Within a church’s package policy, adequate storm insurance is one of the most important details. Here along the Florida Gulf Coast, church storm insurance is at the top of minds of church administrators as hurricane season approaches. What are the proactive steps to take to protect your church against wind and storm damage? If your church does suffer damage, what do you need to do? Today, we will cover these important questions to minimize the risk to your mission in these times of natural disaster.
During hurricane season, it is best practice for all key church staff to use an NOAA weather radio along with mobile apps with notifications like MyRadar.
Our hearts and prayers went out to the thousands impacted by 2018’s Hurricane Michael. For many local churches, the damage inflicted by this historical storm displaced their weekly services, caused unforetold property damage and left emotional trauma to be addressed for years. Although churches by nature ban together in times of need, our goal at Beacon Insurance is to help ministries before crisis strikes as well as during and after. Hurricanes are unpredictable. Take the following steps to be ready for the season.
Tip: Understand your storm insurance policies before wind and storm season. Still have questions? Give us a call.
Before the Storm: Protect Your Church from Wind and Storm Damage
● Maintain a current Emergency Preparedness Plan. Update this Plan to reflect any renovations and key staff changes. Circulate it and hold regular in-services covering the material.
● Conduct routine emergency drills. Sunday is a great day to do this once a month before and throughout peak storm season.
You will want to take note of the following five areas:
- Popular exits that get overpopulated as people leave.
- People coming back into the building for something they forgot or to look for others.
- Highest areas of noise which obstruct important verbal instruction.
- The sound quality of A/V systems to be used for instruction during an emergency.
- Clear distinction of different types of emergency alarms.
● Keep trees and shrubbery trimmed to a shorter length to reduce the risk of falling branches.
● Gravel and rock used in landscaping take flight during high wind and are likely to cause property damage. Replace these items with shredded bark, mulch or sand.
● For larger windows and stained glass windows, install storm shutters for protection.
● Keep all outdoor furniture and equipment inside during storm season or return it inside right after use.
● Be prepared for lightning strikes well before storm seasons is in full swing. Perform an electrical audit and replace any outstanding issues. Faulty electrical setups put churches at high risk during storms for lightning strikes and other damage to expensive equipment and property.
● If your church is in a low-lying area or has a basement, have a solid plan for gathering sandbags and pumps and for moving important documents and property to a higher level at the first notification of a flood watch or warning.
● Keep your inventory list up-to-date. This makes the damaged inventory process much easier after a storm.
● Develop an official Contingency Plan. Confirm alternate sites for services, childcare and other routine activities to decrease the disruption should a storm strike. Partner with a neighboring church to help each other out in times of loss.
If a Storm Damages your Church: What you Need to Do
● Contact your insurance agent immediately. Follow their guidance for the next steps and use the printable resource above for important contacts.
● The government just recently passed FEMA regulations for churches. After a storm, your church may qualify. Learn more by reviewing and printing this outline from Church Law and Tax.
● Photograph all damaged items and property.
At Beacon Insurance, the difference is in our expertise. Contact us today for a church inspection to get ready for hurricane season.