Floods affect homes and places of business. Such events can destroy the building and everything inside it. A business can lose inventory, vital records, and machines like computers. Assuming a business doesn’t have flooding insurance, this could be its end.
If there’s no backup for computer data, the business can experience losses beyond the affected property. Here, obtaining the records back would take time and cost money. That said, you may not recover all the records. As a result, recovering business debts would be challenging without the records.
Let’s see more ways floods can affect your business and what you can do about it.
How Flooding Affects Your Business
The extent of water damage partly depends on the nature of the inventory. Farming businesses, including livestock, face the risk of destruction by heavy floods. Transport businesses can’t proceed with normal operations when floods block their way. And a car dealership can suffer from destroyed vehicles which may become unsellable.
Floods can mix with sewers, giving rise to sanitary hazards and diseases. Another issue might involve the standing water blocking access to your business, such that customers and suppliers can’t access you.
Floods can also cause damages like;
- Destruction of electrical systems
- Destruction or weakening of the building
- Contamination of drinking water
Depending on how long the floods last, you may have to close your business temporarily. And even after the flooding is over, it may take time to replace the damaged inventory. During this time, you can’t earn any revenue. Plus, you and your employees may have to stay for a while without a job.
Floods can also affect you emotionally. You may feel overwhelmed with many thoughts, especially when thinking of what you might lose. Thereby, in addition to financial support, you might also need some counseling to help you cope with the situation emotionally. Some individuals may also opt to find comfort in others in similar circumstances.
Even though there are very few flood-related deaths reported, loss of life is a potential risk in times of heavy flooding.
What to Do After Water Damage
After the rain stops, you may not be able to rescue anything if the water level is still high. Remember, your safety comes first. So don’t risk your life trying to save business assets.
In some cases, you may get help from the police and other emergency professionals. But in the meantime, cut off electrical and gas supply to the building. If you don’t know how to do it, contact your gas and electric provider to help you.
If you can get into the building, start moving items to dry areas outside and salvage what you can. Take precautions if the building is severely damaged. Wear protective boots since the floor could have broken glass and sharp objects. Don’t forget to call your insurance company if you have a flood policy. Note that ordinary business insurance can’t help you in case of a flood. To cover flood incidents, you have to purchase flood insurance separately.
Making an Insurance Claim
If you have flood insurance, you could resume business soon after cleaning up the damages. But you will have to take some extra steps. Insurance companies want to see evidence of your losses before settling your claims.
The insurance company can send a person to assess the damage. But before they do, you should involve the local authority and have them make a statement that can serve as evidence. Plus, before removing anything from the building, take photos that you’ll show later to the insurance company.
Then as you remove everything from the building, keep a record of what you’ve lost. And remember to back it up with photos. Following these steps will speed up the payment of your insurance claims.
Junk Cleanup After Flooding
After a flood, your goal is to resume business as soon as possible. So, as you wait for the settlement of your insurance claim, you should get busy cleaning up. Some of your assets will likely become a total loss, while others will have partial damage. Place the completely damaged items in one heap and arrange for commercial trash pickup.
After cleaning the building, you’ll see how much damage the flood caused to the structure. Next, an insurance agent will come to assess the loss. The agent will estimate how much you’ve lost and calculate the amount they’ll compensate you. Don’t sign the compensation form if you think their estimate is too low. It’s best to call an independent contractor to assess the loss in such a setting.
As a final step before you resume business, ensure the building is at no risk of collapse. Cracks on the walls and the floor indicate a weakening structure. Wooden structures may become discolored and loose their quality. If the walls become dirty, consider painting them to improve their appearance.
Contacting Your Customers
Floods can mean that you won’t serve your customers for a certain period. Your customers may see on the news that your area has flooded. But they might not know how it has affected your business. So give your customers the correct information about your situation.
Some of the information they might want to know include;
- If your business is still open
- Whether they can access it
- How safe it is to visit you
- How the flood will affect their visit
Some of your customers may depend on you solely. So telling them in advance about your situation would be convenient for them. If you’re not able to serve them, you can help them with information like;
- Where they can get services
- Your cancellation policy
- When you’re likely to resume business
The way you handle your customers during such a crisis will affect how you’ll relate with them in the future. Try to be honest, positive, and clear. They’re likely to understand you and even be sympathetic.
Also, try to recover any records you can of your customers. Some may provide their records, and you may get other records from third parties.
How To Minimize Damages By Floods
You can’t prevent floods from happening, but you can minimize the losses they cause. Some preventive measures are expensive, like constructing a high building. But others are cheap, such as creating a backup for your records. If you live in a high-risk area, purchasing a flood insurance policy can also help.
The way you store your inventory can determine the extent of your loss. For instance, if you have a story building, you can put expensive items on higher grounds. You can also secure your records and small valuable items in a waterproof safe.
Building flood barriers next to your business is an excellent measure when you want to prevent floodwater from entering your premises. Maintaining a sound drainage system can also help drain floodwater more efficiently.
Water damage can cause tremendous damage to a business. But a flood shouldn’t mean the end of a business. With insurance policies and preventive measures, your business can overcome setbacks from a flood.