How restaurants can protect themselves against the costly hail season
The return of hail season brings an annual hazard to bars and restaurants, here’s how they can prepare all year long
With so many uncertainties in the restaurant and bar industry, there’s one consistent hazard in Colorado every spring: the return of hail season. Colorado’s infamously dangerous and costly hail season begins mid-April, running throughout the summer and into September, and your business should be prepared.
Colorado is one of the most hail-prone states in America, with a reported 380,066 hail loss claims between 2017 and 2019, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. This represents 14% of all hail claims in the United States. In fact, of the top five U.S. cities with the most hail loss claims, two are in Colorado – Colorado Springs and Denver. And the financial impact of the damage is tremendous. In May 2017, a powerful storm accompanied by hail resulted in $3.6 billion in damages across Colorado.
While you can’t predict the unexpected, restaurants can better prepare themselves with annual preventive measures against these dangerous storms. The following are best practices for bars and restaurants to avoid costly storm damage and insurance claims from hailstorms and other natural disasters.
Regularly inspect your roof
Not only does regularly inspecting your roof extend the life of your roof and save you money in the long term, it also allows you to troubleshoot and remedy any issues such as split shingles, loose or broken roofing material, rusty metal and sagging. Inspecting your roof every year or two will help prevent indoor damage to your property.
Address drainage problems prior to hail season
Check your gutters and building drainage before the storm season begins. If your gutters are due for a cleaning, contact a local gutter company to complete the job. Additionally, if your roof has been damaged, your gutters have probably been damaged too. Neglected gutters spell disaster as they accumulate debris and standing water. Standing water can easily overflow into your foundation, potentially flooding the basement and shutting down your establishment.
Secure outdoor items to prevent wind damage
Grills, picnic tables and lawn furniture can become projectiles in high wind scenarios. It’s best to ‘Batten down the hatches’ as they say — you don’t want your patio umbrella to go spiraling through the air during a summer storm. Consider securing patio furniture with steel security cables if you cannot safely store furniture indoors.
Trim your trees to prevent storm damage
While dead trees and dead branches are a liability all of the time, dead branches are more likely to fall during heavy storms and gusting winds. This can be hazardous to you, your employees, patrons and the building. From tree limbs falling on the roof to dead branches getting tangled in power lines, a well-maintained property will help you avoid costly storm damage insurance claims.
Research insurance companies and policies
Like with cars and apartments, you should shop around for the insurance policy that fits your business best. Try and select an insurance company that understands the unique needs of your restaurant or bar. The right company will know where the risks are and can help you control them to minimize loss.
Colorado’s Front Range receives the highest frequency of large hail in North America. Residents can expect three to four catastrophic hailstorms every year, defined as at least $25 million in insured damage. Restaurant owners can lessen the damage to their building, payroll and bottom line if they invest a little bit of time every year into preparing for the season.