How to Prep for Disaster Insurance Claims

Regardless of whether Hurricane Sandy uprooted a tree or flooding your basement, sifting through your possessions that are damaged can be overpowering. While it may be tempting to throw out damaged items straight away, it’s important to capture the state of your home when you plan to submit an insurance claim. When it’s deemed safe to go back, heed these simple reminders to be certain you accurately assess the damage before start the rebuilding process.

American Red Cross

Ahead of the adjuster arrives. Your insurance coverage will require you to make a list of everything that’s damaged or ruined. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners recommends that you carefully divide damaged things, and if you do not already have a home inventory list, sit down as a family and create a list of things in each area by memory. From sports equipment, linens to china, write down a description, brand name, in which you bought it, price, version and serial number if appropriate.

Unless local officials require so, do your best not to lose anything before an adjuster has seen it. Should you have to toss things out, don’t forget to snap a photograph of your discarded item. Also, keep samples to the adjuster to view. By way of example, save a swatch of ruined carpeting to help prepare your repair quote.

Note: You may have different sorts of insurance covering all of the damages from the storm — an auto policy which covers a flooded car, for example — so it’s probable you may need to file individual claims for every reduction. It is still a good idea to capture every one of these details.

American Red Cross

Using your camera or smartphone, run a thorough walk-through documenting the harm in every space. Take video and narrate when possible, highlighting everything from small electronics to furniture and appliances.

“Any picture representation of damaged things is useful. You would like to account for every single one of your things,” advises Joseph King of the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety. “Search for serial numbers, version numbers and some other newspaper receipts (if salvageable). Create 2-3 copies of every receipt, as you’ll need one for your adjuster and also to your own records.” If you’ve have the receipts for damaged items, it will expedite settling your claim.

Hint: You can also set the date stamp in your camera settings. Robert Hunter, director of insurance at the Consumer Federation of America, states, “If you later realize you have no pictures when you submit a claim, don’t forget that your family probably has images of rooms in your home from vacations or other parties which can be helpful in re-creating a list of your belongings.”

Federal Emergency Management Agency

Smartphone programs. If you don’t already have an upgraded digital catalog itemizing everything in your home, a handful of programs can help with this daunting process:

myHOME from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners captures pictures, descriptions, bar codes and serial numbers of every product.

Know Your Materials from the Insurance Information Institute enables you to catalog your possessions and set them.

Insurance providers offer their own programs, like the Allstate Digital Locker or Liberty Mutual Mobile App, which permit you to track your claims and keep receipts.

These mobile programs may also analyze whether you’re below- or over-insured.

American Red Cross

Function with your adjuster. When the adjuster is dependent upon website, King advises, “Work as tightly as possible with your insurance adjuster. They’re there to help you, along with the rebuilding process will be smoother if you keep with them. This is your insurance, your home — your life.”

See how to help and get help: Rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy

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