Disaster Checklist

Have you experienced a disaster, including fire damage, water damage, mold, or trauma damage? This simple checklist outlines the disaster cleanup and insurance claims process so you know what to expect at every stage.

Respond to Emergencies

All home occupants are accounted for and safe
Call emergency responders if needed (police, fire, 911)
Evacuate or move to a safe place if home is unsafe

Assess Damage

What kind of disasters have occurred? (water, fire, mold, trauma – may be more than one)
Where is the majority of the damage located?
Is the home exposed to the elements? (open so rain or intruders could get in?)
Take initial photographs (if possible)
Do not begin cleanup – everything must be documented properly

Call Disaster Relief Company

Find companies by searching ‘restoration company’ + location or specific damage (example, ‘water damage company’ + location)
Choose a local company that is 24/7 and provides a fast response time
Avoid the insurance company’s ‘preferred provider’ when possible

Call the Insurance Company

Decide if you want to involve the insurance (with recommendation from the disaster relief company)
Explain damage and find out find out if you’re covered
Ask about extras if you are displaced (do they cover lodging or food?)

Begin Disaster Cleanup

Emergency work to mitigate damages (boarding up windows, drying up water damage)
Remove infected or damaged items
Cleaning

Gather Necessary Evidence

Photos of the entire process (before, during and after)
Official reports from police, fire, first responder, plumber, etc. (if needed)
Scientific data (moisture readings, atmospheric readings, dehumidifier readings, etc – if needed)
Inventory of damaged & destroyed items (if needed)

Meet with Insurance Adjuster

Adjuster responds typically within 48 hours to two weeks
Adjuster gathers evidence to assess the source of damage and how much insurance should pay
Disaster relief company communicates with adjuster as needed

Claims Negotiation

Insurance adjuster and disaster relief company estimates are submitted
Claim is negotiated – additional evidence gathered as needed
Both parties agree to a final claim amount

Receive Claim Money

Claim check sent, in the manner designated by the insurance company

Rebuild & Restore

Assess what can be repaired or restored with claims money
Assess how much additional out of pocket money is required for restoration
Consider costs and benefits of upgrading

As you can see, the insurance claims process for disasters is quite lengthy. The best thing you can do is hire the right disaster relief company who will facilitate the process – and basically take care of most of the work for you.

For example, New Life Restoration can help you with disaster cleanup, gathering necessary evidence, communications with the insurance adjuster, and negotiating to get you the best possible claim amount. After you receive your claim money, New Life Restoration even offers services for repairing, rebuilding, restoring or upgrading your home.

If you’d like more information on these topics, please visit our Homeowner’s Guide to Disaster Claims.

If you’ve experienced a disaster, whether it is water damage, fire damage, mold, or need trauma or crime scene cleanup services, trust New Life Restoration to help you navigate the tricky insurance claims process. Give us a call today at (805) 925-1600.