There's one determination that every business owner - regardless of their industry - needs to assess each year: how much flood insurance to purchase, based on the potential that one occurs.
If history is any guide, thousands of business owners stand to be adversely affected by flooding. In the last five years, for instance, all 50 states have experienced floods or flash floods, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Coastal cities still in the crosshairs
Though there isn't a single state that's not at risk for flooding, the potential for high water levels is on the rise in the Atlantic, 10 years removed from Hurricane Katrina. Miami, New Orleans, New York and Tampa all face an elevated risk in the coming years for a flood that could cost each city's economy $15 billion or more, according to a newly released estimate from Risk Management Solutions.
"Businesses that prepare for a disaster - which includes purchasing the proper insurance coverage - stand the best chance of financially surviving," said Loretta Worters, vice president and consumer spokesperson for the Insurance Information Institute.
Companies that operate in a coastal city or town are the most susceptible to flooding. The states with the total potential exposure to hurricane storm damage are all located adjacent to a major body of water, according to CoreLogic. Florida has the highest exposure to potential storm surge damage, followed by New York, New Jersey, Virginia and Louisiana.
IBHS' zip code tool
The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety has a web tool that allows business owners to determine their risk for flooding - as well as other natural disasters like hurricanes, wildfire and hailstorms - simply by entering their zip code. The results can help owners decide the proper amount of coverage to purchase.
Another way to assess a region's flooding potential is by staying informed. Advances in climate sciences and meteorological forecasts have enabled experts to more accurately predict the chances for flooding when a storm approaches. Ideal sources include local weather stations, the American Red Cross, National Hurricane Center and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Generally speaking, flood coverage is available through the government's National Flood Insurance Program. However, insurance companies, like Selective, offer protection as well. Going through the NFIP, a business owners' flood policy provides up to $500,000 in building property coverage and up to $500,000 for contents coverage.
For more information on the flood insurance package that's appropriate for you and your business, speak with a Selective agent.