Woman closing a roller shutter to help secure her small business.

How to protect your small business property from damage

Consider these tips to help protect your small business property from crime, electrical surges and water damage.

You've worked hard to build your business. You've made tough decisions and dodged countless pitfalls. Nevertheless, don't let the excitement of moving forward distract you from the present: what are you doing to protect what you've built?

Beyond the physical damage that burglaries, robberies, and fires cause, the interruption to your normal business operations is devastating. Luckily, many of these unexpected setbacks are preventable.

Follow these guidelines to help prevent loss as well as to help your business get up and running again, as quickly as possible.

Ways to prevent burglary

Building security often comes down to taking the right preventative measures. Help prevent business burglary through:

  • Good lighting — Lighting can be an effective deterrent against crime, both inside your business and outside the building. Make sure the light fixtures are in good working order. Use light cages to prevent bulb breakage. Replace burned-out bulbs as quickly as possible.
  • Secure windows — Burglar-resistant glazing can help increase security. Make sure all locks and latches work.
  • Doors and door locks — All building doors should be made of solid-core wood or metal and fit tightly into their frames. Make sure the doors have heavy-duty deadbolt locks.
  • Security systems — Security cameras can record images along with suspicious activities. Alarm systems can alert authorities and deter criminals before a theft actually occurs.

Help protect against electrical surges

  • Make sure any surge protectors you purchase are listed as UL Standard 1449. This is a national benchmark and means the product has been thoroughly tested.
  • Point-of-use devices can protect particular appliances in your home. However, a more comprehensive approach to surge protection is to combine point-of-use devices with another device. Example devices to pair with your point-of-use devices are service entrance surge protectors or electrical panel surge protectors.
  • Direct lightning strikes are powerful enough to overwhelm even the best surge protection. That said, the ultimate surge protection is to unplug equipment from the wall if you suspect a surge might be coming.

Help mitigate the risk of water and freezing damage

Water damage in the workplace can be a major problem. Not only can it cost you quite a bit to clean up, but it can also slow — or even shut down — your business operations.

Be proactive in protecting against water damage:

  • Replace appliances once their age exceeds their serviceable and defined lifetime.
  • Keep your thermostat set to 64 degrees Fahrenheit or higher; keep cabinet doors open to allow heat to get inside to protect against freezing pipes.
  • Drip pipes to prevent freezing water in your plumbing system.
  • Install insulated covers on all exterior faucets.
  • Install water leak detection systems to help monitor where pipe leaks may occur, such as sinks, commodes, water heaters, washing machines, etc.
    • Passive water leak detection systems are intended to alert owners to possible water leaks, using sensors that emit an audible alarm when water is present in the area. These are available at local home improvement stores.
    • Active whole business water shut-off systems will automatically shut off the water supply to the entire business when a water leak is detected in the operation.

Purchase and maintain small business insurance

Although you can prepare for possible damage, there is still a chance that calamity will occur. As such, obtaining and maintaining the proper insurance can be crucial. A well-planned business insurance policy can help to repair or replace your damaged or destroyed equipment after a covered loss.

Through your insurance company, you may be able to expedite the claims process if you've kept an up-to-date inventory of your business equipment. Remember to include leased equipment that is not specifically insured by the leasing company.

Learn more about other loss control measures you can apply to your small business such as employee theft. Or talk to a State Farm® agent now to learn more about insuring your business against loss.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates). While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. State Farm is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.

State Farm Fire and Casualty Company
State Farm General Insurance Company
Bloomington, IL

State Farm Florida Insurance Company
Winter Haven, FL

State Farm Lloyds
Richardson, TX

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