Flood Insurance: A Lifeline for Your Business After the Storm
In December 2015 and January 2016, the St. Louis area experienced record-breaking flooding and the President declared a Major Disaster for Missouri. As a result of this flooding, highways and other roads were closed, and homes and businesses were destroyed. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), nearly 40% of businesses that close after catastrophes like a flood never reopen. Have you considered buying flood insurance for your business?
The flooding in Missouri in December 2015 and January 2016 took a toll on the office of Steve Parker, a Shelter agent in Eureka, Missouri, a community located just outside of St. Louis. As an insurance agent, Steve knew the importance of having flood insurance for his agency. "I honestly never thought that flooding would occur at my office, but knew that I didn't want to take the chance." he said.
He also took additional precautions by adding flood gates in front of the doors. Without taking this step, his flood insurance policy would have cost nearly 5 times more. "The system was installed prior to the rising water and held water out just as it was designed, but the water levels were so high that they went over the top, which allowed water to pour in. We had over 40" of water at the front door and in the office, which I'm told is 48" higher than ever recorded."
Because Steve had flood insurance, he was able to restore his office. However, many businesses in his area did not have flood insurance, and of those who did, some didn't have enough.
Flood Insurance Facts
- Fact: Many business owners assume that if their business is not located in a floodplain, they do not need flood insurance. However, floods can—and often do—occur in areas outside of floodplains. On the upside, if your business is not in a floodplain, your flood insurance premiums will probably be lower than they would be otherwise.
- Fact: Another common misconception by business owners is that their commercial policy will cover damage from a flood. The reality is most will not. It also won't cover damage to business vehicles, but those may be covered if you purchased a comprehensive plan for your business auto insurance.
- Fact: Flood insurance might cover mold damage, provided the mold wasn't there before the flood and you took reasonable actions to prevent it from forming after the flood.
- Fact: You need to plan ahead if you decide to buy flood insurance. There's usually a 30-day waiting period after you buy flood insurance before your coverage begins.
- Fact: If you purchased the building for your business and it's still being financed, your lender will probably require that you have flood insurance.
Most property & casualty insurance companies don't offer flood insurance; however, a Shelter agent can answer any questions you may have about flood insurance and help you through the process of getting a quote through a flood insurance carrier.