Hurricane Irma: Steps you can take to make insurance claims less of a burden

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — Damaged household goods, from cabinets to mattresses and even appliances, are beginning to line the streets in Davis Shores.

Jeanne Johns’ house saw significant water damage. She’s now having to rip out carpets and walls.

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“We started basically mucking it out, had the water hose in here just pouring bleach,” Johns said.

Like many, Johns has already contacted her insurance company.

Public adjuster Mark Goldwich said there are steps you can take that will make the process less burdensome.

“Big next step is to get out a pad of paper and document the entire process, every conversation that you have with everybody and everything that goes on with your home,” said Goldwich, president of Gold Star Adjusters.

Next, he said, don’t throw away your items just yet.

“You don't throw away the stuff until after the insurance adjuster has seen it,” Goldwich said.

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And don’t just think about your big-tickets items like your range or TVs.

“Think about every book, every photograph, every picture frame, honestly every pen and pencil, everything in the home is covered,” Goldwich said.

Above all, Goldwich said to know this is not an easy or quick process and if you don’t agree with the insurance company’s offer, don’t accept it.

“You could appeal to the supervisor, to the supervisor's manager, to that person's executive, you cannot give up,” Goldwich said.

You also have a right to be represented by a public adjuster who could help you file the claim and help you through the process. Whatever you do, Goldwich said, never walk away from a claim.