Small businesses are more prevalent than ever. According to Cision, in 2016, over 99% of employers in the U.S. were small business owners; and, roughly 543,000 new businesses are started each month across the country. When natural disasters strike a small company, it can have a major impact on the revenue and ability of the business to stay open. Wind damage can be particularly troublesome, as 15% of small business insurance claims involve wind and hail damage. With this in mind, it’s important to understand how small businesses can protect themselves from wind damage.
Protecting Against Wind Damage
While many may not think of it until after the damage occurs, strong winds can pack a massive punch that can be devastating to residential and commercial structures. Wind gusts can blow at speeds greater than 50 or 60 miles per hour (MPH), in some cases reaching up to 100 mph. Some of the different ways small businesses can protect themselves from these massive gusts include:
Removing potentially dangerous trees and landscaping
Because strong winds can rip limbs off and topple trees that can then fall onto properties, reviewing the landscaping around a business property is essential. A certified arborist can examine the trees around a business structure and recommend any necessary trimmings or removal to stabilize the environment.
Important things to look for include trees in danger of toppling over due to shallow roots and decay or mushrooms indicating rot. Any limbs that could potentially snap and fall directly onto the property should also be taken into account.
Additionally, if the business has gravel or small rocks in a garden or driveway, owners should consider changing them out for items that won’t break windows or dent siding in a windstorm. Soft mulch is a great alternative for flowerbeds and if a gravel drive is in place, consider switching to asphalt or cement.
Securing outdoor objects
Large, heavy objects – like trashcans, outdoor furniture, exterior lights, and signage – can turn into dangerous projectiles in strong winds. Reviewing the grounds outside your business to account for any items like these helps protect the commercial structure during a windstorm. Chains can be utilized to attach lids to garbage cans and any fencing on the property should be maintained with no loose boards that could potentially be dislodged by wind.
Checking the roof
The roof is often the most vulnerable part of a commercial building. Property owners should hire licensed and insured roofing professionals to perform a roofing inspection in both spring and fall to ensure the business’ roof can withstand strong gusts. These roofing professionals typically check for any aging materials, loose or missing shingles, tears or cracks, unsealed skylights, and potentially damaging debris, among other items.
Commercial Wind Damage Claim Denials
When a natural disaster damages a small business or other commercial property, it can be detrimental for both the business and property owners. Though commercial property insurance can be costly, it is necessary to protect the livelihood of a business, assuming the insurance carrier upholds its end of the bargain.
Unfortunately, insurance companies can deny, delay, or underestimate the value of a commercial property damage claim. If the property has sustained wind damage covered by the policy, but the insurance company won’t cover the claim, it is in the best interest of the owner to enlist the help of an experienced insurance coverage attorney.
Commercial Property Damage Attorneys
Strong winds that damage the roof, windows, and other portions of a small business structure can be detrimental to ongoing day-to-day operations. At Raizner Slania LLP, we understand that dealing with a wrongfully denied commercial property damage claim only further hurts the livelihood of a business. If you or someone you know is being denied coverage for a valid insurance claim, contact the attorneys at Raizner Slania LLP today to discuss your needs.