6 ways to bungle a disaster insurance claim

Throwing away damaged items
Throwing away damaged items © Alexey Stiop/

When a disaster has twisted and mangled your beloved home and treasured possessions, it can be heartrending. It's understandable if you want to quickly clean up the mess and move on with your life.

But that can be a mistake. If feasible, don't throw away any damaged items until an insurance adjuster has stopped by to survey the damage.

But preserving the debris might not be possible, for health or safety reasons. If you need to get rid of things fast, call your insurer first, Conarton says.

"Let them know if you need to discard any items, such as personal items that may be rotting or moldy or potentially dangerous, like broken glass," she says.

Before throwing anything out, make sure you create a record of it, says Carole Walker, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association.

"Document, document, document," she says. "Take photographs."

Once you have proof of the damage to your home and its contents, move to the next step.

"If it's just a partial loss and not burned to the foundation, we recommend people make temporary repairs to prevent further damage," she says.


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