This week’s storm played havoc with electricity up and down the eastern seaboard and some cities are still without power as of this writing. Icing of power lines, road closures, even the weight of ice and snow on roofs, caused many property losses; however, for businesses, many sustained loss of income claims as well. For many business owners the losses they sustained were ones that they just could not afford to absorb. Weather can and often does cause catastrophic losses.
Provided that the loss is caused by an occurrence covered under your policy, there may be compensation for a resulting loss of property and/or loss of income. In addition, depending on the length of the waiting period on your policy, you might be able to file a claim under off-premises utility service for any interruption of regular business caused specifically by a power outage.
Do you have coverage for a power outage claim ?
Utility Service interruption coverage provides for a loss due to incoming electricity, or the lack of incoming electricity, caused by damage from a covered cause of loss (for example, fire, flood, windstorm, etc.) During SuperStorm Sandy, many people were affected by the loss of electrical power when Con Edison’s power station went down. In order to collect for damages, they needed to have both Flood coverage as well as utility service interruption coverage on their policies. This coverage, like Flood and Earthquake is not standard coverage, but it can be added by endorsement. Such endorsements may cover Direct Damage to property and/or time element coverage which provides for business interruption. Overhead transmission lines may or may not be covered so check your policy.
Whether you are a small business owner, a new venture or a business just beginning to realize a profit, you invariably depend on every day’s receipts. Therefore, any interruption in your normal business hours can have serious consequences. This is true with any business, but in the case of food service establishments there is the potential of lost business as well as lost inventory. Think of Deli’s, Diners, Luncheonettes, small Groceries, and Pizzeria’s, to name only a few of the places recently impacted by weather.
Therefore, it is imperative that you speak with your agent and make sure that your business is protected should the need arise to close due to weather conditions. We are only 1/3 through this winter and already cities have exhausted snow removal budgets. Many vendors have depleted their stock of salt used for roads. Don’t get caught short insurance wise. Before the next snowfall, we strongly suggest that you contact your agent and make sure you are covered properly going forward. If the immediate past is any indication of the future, this winter promises to be a humdinger! Be safe, stay dry, keep warm and above all, make sure you are covered by the type of insurance that can save YOUR day.
By Karen Skoler, CPCU