Cold weather brings flood of insurance claims
Following the extremely cold weather in December 2010, the post-Christmas thaw saw a deluge of insurance claims for damage to stock, contents, equipment and buildings.
The amount of damage that can be caused by a simple burst pipe can be devastating but there are some simple steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of an incident or minimise the consequences, examples include:
- Make sure you and your staff know the location of the water stop cock.
- Check that pipes and storage tanks are adequately insulated. Do not forget about pipes in the roof space or cellar. If you have a loft ensure that this is insulated too.
- Pay particular attention to plastic pipes and fittings and consider replacing them with a more robust alternative.
- If you have an overflow from storage tanks, toilet cisterns or boilers make sure that it flows to the outside or a suitable drain and that it will not fail if it freezes.
- If cold weather is forecast keep the central heating running overnight or when the premises is closed. Alternatively your central heating system may have an automatic ‘frost-stat’ system which turns on the system in the event of low temperatures.
- If your business is closed for a long period or unoccupied then you should consult with your insurer regarding the central heating and water systems as your policy may have specific clauses. In many cases a sensible precaution is to turn off the water at the stop cock and if unoccupied for an extended period you could drain the system. (be careful you don’t disconnect any sprinkler systems without first taking advice)
- If you have a sprinkler system get the maintenance contractor to check its adequacy in cold weather
- Do not leave stock or equipment on the floor as these will be damaged by water; good practice is to keep items at least 15cm off the floor, it may also be a stipulation within your insurance policy.
- Ensure your computer systems are backed-up and that the back-up works. If you back-up to disk or tape then keep the copy off site.
- Check that you have adequate insurance that will cover you should you experience a claim. In particular you should closely look at your figures for business interruption and seasonal increases in stock.
- Consider making action plans, risk assessments and disaster recovery plans.
If you would like more advice on insurance during cold weather give Sutcliffe & Co a call on 01905 21681 or send an email.
Act now! Call us on 01905 21681 to get your insurance needs met