Protect Your Business Property from Winter Storms

Many people prioritize taking diligent care of their homes throughout the winter months — shoveling snow, clearing pathways, insulating doors and windows to prevent heat from escaping, and various other tasks that ensure safety and well-being. However, the same upholds for business owners who run their operations from a building.

We know that Wisconsin winters can be brutal, but that does not stop people from shopping or running errands — even in subzero temperatures or snowstorms. Making sure your commercial property is well maintained throughout the year is essential.

How to keep your business safe during the winter months

Protect your pipes from freezing

If temperatures drop below freezing and your pipes are not protected from the cold, your business may run the risk of pipes bursting. Even when no one is there, always keep your heat running above 55 degrees. It is also a good idea to inspect the seals around your building for holes or cracks through which frigid air can seep in, and make repairs as necessary.

Clear roof and gutters to prevent ice dams

Ice dams are caused by layers of snow and ice that build up on roofs and gutters. After time, the snow and ice block the natural flow of water off the roof, which can then cause water to enter the interior walls and other surfaces, leading to structural damage. After a snowstorm passes, it is recommended to use a long-handed snow rake to remove heavy snow from your business’s roof. If you notice roof damage during your inspection, call your insurance agent.

Check your furnace to ensure proper working order

One of the last things a business owner needs is for their building’s heat to shut off in the middle of winter. An event like this affects the safety and comfort of employees and customers as well as potentially damage your products. It can bring business production to a temporary or long-term halt. If your furnace goes out, the first thing you should do is call a professional to inspect the issue.

Having equipment breakdown insurance can cover you for a range of potential exposures and get your business ahead of the unexpected. Systems that are susceptible to mechanical and electrical failures can cost a fortune to repair or replace if not protected.

Clear walkways from snow and ice

Keep a shovel or snow blower, salt and sand readily available for snowy days and make reasonable attempts to clear pathways and parking lots as soon as possible. If a customer slips or falls either outside or inside your building, you could potentially be liable for their injuries.

Prepare an emergency plan

In case of severe winter storms or sub-zero temperatures, having an emergency plan can protect your business, employees, and suppliers and avoid a disruption.

  • If your business can be run remotely, consider allowing employees to take necessary electronics home with them to work remote.
  • Contact vendors and suppliers to discuss how you will operate during the storm and make alternate arrangements as necessary.
  • If it’s necessary to be at the business, have an emergency kit with flashlights and batteries, bottled water and snacks. In case of a power outage, having a generator is a great backup plan to reduce disruption and damage.
  • It’s important to maintain good communication with employees to notify them of the status of the storm and any procedures to follow.

Rural Mutual knows Wisconsin weather and that makes protecting businesses from winter storms a priority. Finding the right business insurance is crucial to having peace of mind as a business owner. To learn more about our custom commercial insurance, contact your local agent.