Hurricanes are one of Mother Nature’s most destructive forces. Year after year, from June through November, the southeastern states brace for what could be an active storm season. Hurricane preparation has become a mainstay in some states, especially if the National Weather Service predicts that high levels of activity are expected. While you may know what to do for your company before a storm strikes, do you know what businesses should do after a hurricane passes? These four things may help you get the doors to your business open more quickly after making it through the storm.
1. Don’t Enter a Flooded Business
Depending on where your business is located, you may need to wait longer than you might like to go and assess the damage. If roads or bridges have been washed away, you will not get a chance to survey your damage until the authorities give the green light. Once you can get to the building, you may find it to be too dilapidated to go in, or it may have standing water. It is not a good idea to enter standing water if you don’t have to. That’s because floodwaters are teeming with bacteria and contaminants after a hurricane. If you find your business has too much water, don’t go in.
2. Call Your Insurance Company
Finding an open phone line may seem impossible immediately following a storm due to overstretched networks or downed cellphone towers. Once you can get a call out, alert your insurance company that your business was affected by the storm. Business recovery after a hurricane depends on getting everything cleaned up and out so you can reopen. In areas devastated by the storm, having businesses back up and running gives the locals hope that things will return to normal. Therefore, get with your insurance company immediately and start a claim.
3. Document the Scene Inside and Out
Once you can enter the premises, take pictures and video of the scene. Make sure you get plenty of angles of the damage immediately following the storm. Sometimes, insurance companies refer to these pictures to help decide what property was damaged since you will likely start cleaning up before an adjuster gets there. Insurance adjusters suggest that part of what businesses should do after a hurricane includes:
- Removing debris
- Salvaging whatever you can
- Hiring an expert storm remediation company to make sure space is cleaned properly
Your insurance company may have a list of disaster restoration companies you must choose from. If your policy is covering it, you may want to consider that list. If not, you are free to hire whom you wish.
4. Apply for Disaster Relief
Insurance policies differ depending on where you live and what type of premium you pay. Some damage may not qualify for coverage under your plan. For instance, insurance companies differentiate between wind, rain and flood damage, and if you don’t have the proper policy, everything may not be paid for. During times of disaster, the Small Business Administration, or SBA offers disaster relief loans to small businesses and individuals. These loans come with extremely low-interest rates and reasonable monthly payment options. The terms are usually longer, thus allowing you to take the time you need to repay the loan.
After surveying the damage to your business, you may feel discouraged and defeated. However, your community is counting on you as a business owner to rebuild and reopen. When trying to figure out what businesses should do after a hurricane, keep these four action items in mind. Doing so will help get you cleaned up and ready to greet customers again in no time.
Here’s an article from Small Biz Trends on more info about rebuilding after a hurricane: