INSURANCE 97 HINE INSURANCE T: +44 (0)161 438 0000 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: hine.co.uk Hine Chartered Insurance Brokers have specialist knowledge in the bridal sector. They offer expert advice on the type and level of insurance you need, as well as providing competitive quotations from a range of leading insurers. They can help with your claim in the unfortunate event of a loss, and offer comprehensive after-sales support. IT’S A WASH OUT Water and fire are the biggest risks facing bridal shops, taking weeks, months and even years to put right. Catherine Brides of Hine Chartered Insurance Brokers tells us what you can do to protect your business against burst pipes During the winter, the risk of burst pipes is imminent due to cold temperatures putting more stress on your pipes. Should a pipe burst, this can have a devastating effect on your bridal business. Not only can it damage your building, electronics and stock, but it can also halt your ability to trade, seriously disrupting any prior commitments you have to your customers. Having spoken to many businesses affected by water damage, I’ve seen first-hand the stress and financial pressure this can cause. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to avoid burst pipes – and to limit the damage if an incident does occur. CHECK YOUR INSULATION Start by ensuring all of your pipes and water tanks are insulated – if they’re exposed to the elements, this leaves them vulnerable. By using insulation, you can protect your pipes against fluctuating temperatures, reducing the risk of them bursting. Another benefit of insulation is that it reduces the amount of heat lost, potentially saving your business money. Insulation can be fitted at a relatively low cost, so it’s certainly a worthwhile consideration if you haven’t already done so. MAINTAIN TEMPERATURES While you may be tempted to turn your heating off during the night to save a bit of money, keeping it running at a constant temperature will make your pipes less likely to burst. Should you need to leave your building empty for an extended period of time, always check the insurance policy to see if it needs to be kept above a certain temperature – otherwise your provider may not pay out. While your policy may well cover burst pipes, if you were found to not have followed basic guidance and maintenance procedures, your policy may well be invalidated. INSPECT YOUR BOILER Every business should make a note to have their boiler serviced annually by a professional, in order to spot any problems early and avoid trouble further down the line. Regular maintenance not only reduces the risk of breakdowns, but it will also likely extend the life of your boiler in the process. If your boiler does break down during the winter period, this will potentially expose your pipes to cold temperatures. This is why early autumn is the best time of year to get your boiler serviced, as this will identify any issues before the truly cold weather arrives. LOCATE YOUR STOPCOCK I would recommend that all businesses ensure that all of their staff know the location of your water stopcock. With this, if an incident does occur, you can stop the flow of water to prevent any further damage. Most buildings have an internal and external stopcock, so ensure that you know the whereabouts of both of these, as well as how to shut them off in an emergency. DRAIN YOUR PIPES Another point to consider is if your building is going to be left empty for an extended period of time. If this is the case then it may well be worth completely draining your pipes and water tanks, to eliminate the risk of your pipes bursting. Of course, this won’t be necessary for short breaks away, but it may be useful if you are temporarily vacating the premises. Five steps to take in the event of a burst water pipe While prevention is key, we cannot account for all scenarios, so here are five things you should do if your bridal shop is affected by a burst water pipe… 1. Shut off your water supply and switch off the central heating; 2. Move any furniture/equipment away from the flooded area. If safe, use towels to soak up water; 3. Notify your insurer/insurance broker; 4. Your insurer will advise of your next steps for repair; 5. Let your staff and customers know.