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What homeowners and businesses need to know following massive storm

Posted at 7:42 PM, Nov 24, 2014
and last updated 2015-11-19 19:24:52-05

With widespread storm damage in WNY, now is the time for home owners to dust off their insurance policies.

The Stahlka Agency in Williamsville says, first off, some policies cover the weight of ice and snow. Form HO-2 does not and should be updated to HO-7 or HO-3 with your agent.

Secondly, policy holders should check for coverage for sump pump failure or water back up in a basement. It's not included in most policies, but can be added for about $30-$80 per year. And some companies are paying for snow removal from roofs, up to $500 for a professional and $100 if you did it yourself.

Mark Stahlka says it's important to take photos of any damage that occurs. And, he says, this is a good time for WNYers to review policies with insurance providers.

Meanwhile, the Zittel family in Eden is scrambling to fill customer orders after losing nearly three acres of greenhouses that collapsed in heavy snow. Damage is estimated at several million dollars. Zittel's ships about 1.5 million cuttings annually to other greenhouses across the country.

Other growers have offered them space and they're working with wholesale companies like Ball Horticulture to complete customer orders.

Such backup plans can really pay off. The Small Business Administration says business interruptions, even lasting just a few hours, are costly in terms of lost productivity and profits. statistics show that "following a disaster, 90 percent of companies fail within a year unless they can resume operations within five days."

Having a disaster plan, and being able to put it into immediate action, can mean the difference between staying open or shutting down.