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Your Business

Protecting Commercial Buildings From Weather

Mother Nature is unpredictable. Her volatility can spring storms and other severe weather that can take a toll on your business, its buildings and its employees. But smart planning and preparation can save you time, money and stress — plus, it’ll keep your business running smoothly and supporting your family for years to come.

Prepare Business Buildings for Bad Winter Weather

Few things are more frustrating than winter weather. To be prepared for it, you need to know exactly what you’re up against when the temperatures turn cold. Be aware of what winter can bring and do what you can to be ready for these scenarios:

Snow weighing on your roof. Deep snow can give your roof a heavy burden to bear. And as the snow and ice pile up, the chances of a roof collapse increase. To stay on top of potential roof cave-ins, safely clean it off immediately after a storm. Check all gutters and downspouts and know how much weight your commercial buildings’ roofs can handle. If you’re not sure or you’re not able to clear a large amount of snow or ice off of the roof, call a professional for service and an inspection.

Ice dam buildup. Ice dams are chunks of ice that have frozen on your roof, usually in and around your gutters. When snow and ice begin to melt, these ice dams can block that water from escaping and leak into your building, causing damage to your roof and the interior of your business. To prevent ice dams from forming, make sure your building is well-insulated above the ceiling and properly ventilated. Don’t forget to check it regularly.

Freezing and bursting pipes. If temperatures stay below freezing for a long period of time and your pipes aren’t protected well enough from the cold, your business runs the serious risk of a frozen and burst pipe with an expensive cleanup. Keep your heat on in your business even when it’s empty, insulate your pipes and have your building inspected for any holes or cracks where cold air could be seeping in.

Furnace failure. When the heat goes out at your business, it puts the comfort and safety of your employees at risk and can even bring production to a complete halt. Avoid trying to fix the issue yourself and call a professional right away. Have a plan in place that you can refer to as soon as it happens and always consider your and your employees’ health first.

When the heat goes out, you may need to take further action to prevent your pipes from freezing. Consider shutting off your main water valve, then turning on faucets and flushing your toilets to empty pipes and prevent potential water damage.

Protecting Your Business From Summer, Winter and Fall Severe Weather

When warm weather finally comes around in the spring and (sometimes) sticks around until the fall, it’s not all good news. With that weather comes a host of different threats to your business’ buildings. Protect your buildings by being prepared for the following:

Wind and rain. On their own, they can be a nuisance — but when they get together, they can cause some major headaches. Prepare your business for severe storms with heavy rains and strong winds like this:

  • Identify and repair leaks around windows and doors. Even light rain can cause damage and weaken your buildings’ defenses against future storms, so make note and fix any issues as soon as you notice them.
  • Secure the flashing and anchor all vents on your roof. A lifted shingle or other part of your roof is very susceptible to greater damage later on and puts your roof at risk. Call a professional roofer to shore up the top of your building and don’t attempt to handle it yourself.
  • Build flood shields on basement windows and doors to prevent damage from rising waters. Even if your business isn’t located in an area that’s known as susceptible to flooding, it can happen anywhere — so be prepared for it.
  • Identify and replace water-damaged wood siding. Even if it still looks like it’s in good shape, water-damaged siding puts other pieces and the interior of your building at risk to further preventable damage.
  • Properly paint and seal exterior walls. Just like your windows and doors, a crack in an exterior wall can let moisture in and set you up for future issues.
  • Slope surrounding landscape down and away from the building. Without proper grading, water can pool around your building’s foundation and eventually make its way inside.
  • Secure, seal and insulate all windows, doors and garages.

Lightning strikes. According to the National Severe Storm Laboratory, lightning is the most dangerous and frequent weather hazard. But a lightning protection system can drastically lower your risk by safely intercepting lightning strikes that might otherwise strike your building or things that could become dangerous to your building if struck, like trees. It can save you money on potential lightning damage and more importantly, save employee lives.

Power outages. While power outages can occur in any season, most people associate them with the lightning, rain and wind that strike in the late spring and summer months. A lack of power can hurt your business’ productivity, so consider having a backup generator on hand, plus a plan to run it safely.

Get Coverage for Your Business’ Buildings

Doing your part to prevent severe weather damage to your building is a smart move — but some weather damage is simply unavoidable. That’s why it’s just as wise to protect your dream with the right insurance coverage. Your American Family Insurance agent can help you protect everything you’ve worked so hard for with a customized insurance policy built specifically for your business.

Building and business personal property. If your building or its contents are damaged, our business property coverages help you get things repaired and rebuilt as quickly as possible.

Business income and extra expenses. We know how damaging a couple days or weeks the inability to do regular business can be. And if the weather causes damage that force you to close your doors for a while, this coverage will reimburse you for lost income and any extra expenses you might face during that period.

Important business documentation coverage. Printed or electronic, your documents keep your business running smoothly. We provide coverages that help repair, replace and restore your accounts receivable, electronic data and valuable papers damaged by a storm.

Fast, fair claims. You can count on us when you need us most. We know your business and we’re dedicated to getting it back up and running as soon as possible.

Helpful business tools. In addition to protecting your business, American Family is committed to helping it grow. Turbo-charge your dream with free access to our award-winning Business Accelerator Program, including professional coaching and online tips and tools.

Have questions about your current coverage? Want to be sure your business and buildings are properly protected against the unpredictability of Mother Nature? Your American Family agent is ready to help — get in touch today.

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Related Topics: Business Insurance , Workplace Wellness