Spring Maintenance and Storm Preparation
Spring's warmer temperatures bring melting snow and ice, which can quickly lead to leaking roofs at your self-storage facility. As the ice begins to melt, be sure to inspect your roof for ice dams, clogged drains and downspouts, and broken seals, all of which can contribute to costly leaks and damage to your tenants' stored property.
Maintenance during spring months also should focus on the potential for the severe storms and hail that historically occur at this time. It's important to keep in mind that the recent trend of more frequent and more severe weather means that damaging storms can occur at any time throughout the year.
These storms can cause catastrophic damage to self-storage facilities and often result in repairs or replacement of the entire roof or the damaged portions of the roof. For property owners in areas prone to hail storms, this is an unwelcome potential peril and one that can't be avoided. However, property owners can take action to prepare for severe weather and help minimize storm damage. With that in mind, here are some recommendations to help protect your self-storage facility from the costly effects of hail damage.
• Insurance – Schedule a coverage review with your insurance agent being sure to address potential exposures caused by hail and wind. In response to this loss trend, insurers are applying stricter underwriting guidelines with higher deductibles, increased premiums, and endorsements limiting coverage. In addition, carriers have become more likely to decline to quote wind/hail coverage or decline offering a quote for the entire risk. In the most challenging locations, wind/hail deductibles of up to five percent may be applied to property insurance policies, which can create a large financial exposure for the business owner in the event of a major loss. MiniCo offers a stand-alone wind/hail deductible buy-back policy that lets you lower the deductible to as little as one percent or a specific dollar value.
• Facility Maintenance – Prepare your property for severe wind and hail with maintenance tasks that can help reduce potential damage. Trim trees to prevent damage from falling limbs and falling trees. Make sure equipment is secured in a protective structure. Tie down construction materials and other items that could become airborne and cause damage during a severe storm.
• Roof Inspections and Maintenance – Schedule regular inspections with a qualified roofer to evaluate the condition of the roof and perform the necessary maintenance on any areas identified as defective.
• Roofing Design and Materials – During new construction or when reroofing, the design and material quality are key considerations. It is important to consult roofing professionals with self-storage experience to assist in evaluating these critical building components in order to help mitigate potential damage from weather-related activity.
• Protective Shields – Install protective shields or screens over skylights, HVAC units, and other roof-mounted equipment.
Your insurance agent is an excellent source for risk management strategies and resources. Liberty Mutual Insurance, one of MiniCo’s carriers, has prepared a detailed hail action plan that is available for download at the link below. Resources for business owners are also available at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website.