May 23, 2018

THE HUB: Protect your business from frozen pipes

By Stephanie Choate

Observer staff

Local jewelry store Argento Laraine is back open after a broken pipe flooded the store and kept it closed for a week.

Last weekend, frigid temperatures froze a pipe—even though co-owner Jayson Argento said he left the heat on—causing it to burst. Temperatures then warmed, thawing the pipe and sending water flowing down the wall and across the store’s floor while Argento was out of town.

Luckily, Argento said it seems his insurance will cover the damages to his possessions and his landlord’s insurance will cover structural damage. The jewelry was in the safe and was not damaged, he said.

Williston Insurance Agency owner David Palmer said freezing pipes should be covered in a typical policy, but every claim is different and it’s important to be clear on what your policy covers.

“Have a quick conversation saying, ‘This is an area that concerns me, I’d like to have you help me make sure it’s covered on the policy,’” he said.

Kinney Pike Insurance Communication Specialist Ann Hutson said Kinney Pike advises clients to keep faucets open to a very slow drip during freezing cold spells.

“The more folks can take preventative action during cold weather, the better off they’re always going to be,” she said.

If you are renting your business space, Palmer said you should also make sure you are clear on what you are expected to cover. Some rental agreements only require liability coverage, while others expect you to take care of the building.

Palmer said some of his clients did not have a clear understanding of their rental agreements.

“We helped them understand what they had and we’ve seen exposure that they weren’t aware of and had they had a claim, it could have been financially devastating,” he said.

Argento also recommended having open communication with your landlord, adding that his has been “awesome.”

“People should for sure directly speak to their landlord,” he said. “If you’re not lucky enough to have a kind landlord, just be matter-of-fact and honest.”

Argento said he will also work with his friend’s company, Enhanced Digital Systems, which has a feature that alerts the company if temperatures approach freezing.

He also recommended checking security cameras while away.

Argento said there are some positives to having your business’s floor covered in water.

“The floor is really clean,” he said.

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