Tips to reduce hail-related losses at your greenhouse

Added June 17, 2021
Greenhouse room damaged by hail

There were 4,611 reports of hail in the U.S. in 2020, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, with at least one report in every state except Alaska, Delaware, and Hawaii. While most of the hail activity in 2020 occurred between April and August, hail fell in every month except December.

Why do we share this information? If you own a greenhouse in the U.S., there’s a chance you’re going to have to deal with hail at some point. And it’s not just damage to your structures that you have to worry about. You also need to help protect your inventory, equipment, vehicles, and employees from—quite literally—the impacts of hail.

Follow these tips on what you can do before—and after—a hailstorm to help you mitigate losses at your greenhouse.

Prepare your business before a hailstorm hits

While hail events are unpredictable, the threat of hail is usually forecast as part of a severe weather update. Heed those forecasts to help limit damage:

  • Make sure all your bracing supports and greenhouse coverings are secure
  • Keep an inventory of all plants on your premises so you can review your crop list once it’s safe to do so
  • Place valuable plants in trucks and trailers and park alongside sturdy structures or in areas with cover
  • Clear debris from drainage systems to aid water flow away from your structures
  • Move outdoor items under cover to help prevent hail damage
  • Purchase replacement materials for your greenhouse so they’re already on hand in case you need to make immediate repairs after a storm

If you’re located in an area more prone to hailstorms, you may want to install protective netting to help shield your plants. Some netting is designed for more permanent protection for outdoor plants in lieu of a standard greenhouse or other structure.

Secure and document your property after a hailstorm

Hazards can still lurk after a hailstorm, most notably due to damaged structures and equipment.

Prioritize blocking off damaged areas so your customers, passersby, and even your employees can’t enter. Keep these areas clear until you address potential hazards and confirm it’s safe to enter.

Once your property is secure, take photos or videos of the damage—and the hail itself, if possible. It’s important you document the damage before you start to clean or repair your property. Documenting your losses can help in the claims process and also help you identify any missing or damaged property, inventory, or equipment you previously overlooked.

Next, contact your insurance provider. You should always have your insurance company’s contact information readily available. Not only can they get your claim process started, but they may be able to assist you in getting a contractor quickly on the scene to assess damage, secure structures, and initiate mitigation strategies to help protect your crop.

Make sure you’re covered with proper insurance

One of the best ways to help protect your company from these risks is having business insurance that can help you cover your losses from hail damage.

Commercial property insurance is an important coverage to have as part of your policy because it helps you cover damage losses to your listed buildings or structures, along with any completed additions to those buildings or structures. A commercial property policy can also cover your listed crops, stock, and inventory. 

Depending on your policy, coverage can also apply to the equipment contained in your buildings or greenhouses—including boilers, generators, coolers, benching systems, irrigation equipment, heat retention curtain systems, and environmental control computers. You may also be able to get reimbursed for lost business income as a result of damages to your property.

Our representatives understand the damage hail can inflict on businesses like yours. That’s why we work quickly to help you mitigate your losses, and we use our relationships with local contractors to help you get your business up and running again.

Through our safety services, we can also tailor a loss control program that can help your business prepare for severe weather events like hailstorms, along with other hazards. Get in touch with us. We’re ready to help you.

Related links:

If you suffer hail damage, you need to file a claim. Follow these five tips when reporting a claim to help get your claim started, processed, and settled more quickly.

Learn about two other critical types of business insurance coverage that play major roles in helping protect your horticultural company. 

Preparing for severe weather should be part of your safety plan. Learn why taking a proactive safety approach can help improve your business operations and your bottom line.

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