Winter is approaching quickly and with it comes severe weather. As a result, your business and property may be more susceptible to damage. Here are some of the most common risks business faces during the winter and what you can do to protect your assets.

Handle Maintenance Now

A regular maintenance routine is the most cost-effective and wise method a business can maximize the useful life of its assets. If your company doesn’t have a maintenance checklist, it’s time to develop one. Alternatively, use this Excel template as a starting point and modify to suit your needs.

One of the most common components of the building that requires close inspection before winter arrives is the roof and gutter system. High winds, heavy snow and rain, hail, and cold temperatures can lead to roof damage and/or blocked gutters. Water can damage the structure and contents extensively and it may lead to mold issues.

Another component that requires a thorough inspection is HVAC system. Hire a professional to clean and service the unit, set timers, change filters, etc. No one wants this system to fail when they need it the most.

Inventory Assets

Business owners may have a general overview of what their company owns, but when it comes to insurance, details count. You’ll want an accurate business inventory should you ever need to file a claim, plus a thorough inventory helps your agent or broker align your coverage with your needs.

Develop a Business Continuity Plan

A business continuity plan identifies the risks your business may face, how you can avoid them, and how you’ll keep your company running should disaster strike.

The first step includes identifying potential problems. If your area experiences sub-zero temperatures this might include risk of burst pipes, loss of heat, or inability to access your facility due to inclement weather.

The next step is to identify upgrades, improvements, or alternatives that could reduce your company’s risk. As an example, you might identify the HVAC system or roof is due for replacement. You might consider a telework policy if employees can’t reach your establishment or investigate potential temporary locations. If you operate in a remote location, budgeting for a generator might be a wise precaution.

A communication plan is also an excellent method used to reduce company risk. The quicker employees, customers, vendors, and contractors understand what is happening and what to expect, the less impact it has on your operations and reputation.

Calculate Cost of Business Interruption

Any event that interrupts your business costs you money. Sit down and roughly calculate what it would cost you if you could not operate for a week, a month, and six months. Most businesses could probably survive on their cash reserves for a short time. However, this changes quickly if an event causes a company to close for weeks or months.

Business Interruption Coverage replaces income lost if business operations halt due to a covered event. It is an add-on or rider to a property/casualty policy or included in a comprehensive package policy.

Coverage usually includes reimbursement for profits, based on prior months. This can help a company pay operating expenses, employee wages, loan payments, and taxes until they can reopen.

Review Your Insurance

Once you have an asset inventory and your calculations regarding business interruption costs, talk to an independent insurance agency like ours. We’ll align your business insurance policies with your risks to ensure you’re properly protected and aren’t paying for unnecessary extras. We’ll also explain your policy limits and deductibles.

Once you’ve finalized your policy, keep the policy number and claims telephone number nearby. Should you experience a loss, call your insurer as soon as possible, describe the damage, and tell them what you’ve done to mitigate further damage.