We are in the process of documenting our losses. What a horrendous task to go through hundreds of items and take pictures. While some of it may just be junk, it's important to document it all, because every penny counts when you're trying to reach the maximum for insurance coverage.
Your camera is your friend and can help you simplify some of this documentation. At least you won't have to sit there and write everything down. You'll have the photos, so just look at them from the comfort of your home instead of spending more time in your smelly, slimy surroundings.
Here are some things we're doing that we feel will help simplify the claim, and hopefully rush the payment.
Have a system. We had several people pulling items out of the barn, and we put the stuff in piles.
1. Electronic or mechanical
2. Food items that will have to go to the dump
4. Things that can be cleaned
Take a white board, chalk board, or whatever you have, and write a number on it. Place that white board next to the item so that when you take the picture, it shows. Then use that corresponding item number on your spreadsheet. Once you upload the photos, you'll be able to go back and do a description.
Take a picture of the actual model number and serial number for any items. This will help you when you're trying to determine a value.
If your item is still in the box, take a picture of it IN the box, and then pull it out and take a picture of the item BESIDE the box. If your item is new, insurance will not depreciate it. Don't forget to number it.
1. We are hoping that the electronic or mechanical items may dry out and be usable again. We don't know that at this point, though, so we are adding them to the list. It could be dangerous to use them even if they work because they could damage the item we want to use them with.
2. Most of our food was in cans or sealed buckets, but I did have a tub of sugar in plastic bags, and also some wheat in mylar bags. I'm not taking a chance on any of that. It's going to the dump. Same thing goes for the soda cans and bottles that were in our refrigerator. I wouldn't drink out of them.
The aluminum cans that have dry food inside are starting to rust, but we are going to remove the rust and save them. You can tell the food is still dry because you can hear it when you shake the can. The buckets will have to be washed and then submerged in a bleach/water solution.
3. FEMA recommends getting rid of ANY clothing or fabric items that were in the flood waters. I've been hearing about people washing these clothes, but the mold spores and bacteria in those clothes are dangerous. If you insist on washing them, at least use a mold inhibitor and wear a mask. Personally, I wouldn't want the clothes in my washer, and I sure don't want the dryer spewing those mold spores through my house.
4. We have a lot of tubs that were filled with water, or are just dirty from the sediment. We plan to use a strong antibacterial product to clean them so that we can store other items in them.
Once we have determined what we might be able to salvage and what is trash, it's going right to the trailer to take to the dump. Fortunately, there is a free dump site set up about 5 miles from us, and we are able to take our stuff there.