Winter storm season can bring low temperatures, high snowfall, icy conditions, and the hazards that result from extreme winter weather to many areas across the country. As spring gets closer, warmer temperatures bring additional challenges for property owners. It’s important for self-storage business owners to make a plan for spring inspections and maintenance even if the snow is still falling.
Successful self-storage operators are aware of the importance of facility maintenance to improve curb appeal and attract prospective customers. But operators may not understand the full scope of the insurance benefits that preventive maintenance may afford a self-storage operation. Putting in the hard work performing maintenance tasks can help reduce the risk of costly claims and lawsuits, which may have a positive effect on insurance premiums and save the business money in the long run. Here are some maintenance tasks to consider.
- Fences and Gates: Inspect perimeter fencing to identify damage, such as chain link that has been cut or damage caused by vehicle impact, and make prompt repairs. Contact a licensed professional to inspect electronic gates and keypads and make repairs as appropriate.
- Roofing: Melting snow and ice can quickly lead to roof leaks. Contact a licensed professional to inspect and repair roofing throughout the property. Also 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 tenants’ stored property.
- Pavement and Walkways: Maintaining paved areas and walkways is a critical component of a facility’s risk management plan and helps to reduce the risk of slip-and-fall accidents and property damage. As part of daily premise inspections, keep an eye out for potholes and cracks in aisles, sidewalks, parking areas, steps, and other walkways, and make repairs in a timely manner.
- Lighting and Security Cameras: Make it a daily practice to inspect the lighting throughout the facility to ensure that the property is appropriately illuminated for the safety of tenants and managers, and make prompt repairs when needed. In addition, contact a licensed professional to inspect security cameras, monitors, and recording devices to ensure they are in good working order.
- Landscaping: Regular removal of brush and grass that has grown up around the facility contributes to curb appeal, but there are more important reasons to stay on top of landscaping tasks. A property that reflects poor housekeeping and lack of maintenance may become a target for criminal activity. In addition, overgrown trees, shrubs, and ground cover provide fuel for fires. Whether a fire originates on the property or begins as a wildfire, diligent maintenance of landscaping can help to prevent the spread of flames and minimize the resulting damage.
In addition to reducing the potential for slip-and-fall injuries, property damage, fire, water damage, and crime, preventive maintenance may enable an insurance underwriter to offer better terms at the next policy renewal in the form of reduced premiums, higher limits, or lower deductibles. Insurance agents can work with self-storage business owners to identify appropriate insurance coverage and develop risk management plans for the current year and beyond.
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