Orlando, Fla.—Now is a good time to start getting ready for the heavy rain season in Central Florida. The wet season in Central Florida lasts an average of five months. It generally begins in late May and runs through mid-October. Although there is no definitive start date or time, there are a few signals that alert us to the fact that the rainy season may be beginning. Forecasters at the National Weather Service office in Melbourne, Florida make the official “call” of when the wet season has begun for Central Florida. They usually wait a few days, or sometimes weeks, after we “think” the season has started before determining the official start date of the current year.
Flood preparation is an essential component of disaster planning for every business. If you have a disaster recovery plan in place, make sure it includes plans and procedures for any type of flooding event your business could experience. A flood does not have to be a catastrophic event to bring high out-of-pocket costs, and you don’t have to live in a high-risk flood area to suffer flood damage. Around twenty percent of flood insurance claims occur in moderate-to-low-risk zones.
Note that damage from flooding, including flooding generated by hurricane-generated storm surge, typically is not covered under a standard commercial policy, including a Commercial Package Policy or a Business Owners Policy (BOP). Flood insurance is available from the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program. NFIP coverage can only be purchased through an insurance professional; you cannot buy it directly from the federal government.
A few good ways to prepare your commercial property from damage caused by heavy rains include:
Inspect and clean the roof drainage system
Inspect and clean the roof drainage system at least twice a year, ideally during the spring and fall. This includes all gutters, interior drains, and scuppers.
Keep trees trimmed and away from the roof to prevent branches from rubbing against the roof and leaves from accumulating and clogging drainage system.
Remove loose objects and accumulated debris—including anything left by contractors—from the roof that could end up in the drainage system.
Also check under and around all roof-mounted equipment, satellite dishes, antennas, and solar panels for debris that could disrupt the drainage system’s water flow or cause ponding.
Check gutters for granules
For steep-sloped roofs with asphalt shingles and low-sloped roofs with modified bitumen or built-up roofs, remove roof cover granules and pea gravel from gutters as they can accumulate, alter the slope of the gutter, and impede the gravitational flow of water.
Inspect roof drains
Check for and repair cracks around roof drains.
Re-check drainage systems
After severe weather, check all drainage systems for leaks and ensure they are properly secured and operating.
When re-roofing, ensure that all drains, scuppers, and gutters are returned to their original operating conditions.
Check for water
Check for long-term standing water in gutters and correct any blockages that may be the cause. If there are no blockages but standing water still occurs, ensure gutter is properly sloped to the downspout.
Check slope of roof cover system
For low-sloped roofs, ensure the slope of the roof cover system and the insulation boards divert water to internal drains when present or to the edge of the roof. Long-term standing water is an indication of improper slope.
Check AC drains
Ensure all roof-mounted air conditioning drain lines funnel water to a drain.
Ensure downspouts funnel water away from the building and do not allow water to accumulate near the building’s perimeter.
When replacing gutters, consider larger-sized gutters which allow for greater flow.
Check wall air conditioners
If your property uses wall air conditioners:
- Ensure size of internal drain pipe is adequate and water is flowing freely.
- Ensure there is proper caulking and weather stripping around the unit.
- Ensure unit is installed with a 1/4-inch bubble tilt toward outside.
At Garzor Insurance we specialize in commercial insurance coverage for businesses in Florida as well as Georgia. If you have questions about how to obtain flood insurance for your commercial property, or any other insurance aspects, please do not hesitate to visit us online at Garzor Insurance, or you may also call us directly at (321) 206-8035.
Mariana Zorrilla, CIC, CRIS, CPIA