Insurance Evidence How-To

NAGS HEAD, NC - AUGUST 26:  A flag warns beach...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeHow to Document Your Possessions for Insurance Purposes

As the northeast prepares for hurricane Irene, it is prudent to prepare to for the inevitable cleanup.  The easiest way to do this is to have multiple forms of documentation about the kinds of property and condition of that property prior to and after the disaster.

Before the Disaster:

  1. Perform a walk through of your house, room by room, recording a video of what you own.  Describe each item of value in detail noting brand, model, when purchased, and any other relevant details.
  2. Write down brand, model, and serial number for your valuables.
  3. Photograph your valuables.
  4. Store your insurance video, photos, and notations in multiple copies at multiple locations, or especially in a bank lockbox or with your attorney.

NOTE: You cannot lower your insurance deductible within the several days preceding an anticipated disaster.


  1. You can and should document the damage BEFORE you clean-up.
  2. DO NOT discard anything you want to claim until the claims examiner has OK'd it.
  3. DO call your claims examiner as soon as you are able to report the damage to property.

Christopher Lotito is a member of the Pequannock EnvironmentalHistoric District, and Flood Control Advisory Commissions as well as the author of  "Torrent," a book about flooding in the region.  Lotito's personal mission is to reduce new taxes, drastically reduce flooding, and preserve more green spaces for our children.  Christopher Lotito Profile

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