For some, Hurricane Sandy was a passing storm quickly forgotten after the power was restored hours later. But for many others along the coast in New Jersey and New York, the aftermath in the wake of Hurricane Sandy is just beginning even as we approach the month mark. Now that power has been restored and structural damage has been evaluated, assessing contents losses and damages is the next step on the long road to recovery.
Unfortunately, piecing together the contents of a home or business can be one of the most daunting tasks of the property insurance claims process. In preparation for a total loss of this magnitude, it is good practice to keep records of proof of purchases, receipts, or invoices at a separate, safe location. A safety deposit box at your local bank is a good option. Making sure these records are up to date and away from the potential dangers of a loss can help claims professionals more efficiently process the claim and help you replace your items sooner. You can also create an inventory of your home or businesses contents online or file it with your insurance company so a record can easily be obtained
Don’t worry if these measures were not taken before a total loss. If you do not have accurate records, start by taking photographs of the damage to the contents once the structure has been deemed safe for entry by emergency response professionals. Work with your insurance company to determine what can be salvaged and what will need to be replaced. As you start the cleanup process, remember that everything in the building should be recorded on an inventory, from large items like furniture or store inventory to pens, office supplies, clothing, toys, etc.
Hurricane Sandy won’t be the last natural disaster to cause damage to our homes and businesses, but one takeaway for all of us is to learn how to be better prepared for what we hope will never happen.