When it comes to winter weather, Mother Nature is full of surprises. And while Texans are accustomed to a little winter weather every year, winter storms can still be especially hazardous in this part of the country where people aren’t as used to them as to those in the north.
Planning ahead is essential to survival
When winter strikes, you need to have a risk management plan to deal with it. Even if you think you’re safe and warm at home, a winter storm can quickly turn dangerous if the power goes out, which is all too common in Texas ice storms. And your business could suffer property damage, loss of revenue, employee absences, an interruption of your operation, even injuries or deaths if you’re not adequately prepared.
Below are six key strategies for protecting your home and business from the ravages of winter:
- Determine your risks. It could be loss of heat, frozen pipes (which can burst and cause water damage), or loss of access due to ice or snow. What if your home lost power or you had to shut down your business for several days? Determine your biggest safety and property damage risks and take steps to mitigate them. Make sure your home, business, barn, shed, and any other structures that provide shelter for your family, employees, livestock, or equipment are properly insulated, and all major systems such as plumbing and electrical are working properly and winter-proof.
- Be prepared. Winter weather is much easier to endure if you’re ready for it. Have an emergency supplies kit handy at home and at your business, as well as essentials like snow shovels, ice melt, warm clothing, extra food and water. A backup power generator is also a good idea. Keep an inventory and photos of your home and business, both interior and exterior, along with insurance policies and other important documents, stored in a safe location.
- Review your homeowners and business insurance coverage. Check your Texas homeowners, auto and commercial property coverage to see if you have adequate protection. Do you have coverage for “additional living expenses” such as food, lodging, and other expenses in the event you have to vacate your home? Do you have business interruption coverage? Know the value of your properties and possessions, and if you have coverage to help you weather a storm.
- Develop an emergency communication plan. In a major winter storm, your family needs to stay connected. And your staff, customers, vendors, and contractors need to know what’s going on. Establish an email alert system for everyone in your household and your business. Use social media such as Facebook and Twitter to keep people connected and aware of your status while recovering after a major storm.
- Stay informed. Familiarize yourself with National Weather Service winter weather advisories and what they mean. Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or other local news channels for vital information about changing weather conditions.
- Minimize travel. Be prepared to severely limit or suspend traveling during a major winter storm to keep yourself, your employees, and your family safe. Always keep an emergency kit in your vehicle if you do have to travel.
When it comes to winter weather, being prepared is crucial to protecting your home, family, business and employees – even in Texas! See the insurance experts at Higginbotham for more ways to be fully prepared when Old Man Winter strikes.