You’ll want to have a professional company conduct the following:
- Test and inspect fire detection and suppression systems.
- Inspect fire extinguishers.
- Check emergency lighting.
- Ensure exit signs are illuminated.
- Change batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Tip #6 – Parking Areas & Walkways
Wet and muddy spring weather conditions mean you need to continue your vigilance from winter to prevent slip-and-fall insurance claims.
Controlling interior floor conditions by keeping your floors and walkways dry and clean can help prevent these claims. Make sure you have enough matting, signage, mops, rugs, and fans to keep these areas accident-free. Your staff should be proactive when it comes to proper floor cleaning procedures.
Spring is also a good time to assess your walking and parking areas for winter damage from frost heaves, water, and ice. Mark any areas that might cause a fall and hire a good contractor to repair these issues immediately. Contractors can get busy fast, so scheduling early in the season is always a good idea.
Do you need more business insurance?
Are your springtime risks adequately covered under your existing business insurance policies?
Are there gaps you might not be aware of?
*Disclaimer: We offer content for informational purposes; Co-Op Co-operative Insurance Companies may not provide all the services or products listed here. Please contact your local agent to learn more about how we can help with your insurance needs.