One part of nature that is almost impossible to prepare for is water. It can’t be shoveled, removed, or stopped from filling every crevasse, crack and open space it encounters. At the end of December of 2015, the state of Missouri encountered usually high wintertime rainfall, of over 14 inches, that lead to historic levels of flooding in areas along the Mississippi River. The widespread flooding in Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Illinois spread out over the span of 2 weeks’ time, and was deemed responsible for over 25 deaths.
Over 7,000 buildings and homes were destroyed, leaving behind over half a million tons of debris in the St. Louis area. Many small restaurants in areas along the Mississippi were left unsure how to proceed, since flood levels of over four feet above record affected many locations that normally would not experience flooding. Climatologists claim that the amounts of rain that the region received only happen every 100-300 years, and FEMA flood maps that determine what areas need to carry flood insurance do not reflect these 100 year storms until after they occur.
When opening or operating a restaurant in an area that is prone to flooding, carrying flood insurance on your policy is a must to assure that your business can reopen once the flood water recedes. A strong flood policy will include contents coverage for items such as furniture, electronics, appliances, freezers(and the food inside them), and property coverage that extends to the electrical systems, plumbing, foundation and structural integrity, air-conditioning, heater, water heater, stoves, dishwashers, and refrigerators. It’s important for restaurant owners to keep good records of all purchases of equipment, as well as retain receipts and contacts at the location each item was purchased. When making a flood claim, adjusters will often request for this information to ensure that all items were owned prior to the flood damage.
When Hurricane Sandy hit in 2011 it affected the Northeast, especially New Jersey and New York, and taught restaurant owners a hard lesson when it comes to flood insurance. One of the major issues that the region encountered following the storm-related flooding was loss of power. Hundreds and hundreds of restaurants that did not carry flood insurance, many of which were miles and miles away from any significant flooding, were denied business-interruption and food-spoilage coverage from their insurance providers because the loss of power was a result of a flood. It’s important for restaurant owners to speak with an RPA agent to ensure that your restaurant has the proper levels of insurance to protect against any interruptions that flooding may cause to the business. Contact us today to find out.