Commercial properties are not eligible to take part in Flood Re. Due to launch in early April, the scheme offers affordable flood insurance cover to UK homeowners. So what can UK business owners do to look after their company?
If your business is at risk of flooding, then follow these steps to reduce the damage to your premises:
- Research flood insurance thoroughly. Simply because the Flood Re scheme is not available to you, it does not mean that you should go without cover!
- Don’t solely rely on your insurance. If you have flood cover in place already, don’t assume that all will be covered and cleaned up by someone else. Make smart decisions about what is best for your business and consider how long you may not be able to operate.
In the event of a flood:
- Move your stock and equipment to another floor, or if you have advance warning of a flood, move it to another location.
- Make sure that you turn off all of the utilities such as water, electricity and gas. These can become a hazard if your property is flooded, which may cause further damage to the building and its contents.
- If stock is affected by the flood waters, salvage what you can and keep it stored away from damaged items. It’s important to prevent contamination.
- All stock and perishable items that have been affected by flood water should be disposed of. Flood waters are remarkably dirty and can become a health hazard. If you are uncertain about whether to throw stock away, then contact your local Environment Health Officer who can help by inspecting those goods.
- Record everything. Keep a record of all of the damage that has been caused, including lost stock and its cost. Take photographs of your premises and contents. Create a ledger or cost code that will allow you to keep track of all flood expenditures – this is particularly helpful for when you make an insurance claim.
- If your business premises have been severely affected and will be left unattended for some length of time then you should make sure that the building is properly locked up. Secure your windows, doors and vehicle access areas. If relevant, refer to your insurance schedule for the duration of time that your property can be left unoccupied and revise the terms if need be.
- Depending on the type of business, you may need to contact customers directly to let them know that their orders will be delayed or cannot be completed. Consider having a plan to appease them for the moment, and keep their custom for when you are back up and running. When the business resumes trading, prioritise these customers.
- After the flood waters have been cleared, take steps to protect your premises from future floods. Consider ventilation and replacement materials which can combat mould growing.
- Contact your insurer as soon as possible. They will be able to point you in the right direction for next steps when it comes to making a claim.
Your business will not be able to trade if your premises are badly affected for a significant period of time. It is in your best interests to take preventative steps against flooding, and to make sure that there is adequate insurance in place. As the saying goes, plan for the worst and hope for the best.
For a complete overview of the Flood Re scheme and which properties are eligible for cover, see The UK Guide To Flood Re. Jam-packed full of tips and information to help you understand the scheme, we’ve also prepared this guide with several flood protection solutions. See how you can protect your business from flooding.