Weather-Proof your business against the winter

Winter is on the way, bringing with it the prospect of strong winds, heavy rain, frost and snow. Are your business premises prepared for winter and are you adequately insured?

Storm Damage
High winds and rain have caused considerable damage to properties in the UK in recent times. Occasionally the damage can go unnoticed, so check your property and outbuildings regularly for loose or missing roof tiles.

Gardens and walkways
Check trees for signs of weakness and lop or remove branches that overhang your premises to avoid possible damage if they fall. Clear walkways and order grit to ensure pavements and pathways will be safe to use in the event of ice and snow.

Keep details of your policy number and cover details on hand, just in case of loss or damage to your business this winter.

Burst Pipes
If you are closing for the weekend or longer during the holiday season, leave the heating on the minimum setting and check on a regular basis to avoid pipes freezing. Other sensible precautions include lagging all pipes and tanks with insulation material and ensuring the boiler is annually maintained. Stopcocks and valves should be clearly marked and accessible. If a pipe bursts, turn off the water supply and central heating system and drain the system by turning on the cold taps.

Keep valuable stock on a higher level, fit a flood alarm in vulnerable areas and install an electric sump pump in basement areas used for storage. Sign up to the Environment Agency’s ‘Floodline Warnings Direct’ service. For further information, see our article on Flooding.

Blocked Drains and Gutters
Blocked gutters and drains are a major cause of water damage so ensure they are clear of leaves, climbing plants and dirt.

Oil Storage
Before refilling an oil tank, check for leaks and ensure it is secure. Check your insurance covers accidental loss of oil. Use the last days of autumn to carry out maintenance checks on your premises and tackle any minor problems before they turn into major ones. A little preparation now could save a lot of time and trouble later on. In particular, make sure you have the right level of insurance protection in place, providing cover for damage to buildings, contents and stock, business interruption and loss of earnings. Please contact us for a review of your insurance policy.

Willis Towers Watson Networks Insurance Matters articles