Springtime Flood Insurance for Businesses
Mar 5, 2020
We know it doesn't feel like it yet, but spring is just around the corner and here at Foxquilt, we couldn't be happier about it. Fresh shoots emerging, skies warming and snow thawing - all exciting stuff. We're not here to rain on your parade, but spring might! We want to bring to your attention some facts about weather-related incidents across Canada in recent years and some preparation and flood insurance steps you can take to make sure you're best positioned to deal with the elements.
Depending on your area in Canada, flooding and sewer-back have become two of the major risk exposures to properties. Flooding alone contributed heavily to the $1.3Bn in damages suffered in insured damages in 2019 as a result of severe weather, in Canada alone. Unlike other high-ranking years, it has been noted that insurers experienced damages from a range of severe weather events from coast to coast - rather than one major event.
The highest loss year on record, for example, was in 2016, driven by the Fort McMurray wildfires in Alberta. The total cost for that year was $5.261 billion. The second-highest year, largely due to flooding in the Greater Toronto Area and Alberta, was 2013 and saw costs of $3.4 billion. The most costly event was a storm last October in Eastern Canada that led to damages of $250 million; this storm combined with other winter storms, floods and hailstorms throughout the year add up to the $1.3 billion in damages.
Spring flooding and major rainstorms accounted for 80 per cent of the weather events that qualified for disaster funding in the last three years. Flooding is something you should be aware of and need to be prepared for -whether you're living in an urban centre, rural community or in a coastal area.
"What can I do?"
The answer is... Preparation! In the event of flood warning:
Move Water-Sensitive Equipment
Once you know how high floodwater is likely to rise, you can take steps to protect the things most likely to be damaged by water. This includes everything from TVs and computers to your air conditioner and backup generator. Your generator may need to be elevated and secured as best as possible. You might want to install water vents to let water flow more easily through your property (rather than rising inside) or attempt to seal external walls to help prevent water from getting in.
Update Your Valves
Even if a storm doesn't dump enough water to flood your property, it can still cause damage if your sewer backs up and flows into your commercial property's space. Have a plumber install a back flow or gate valve on every sewage pipe that connects to your business. These valves are designed to keep water flowing out.
Keep Your Commercial Property in Good Repair
If you've ever had a leaky roof, you know how small problems can lead to substantial damage when water is involved. To minimize the odds of water damage (in any weather), be sure to take care of essential maintenance tasks on and around your commercial property:
-Clean out gutters. Make sure they're hung securely from your roof.
-Make sure waterspouts are positioned so that water will drain away from your property and neighbouring properties.
-Repair your roof. Improvements may cost several thousand dollars, but it can also prevent tens of thousands of dollars' worth of water damage. Some property insurance companies may lower the base rate on your overall insurance profile if you have a new roof in place.
-Repair sidewalks and driveways. Shoddy infrastructure around your commercial property can cause water to pool against it. Make sure dilapidated concrete and asphalt aren't creating a direct channel for water to flow to your property.
Check Your Commercial Property
Insurance Policy For Adequate Flood Limits
Standard property insurance policies don't cover all types of water damage. Typically, your policy will include coverage for water damage that originates inside the property, like a dishwasher leaking and ruining your floors. The basic policy excludes coverage for floods that come from outside - so pretty much anything weather-related, as well as sewer back-up. If you're in a high-risk flood zone, your broker may need to work hard to ensure you have the essential flood insurance limits. You may even be able to get a better rate on your insurance by following the measures we outlined here because some insurance companies reward risk mitigation with lower prices.
If you're struggling with your flood insurance for your business in Canada, we recommend shopping around. As previously mentioned, different companies offer different rewards and discounts; quotes from different companies aren't necessarily all going to be identical. At Foxquilt, we're partnered with Canada's leading insurance providers so we already do the shopping for you to find the right coverage and price for your business. You can even join up with other business owners and entrepreneurs to immediately access our Foxquilt group insurance savings.
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