4 Steps for Recovery After a Storm
It sure would be nice to know exactly where a major storm is plotting its path of destruction. However, since you can’t control the weather, you’re wise to prepare your business for the possibility of a major storm.
Realizing that a particularly fierce weather event can cause damage and loss despite your best precautions, you’re also wise to anticipate your steps to recovery in the wake of such a storm.
Following these four steps for recovery after a storm will help you get your business back up and running:
Submitting Your Claim
Contact your insurance agent or insurance company as soon as possible to report the damage. Do whatever is necessary to protect your property from further storm damage. For example, as soon as possible, put tarps over holes in the roof, board up windows, or shut down your utilities, if warranted.
Most insurance policies require you to take these precautions. Be sure to keep receipts for any expenses you incur to protect your premises from further damage and give them to your claims adjuster.
Assessing the Damages
Inspect your interior and exterior, looking for damage to the structure, foundation, HVAC, water heaters, computers, and the roof. If you find standing water anywhere in the premises do not attempt to restore power.
Contact a licensed electrician as soon as the water has receded, and have the electrician determine whether it is safe to power up. Be careful around any downed or exposed electrical lines. Flooding and water damage can cause fire risks as well. Look for hazardous-material spills or gas leaks, and notify the fire department of any potential problems.
Recording Your Losses
Before you start cleaning up or throwing anything away, take photos. Complete a list of any inventory and business property that:
- is lost or damaged beyond repair,
- is damaged but repairable, or
- needs to be cleaned.
Provide a complete description of each item and its condition. Be sure to include the item’s age, manufacturer, and model number. The more descriptive you can be, the better. Additionally, identify and preserve paperwork that could assist in documenting your cost to repair or replace the damaged property.
Purchase receipts, credit card or bank statements, and owner's manuals are all good examples of documentation that can assist you in substantiating the cost of the damaged items.
Keeping Good Records
Keep track of any extra expenses you incur as you work to reopen your business as quickly as possible. Also, preserve and be prepared to provide your historical sales records and other business records that may help project what your profit would have been had your business not been interrupted.