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Tips for Backing Up Insurance Claims

Editor's Note: Gulfport resident Lorraine Santo of Ward 6 sent to GCN some good information regarding what people can do to help preparations for insurance claims if you need to file after a hurricane.

Filed 8/31/08  GCN

I want to share a few Insurance lessons I learned from Katrina about being better prepared to back up an insurance claim.

1. First and foremost take more pictures than you think you will ever need.  You can't have too many, only too few.  Don't forget the roof, the fence, any out buildings. I even go as far as to get pictures that include my house and the neighbors to each side of my house.

2. After the storm, go and take pictures again. Make sure to document any damage from various angles.  Let me repeat, from multiple angles to show all the damage. One note, it may time some time for water damage to show on your interior ceilings.

3. When the adjuster comes over, follow him/her around. When the adjuster takes a picture you take multiple pictures of the same thing .Do not hesitate to point out anything that they miss as now is the time to do that. If possible, record the conversation. How I wish I had. When I got my insurance summary there was an appreciable difference as to what we had discussed. As you may have guessed it was not in my favor.

4. As you do repairs, take pictures of all steps in the repair.  Let me use replacing the sheetrock on a ceiling as my example. Take pictures before it's taken down, then of the exposed wood, and finally take pictures after the work is completed. This way you can document what was done and how.

5. Get estimates one room at a time. That can make it easier to think about all the little things that need to be done.  Little things such as removing the outlet cover to prepare to paint, putting down protection on your flooring, etc.  Little things do add up. Make sure that you emphasize that you are replacing with equal value of what was there.

6. Make multiple copies of your pictures. I will even keep the camera memory card as an additional backup.

7 When you receive the summary, you know it will be low. They hope you just fold and accept it.

 8 But, you are prepared. Go over it room by room. Get your own estimate with a contractor. Send your estimate to the company and back up what you have with pictures. The pictures you took and kept.

 9 And lastly, did I mention to take pictures?

I hope everyone stays safe from this impending storm.  I do hope and pray we are spared.
Be Careful,
Lorraine Santo
Ward 6, Gulfport

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