It’s coming: peak Atlantic hurricane season, which begins in mid-August and extends through late October. Are you ready? Is your business ready?

2020 was the most active season in the 169 years since hurricanes were first tracked, with a record-breaking 30 named storms—11 of which made landfall in the continental United States. Damage reported to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) totaled $42.3 billion. According to NOAA’s 2021 Atlantic hurricane season outlook, this year is likely to be another above-normal year.

The flooding and water damage resulting from hurricanes can be devastating. Flooding is already the most common natural disaster across the United States, and as extreme weather events become more and more frequent, flood damage and the resulting costs are mounting.

In its latest campaign, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) educates homeowners and renters about the importance of understanding their flood risk and buying flood insurance to “Protect the Life You’ve Built.” Most homeowners and renters policies do not cover damage from flood. Even an inch of water in a home can cause up to $25,000 in damage. Flood insurance helps property owners recover more quickly after a loss.

In the same way, you can protect the business you’ve built with flood insurance. Like homeowners’ policies, most commercial property insurance does not cover flood damage. Just a few inches of water can damage walls and floors, wreck expensive equipment, ruin furniture, destroy supplies, and cost tens of thousands of dollars to repair. Replacement and repair costs impact cash flow just as a business is suffering the loss of income that comes from a disruption to operations. NFIP’s commercial property insurance provides coverage of up to $500,000 for buildings and up to $500,000 for personal property.

Did you know …

  • At least 25% of small businesses never reopen following a disaster.
  • From 2011 through 2015, the average commercial flood claim was nearly $90,000.
  • About 40% of flood damage claims come from outside high-risk areas.
  • Businesses that rent their facilities need coverage for property like furnishings, computers, telephones, inventory, stock, tools, equipment, and machinery—none of which is covered by the owner’s property insurance policy.

Flood insurance can bring peace of mind for business owners and disaster recovery managers. But it’s important to act quickly. Policies typically require 30 days from the date of purchase to take effect.

With hurricane season in full swing, now is the time to assess your business’s risk and take action. Visit floodsmart.gov or talk to your commercial insurance agent to get started and protect the business you’ve built against flood damage.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Maurstad

David Maurstad is a senior executive of the National Flood Insurance Program, FEMA.

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