Preparing Your Business for Wildfires

As spring arrives and temperatures rise, the risk of wildfires also increases. It’s crucial to ensure that you and your business are adequately prepared for such a wildfire, even if you are in an urban environment. In addition to direct damage from flames, wildfires can indirectly impact a business from smoke or water damage. Embers from a fire can travel several kilometers, transportation routes can be compromised, and infrastructure such as power, gas, and communication lines can be damaged or destroyed. 

This can mean that many businesses are often at risk during wildfire season, even if they don’t appear to be directly in the line of fire. It’s for these reasons we recommend that each BC business owner consider the following when heading into wildfire season.

How to Prepare Your Business for Wildfire Season

To prepare for a wildfire or other significant event, take the following steps into consideration: 

  1. Speak to your insurance broker about your coverage. You should ensure that you have appropriate coverage for your business property, business interruption/rental income, and extra expense coverage.
  2. Do not wait to get insurance. Act now! Don’t wait until a fire is near to start looking.
  3. Develop a robust business continuity plan that outlines how you will get back up and running after the event.
  4. Create an up-to-date emergency plan that includes an emergency kit, key contacts, a communication plan, evacuation routes, and backup data so you can access it remotely if needed.
  5. Ensure that your business or home is properly prepared. There are many great resources available to home and business owners.
  6. Follow evacuation warnings and orders.

Insurance is Your Last Line of Protection

While insurance may not prevent a wildfire, it can help you after the event. By speaking to your broker and ensuring that you have the proper coverage for your business, you put yourself in the best position to be able to resume your business after a wildfire. Remember that you can buy insurance based on price or coverage. Saving money on your insurance may seem tempting, but it can cost you in the long run if you don’t have enough or proper coverage for your business. 

Take time to consider what it would cost you to replace all of your business property if there were a disaster. Avoid falling into the trap of thinking that your building can get rebuilt for a certain amount per square foot. Get a proper rebuilding cost appraisal done. 

Consider your business contents as well. Determine the actual cost of replacing your computer systems, furnishings and fixtures, and stock. Calculate how long it would take to get what you need to resume your business. Valuing your business property too low to save money on insurance may end up costing you in the long run. 

Types of Business Insurance to Consider

Business Interruption and or Rental Income coverage can be one of the most critical components for saving your business because it will maintain your revenue stream if you lose your business or property to a wildfire. Not only can it continue your revenues it can help with the expenses that may carry on even if you are not able to operate as normal. Be aware of any limitations there may be regarding evacuation orders.  

If you are able to operate fairly easily from another location, that is great. However, consider Extra Expense coverage. You may have to pay extra to be able to operate, including renting office space for a short period, network infrastructure, and other increased costs you may incur. Extra Expense coverage will help defer these costs. 

Wildfire Preparedness

Wildfires and their aftermath can be a terrible experience but by taking precautions, making appropriate preparations and being aware you can only help yourself and business recover. Having the proper insurance in place can only help with this and perhaps provide you with peace of mind.  

FireSmart BC is a great resource for preparing yourself, your family and business for wildfire. While most of the tools refer to residences the same principals can be applied to your business. 

And, of course, our brokers here at Park Insurance are ready to support you with any of your business-related insurance needs. Contact us today to ensure that you have the right coverage against wildfires in place. 

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