Severe winter storms can cause millions of dollars in damage to commercial properties. Although we cannot stop Mother Nature, we can take steps to prevent damage during and after storms.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, winter storms are the third-largest cause of insured catastrophe losses after tornadoes and hurricanes. Winter weather can bring frozen pipes, roof damage or collapse, flooding, and other perils. Below are some tips to help avoid costly repairs.
Before a storm approaches:

  • Pay attention to the forecast so you know what weather to expect.
  • Check that the roofing material and all other parts of the roof, such as downspouts, vents, gutters, and HVAC units, are secured and functional.
  • Trim trees and shrubs and remove other hazards that are too close to buildings.
  • Secure loose equipment on the ground, such as sheds and tools, to prevent flying debris.
  • Check seams and joints around windows and doorframes.
  • Park vehicles in parking structures instead of under trees.
  • Check landscaping grade to ensure proper water drainage.
  • Install a backup power source, such as a generator.

Following a storm:

  • Remove snow from roof structures where the snow load could cause a collapse.
  • Check for ice dams where gutters or downspouts have become clogged by ice or debris.
  • Clear snow and ice from furnace vents.

If your business is not located in a severe-weather area, you might think you don’t need to worry about preparation. The better philosophy is to hope for the best and plan for the worst by preparing a plan of action to anticipate severe weather and the steps to take afterward.