How Your Ministry Can Prepare for Commercial Storm Damage


Churches are often the pillars of the community. They step up in a crisis to help neighbors, friends and those affected by devastating storms. But what if your church is the object of commercial storm damage? What if you are the one in need?

Although severe winds and hail damage can occur with little warning, you can reduce the financial impact by taking precautionary measures. If you plan and prepare before disaster strikes, damage and downtime may be minimized.

Three Steps to Prepare for Storms
  1. Form a disaster recovery team. Designate a team leader and teach each team member the recovery procedures in the event of storm damage. Keep the team informed about the location of important documents, including property and casualty insurance policies.
  2. Keep your property in good repair. A well-maintained facility is less likely to have incidental damage, such as fallen tree limbs, roof damage and debris. Conduct regular inspections of your property and perform timely maintenance. Secure outdoor signage and other objects to prevent them from becoming airborne debris in a storm.
  3. Get a coverage assessment. Make sure your church insurance coverage amounts for commercial storm damage are based on accurate values of your church buildings. Ask your church insurance agent to take a complete survey of your property to make sure your policy is valued based on today’s figures and not outdated or incorrect information from past policies or carriers.
Need to file a storm damage insurance claim?

If your ministry has been affected by a storm and you need to file a claim, GuideStone® is here to help. Our team is ready to jump into action and help carry your burden when you suffer a loss. Here’s how to handle your claim:

  • Designate a specific contact on your team to manage the claim communications and repair process. This person should keep everyone updated on the claim’s progress and monitor documentation, distribution and implementation of the repairs.
  • Assess the damage and write down a detailed description of what happened, including information about the extent of the damage.
  • Start the conversation. Contact GuideStone Property and Casualty® at P& or (214) 720-2868. We’ll take it from there. Your insurance carrier will assign you to an adjuster who will contact you soon after they are assigned to answer any questions you might have. Your adjuster will focus on keeping you informed and advise you on your next steps.
  • Take all necessary steps to mitigate further damages. If your policy covers the loss, these repairs are generally covered by your policy. Catalog and protect critical building features and/or equipment.
    • Contact the police or fire department as necessary.
    • For damaged roofs, put tarps over holes in the roof. For water damage, turn off the water. If a tree has fallen or there is debris, work to get it removed or cleaned up.
    • Contact a mitigation company to prevent further damage to your property.
      • We recommend contacting Service Master at 1-800-RESPOND.
      • Always look at the mitigation estimate and see if it is “reasonable”.
      • Read any contracts carefully. We would suggest that you don’t sign anything without knowing what you are signing and the amounts you will be responsible for.
      • Take pictures before the mitigation company performs any work.
  • It may be worth it to evaluate if the claim amount exceeds your deductible. Sometimes, it might be more cost-effective to handle smaller expenses without involving your agent and insurance company.
Get Help Weathering All the Storms that Threaten Your Ministry

Continuing your ministry is a priority, and we’re here to advocate for you through all the risks you face, whether it’s commercial storm damage, data security management, employee liability disputes or threats to religious freedom. For more information, contact us at or (214) 720-2868, Monday through Thursday, from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CT and Friday, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. CT.

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice. Readers should use this article as a tool, along with best judgment and any terms or conditions that apply, to determine appropriate policies and procedures for your church’s risk management program.