The cold weather that struck the UK today could cause damage to SMEs who are not prepared, according to a new report.Royal & SunAlliance (R&SA), the UK's second largest commercial insurer, said that SMEs can take a series of simple measure to avoid the possible damage that cold weather can cause. R&SA advised that the most important action a business should take is ensuring that is has a full business continuity plan in place.Other practical tips include knowing where all stopcocks are and that they are clearly labelled, ensuring that the building's temperature is at least four degrees when left empty and keeping as little crucial equipment in basements as possible.The underwriting director at R&SA, Graham Heale, advised businesses to take cold-weather precautions very seriously, saying: "Freezing temperatures create numerous potential hazards for businesses."Pipes burst even in the best-run commercial properties and can cause untold damage to equipment. This could have serious knock-on effects to the viability of the business," he noted.Earlier, the consumer watchdog Which? warned that many people risked being charged too much to repair damage caused by last week's storm."We are advising people to contact their insurance company in the first instance, and follow some simple steps to reduce the risk of being ripped off," said spokesperson Carol Brady.© Adfero Ltd