- Contact your insurance agent or company immediately and report the damage. Give your name, address, and policy number, as well as the date and time of loss.
- Take pictures of the damage, if possible, before beginning repairs. If you repair small items, such as TV antennas, window coverings, or fences before the adjustor arrives, it may be difficult to prove the damage. Pictures can also be used as evidence for tax deductions.
- Protect your property from further damage or theft. Patch roofs temporarily. Cover broken windows with boards or plastic. If household furnishings are exposed to weather, move them to a safe location for storage. Save receipts for what you spend and submit them to your insurance company for reimbursement.
- Dry out water-damaged furnishings and clothing as soon as possible, to prevent fading and deterioration. You may wish to take some items to a reliable dry cleaner.
- Keep accurate records:
- A list of cleaning and repair bills, including materials, cost of rental equipment and depreciation of purchase equipment.
- A list of any additional living expenses you incur, if your home is so severely damaged that you have to find other accommodations while repairs are being made, including motel and restaurant bills, home rental or car rental.
- A list of all actual losses, including furniture, appliances, clothing, paintings, artifacts, foods and equipment, regardless of your intent to replace the objects. Photographs of ruined homes or objects are excellent evidence for later documentation.
Try to document the value of each object loss. Bills of sale, canceled checks, charge account records and insurance evaluations are good evidence. If you have no such records, estimate the value, and give purchase place and date of purchase. Include this information with your list.
- Contact a reputable firm to have your damage repaired. Beware ofdoor-to-door salesmen. Sometimes undependable workers enter a damaged area,make cheap repairs, and leave before residents discover that the repairsare inadequate. If your local contractor cannot do the work, ask him torecommend someone.
- Don't be in a hurry to settle your claim. Although you may wantto have your damage claim settled as quickly as possible,it is sometimesadvisable to wait until all damage is discovered. Damages which have beenoverlooked in an early estimate may become apparent later. If you are dissatisfiedwith the settlement offer, talk things over with your agent and adjustor.Check your policy to see what settlement steps it outlines.
This information taken from a pamphlet prepared by:
The Collier County Cooperative Extension Service
14700 Immokalee Road
Naples, FL 33964
941 353 4244