Weather and storm damage business insurance cover
Weather and storm damage business insurance cover
Here in the UK we’re no strangers to bad weather. But with storms, flooding and other adverse weather conditions increasingly making the headlines, it’s not just our homes that can be affected. Find out how you can help insure your business against the worst of the British weather.
How could storm or other weather damage affect my business?
A storm or other adverse weather conditions could affect your business mainly by damaging property, equipment or stock. Flooding could cause water damage to your stock or building. Heavy snow might cause your roof to collapse, while a falling tree or debris in high winds might cause structural problems.
Without the right insurance cover for weather damage, you could face hefty costs for repairs and stock replacement – something all businesses can ill afford.
Along with any physical damage, severe weather could also interrupt your business and in turn, your income. For example, if your premises were no longer safe for employees or customers, you might have to stop work while the damage was being repaired. Work might be stopped by power cuts caused by a storm, or you could have to stop taking orders while replacing damaged stock. Severe weather can also prevent you from making deliveries on time.
What is weather damage business insurance?
Rather than a specific type of policy, weather damage is usually included as part of your business insurance cover.
Policies can vary in terms of what they cover, so it’s important to always read the small print carefully.
Different aspects of weather damage will be covered by different types of business insurance policy:
- Business property insurance covers weather damage to the property. If you rent your business premises, any damage to the property will be the landlord’s responsibility.
- Business contents insurance covers weather damage to your equipment and furniture. It may also cover stock, although you should check the individual policy.
- Business interruption insurance covers you for any lost income if your business is unable to operate for a while. That might be because of storm damage, for example.
What is considered adverse weather when it comes to business insurance?
When making a claim for weather damage to your business, your insurance provider could disagree about what constitutes a storm or adverse weather. Normally a storm involves high winds, with rain, hail or snow. But your policy may include specific conditions that need to be met for your claim to be valid.
The Met Office now names the storms that it classifies as severe. These named storms are likely to impact homes and businesses.
What else should I be aware of when choosing business insurance?
As well as possible disputes about what constitutes a storm or adverse weather, your insurance provider may disagree about whether the damage was caused by the storm.
For example, your policy may cover you for damage to the roof because of severe weather. But it might not cover you for any subsequent water damage caused by leaks from a hole in the roof. Your provider may class that as accidental damage.
What else can I do to protect my business?
It helps to be aware of the risks your business faces so you can prepare for the worst. Is your business in an area at risk from floods? Are there large trees or other structures on your property that could fall and damage your premises? Is your business at risk of being cut off by severe weather?
Make a plan to help your business cope with bad weather. You might, for example, look at how you could protect your property or stock in the case of a flood. Or you might consider how your business could continue to operate, if your premises or equipment was seriously damaged.
If you want to closely monitor changing weather conditions, you can download the Met Office’s weather app, or the Environment Agency’s flood warning app.
Also, it’s a good idea to think about property maintenance. Just as insurance providers will have exclusion clauses for theft if you leave your door open, business insurance policies have exclusions for damage caused by wear and tear, or general deterioration. If the insurance provider believes the property was in poor condition and thinks that’s why the storm caused so much damage, they may turn down your claim.
What should I do if my business is affected by weather damage?
You should tell your insurance provider as soon as possible if there’s any damage to your property, stock or equipment because of a storm or extreme weather. Many insurance providers have emergency helplines open 24 hours a day for this purpose.
Once it’s safe to go back to the property, you can arrange any emergency repairs needed to prevent further damage. But make sure you inform your insurance provider immediately. You should take photos of the damage and keep all receipts of repair work undertaken. If possible, get an additional quote for any repair work, to make sure you’re receiving a fair price.
Though it may be tempting to start the clean-up straight away, you should wait for the go ahead from your insurance provider first. They may need to see the damage before they can authorise any work - and they may want to assess whether items can be fixed rather than replaced.
How should I choose business insurance to protect my business from weather damage?
When choosing business insurance, it’s very important to look carefully at the small print to see what’s covered and what may be excluded.
Think about your needs as a business and the risks you face, then shop around for the best deals to get the right policy for you.