In the aftermath of storms, flooding, or wildfires , thousands of small-business owners are being hit with the bills for salvaging their building or the business itself, because they didn’t carry enough (or the right type of) coverage. In some cases, the culprit was ignorance; the owners might not have realized that a policy didn’t cover certain hazards. In others, a difficult economic climate created cash flow problems that led businesses to forgo the cost of insurance.
For example, you might not think your business needs insurance against flood damage. However, no matter where you’re located, if a small stream near your business swells up after an unusually long period of rain and water pours in, coverage through the federal National Flood Insurance Program will pick up the tab. For more information, visit the program’s Web site, www.Floodsmart.gov.
Similarly, a standard policy probably won’t cover earthquake damage – and quakes are by no means limited to California. The largest temblor in U.S. history was centered near New Madrid, Missouri in 1812, causing damage in half a dozen states, ringing church bells on the East Coast, and re-routing a section of the Mississippi River.
You buy Property insurance to protect your business against losses from such perils as wind, rain, and hail. But do you have Business Owners Policy (BOP), which combines Property coverage, together with Business Interruption insurance – which will pick up the tab for operating expenses and lost profit if your business is shut down for an extended period. That can include salaries and employee benefits, rent and line-of-credit payments. It doesn’t have to be a natural disaster that shuts down the business; even losses stemming from a power outage can be covered.
Some small companies should carry special policies because of the kind of business they’re in. For example, a heavily damaged bed and breakfast that would need to restore its quaint ambience by purchasing antiques would probably need additional “guaranteed replacement” coverage.
Our risk management professionals would be happy to help you develop a comprehensive program to protect your business. Just call or e-mail us.