What to Consider in Disaster Preparedness

In the wake of the Joplin, Missouri Tornado last May, business owners learned a lot about how to deal with any future disasters. Below are some tips on how to protect yourself in case of a disaster, according to www.semissourian.com:

1. Be aware of your insurance coverage, and buy more if necessary.

Read your insurance policy, and understand it so you will know what is covered and what is not. Where might you buy additional coverage?

2. Be proactive, not reactive.

Fix a potential problem before it can cause bigger problems down the road. By reducing risk from the get-go, such as a damaged roof, exposed wires, or even just replacing a dead battery in a smoke detector, you can keep the situation from being worse than it needs to be.

3. Backup your data.

Back up any information pertinent to running your company. Make sure the data is backed up in a safe, secure location away from your place of business — whether that is at another location, via online cloud storage, or even a bank vault.

4. Use the services of the Small Business Administration (SBA).

The SBA offers long-term, fixed-rate loans for any physical losses your business might suffer due to a disaster, including equipment and economic. Also, be sure to apply within the “window of disaster declaration,” which the SBA sets, otherwise you won’t qualify for a loan.

5. Update your policy if you have upgraded your equipment.

If you have upgraded your business equipment lately, don’t forget to also upgrade your insurance to cover the new equipment.

6. Be aware that flood insurance is different than normal insurance.

Flood damage is not normally covered by conventional insurance and instead must be acquired through the National Flood Insurance Program, which is operated by the federal government. So, if you expect you could be subject to flooding, be sure to look into this beforehand.

7. Prepare for after the disaster.

Having some type of business continuation insurance is a good thing since it is not known how long your company might need to get back on its feet. It could take days, weeks, or even months, and having that added sense of security helps, especially when it comes to keeping the doors open.

8. Make sure everyone is okay, assess the damage and repair if necessary, and then call the insurance company.

The first order of business in the aftermath of a disaster is to make sure everyone is okay. Once that is done, assess the situation and fix anything that needs to be taken care of right then, such as covering holes in the roof to prevent further rain damage. Then, call the insurance agent to see what your next steps should be.

For more information about what to consider in disaster preparedness, visit: http://www.semissourian.com/story/1816808.html