RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A flood, a fire or even far away disasters can have a dramatic impact on a businesses. That’s why the Virginia State Corporation Commission Bureau of Insurance is encouraging small business owners to be informed on the specifics of what their insurance policies cover and how to be prepared to move on after disaster strikes.

The Bureau wants Virginians who own businesses to plan ahead and become experts on their own insurance policies, including what those policies cover and how much money is needed to make repairs and pay employees after a serious situation. An announcement from the Bureau suggests that business owners should get ready for disaster by knowing the specifics of deductibles, coverage limits and exclusions.

More disaster preparedness questions for business owners to ask include:

  • Is additional or separate coverages are needed, like for floods or earthquakes?
  • Will you need to buy separate automobile insurance for business vehicles?
  • Is your business and its contents insured for current replacement cost?
  • Do you need business interruption insurance to cover loss of income that your business may suffer after a disaster?

Business owners should also plan for the next steps after a disaster by creating and sharing a business continuity plan with employees that includes employee contact information, backup vendors or suppliers and a temporary relocation site. The Bureau also suggests keeping physical copies of important records like building plans, insurance policies, bank accounts and employee contact information in a safe, waterproof and fireproof place.

If a disaster strikes while employees are in the building, business owners should keep key items onsite such as disaster provisions, maps with evacuation routes and a working radio.

“How you plan for and respond to disasters can determine whether your business survives,” Virginia Insurance Commissioner Scott A. White said in a statement. “Protect yourself and your business against the unexpected by having the insurance coverage you need and updating it regularly.”

Virginia business owners can learn more by contacting the Consumer Services Section of the Bureau of Insurance Property and Casualty Division at 877-310-6560 or in Richmond at 804-371-9185. The Bureau of Insurance’s website also has more information.

More emergency preparedness information relating to disasters is available at vaemergency.gov.