Rising river waters, heavy snow or rainfall, the breaching of dams or levees, and flash flooding caused by sudden, excessive rain can generally cause floods with little or no warning at all. Floods have terrible consequences for business owners, including damage to buildings, loss of inventory, debris removal and extensive cleanup, and business interruption. Over 6,000 businesses are flooded each year, so having your business prepared can make the difference between reopening, or closing for good.
How to Protect Your Business
Whether your property is located in a 100-year or 500-year flood zone, or even in a low-risk area, you should take preventive actions to help protect your business, employees, and assets from the perils of a flood. A flood poses significant and serious risks no matter where your business is located.
Follow these steps to reduce the damage a flood can cause:
It’s always a good idea to start with a thorough risk analysis. Examine what materials and devices might be at risk of damage in your business. Analyze the impact of employees not being able to reach the office and water damage to essential equipment, warehouses or stock.
Prepare Your Property
The basement is the most critical place in your business, as it is especially vulnerable to water flowing down into them and leaking through walls. If your company has a basement, these steps can help lessen the damage a flood can produce:
- Check your basement for evidence of water entry. Seal off any cracks on walls, extend downspouts and re-grade the landscape, so water runs away from the building.
- Install a pump to prevent minor floods. Preferably choose a battery-powered model that can operate even when the power is out.
Apply a waterproof sealant to foundation cracks, framing joints and the floor. For a longer-lasting remedy, you may need to install a drainage system and a waterproof membrane around the perimeter of the foundation.
If you keep valuable equipment, papers, and inventory in your basement, move to an off-site location or have them at a higher elevation such as the second floor of your building.
Purchase Flood Insurance
If your business property insurance doesn’t cover flood damage, you should consider adding a commercial flood insurance policy. Start with a commercial flood insurance quote. Even if you live in an area that doesn’t flood, it’s best to have a flood policy if:
- Your business is located in an area with cold, snowy winters and warm springs. Fast melting snow is one of the top causes of commercial flooding.
- Your area experienced moderate rainfall throughout the year. Drains can clog and eventually overflow into your business and cause flood damage.
Flooding is an enormous challenge many companies have to deal with. By taking proactive measures and having an insurance policy in place, you can prevent potential damage a flood can cause — and help ensure that your business prevails.