What to do if your business or place of work has been flooded
Oct 20, 2020
Posted by: ClimaGuard Team
Flood damage does not only affect residential homes, but it also affects businesses and commercial properties. In fact, flood damage to businesses can often be more costly, cause more disruption, and if the company does not have flood insurance, close them down for good.
Although businesses, when flooded, are affected in a similar way to residential properties, businesses often face a unique set of problems. For example, business records could be destroyed, files lost on computers, customer information, and more. A flooded business also has consequences outside of the property, affecting it’s customers and employees, perhaps even shutting the business down.
The NFIP, also known as the National Flood Insurance Program manages the majority of flood insurance policies. Likewise, the FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, control these policies.
This article will discuss how flooding can affect a business, followed up with what steps to take should your business or commercial property be submerged in water.
How can flooding affect a business?
As previously mentioned, a business that has been flooded has it’s own individual and unique set of problems, as opposed to a residential property. Not only could stock be damaged, but the property, electrics, and employees could be put at risk.
Further flood damage may include:
1. Damage to both the interior and exterior of the commercial property
2. Blown out or malfunctioning electrics
3. Damage to important paperwork, including customer information
4. Damage to crops Contaminated drinking water Other hazards
However, it goes without saying, the most devastating effect of a flood is no doubt the loss of life. This can have a lasting effect on your business, yourself, and others. With this, comes emotional hardship: your employees may need support following the events of flooding, whether it be financial or psychological support, such as counseling.
Luckily, flood-related deaths are a relatively low figure - so fingers crossed you don’t have to deal with that.
What to do after flooding
Flash floods can occur in an instant, tearing through buildings, personal belongings, offices, and residential homes. Once the flooding has stopped, you want to do everything within your reach to get the business running back to usual in as little time as possible. Likely, after the flooding has occurred you will be in shock and disbelief, however, try your best to set this aside and instead focusing on the task at hand.
Once the storm or rain has stopped, and it’s safe to do so, you want to shut off the gas and electric to the property. If you don’t know how to do this, contact a professional or speak to your gas and electric providers.
Once these are shut off, if the water is not too deep, begin removing belongings from the property. When collecting these belongings, it’s important to make a list of all damaged items - these will be used to help support your insurance claim.
Once you have begun the process of collecting belongings from the wreck, it’s time to contact your insurance company - that is if you purchased flood insurance, please tell us you did?
Regular property/business insurance, much like residential insurance does not cover flood damage. Instead, flood insurance must be purchased separately. This insurance covers flooding whether flash floods, hurricanes, or other stormwater damage.
Contacting your insurance provider
Before retrieving any belongings we recommend photographing the initial damage, following this up with consistent documentation of damaged belongings, structural damage, and general damage to the business and/or property. This will support your insurance claim, providing you a leg to stand-on. Be sure to share these with your insurance provider, taking names of agents you spoke to, when you spoke to them, and what they said. This too will support your claim, allowing you to speed up the process and get your business back on its feet as quickly as possible.
Cleaning up & contacting customers
Once the insurance provider has been contacted, it’s time for the grunt work - the cleanup. Continue recording this process with photographs, notes, and a coded system: organize all related losses into the same category, once again making the claims process go much smoother.
Following this, you also want to let your customers know of the current situation. We’re sure they’ll understand, but informing them of this sooner rather than later is advised.
Once the claims process is well underway, you will be visited by an insurance adjuster. The role of the insurance adjuster is to value the extend of the flooding damage. It’s important to point out that all damage may not be visible, with structures weakened, further damage could just be around the corner.
Following the inspection, you will be provided with a loss attesting to the damage. If you do not agree with the amount of damage and the compensation, then do not sign the form. Instead, you can reach out to a trusted and professional contractor for a second valuation.