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Disaster Preparedness: Protecting Your Inventory from Hurricanes

Disaster Preparedness: Protecting Your Inventory from Hurricanes

It is time for Floridians to review their Hurricane Preparedness Plans!

Last year (2019) appeared to be a “mild” year from a weather perspective, but damage estimates, according to Accuweather, exceeded $22B. If Hurricane Dorian had kept its projected course and not moved further eastward, the destruction to Florida’s east coast corridor would have been devastating.

Since the 2020 season officially began on June 1st, we have already experienced numerous Tropical Storms. The season started early for Atlantic storm activity.

What this means for us, as Floridians, is the ever-present call for readiness.

This year, NOAA has predicted a higher than average level of storm activity with 11 to 17 Named Storms, 5 to 9 realizing Hurricane Force Winds, and 2 to 4 storms becoming Major Hurricanes and reaching categories 3, 4, or 5.

For the Dealership community, disaster preparedness has become even more critical. Most Dealers have vehicle inventory policies without Aggregates for Wind/Hail, and some Dealership storage lots are restricted or void of Flood coverage. Therefore, it is imperative to have a safe haven to store vehicles out of harm’s way. Exposing 500 to 1,000 vehicles at $1,500 to $5,000 each in wind deductibles can add up quickly. If the policy carries a Flood Exclusion, a foot of water can cause extensive and uninsured damage.

RELATED ARTICLE: How to Prepare for Severe Weather Events as a Dealer

Confirm leases on outside facilities and check your inventory levels to ensure that you have secured enough spaces. If you are keeping the units on the lot, make sure you identify the low areas.

Just leasing a storage facility or having a parking garage in the dealership group is not enough. It is equally important to ensure that you can efficiently deliver your inventory to a safe location when the need arises. This means potential “trial runs” to confirm the necessary personnel can be quickly mobilized to move the units.

The good news is that many Inventory Insurers will assist in the cost of moving vehicles when a Hurricane Warning is in effect.

Finally, remember to protect the keys. With inventory units moving rapidly to new locations, it’s easy to lose track of these. More than ever, a check-in/check-out process for ensuring keys are not lost or duplicated is essential. You don’t want to breathe the sigh of relief escaping damage from the storm only to have half a dozen vehicles disappear a week later.

Protect your cars and trucks. It’s the inventory you sell!


Steven P. Gibson
President, Dealer Risk Services