First steps in cleaning up after property damage

By Lauren Payne - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) A violent storm Tuesday night and into the early hours of Wednesday morning packed winds so fierce--trees, decades old, were ripped from the ground.

"First thing I would recommend is to do what a reasonable person would do to prevent further damage," said Shelter Insurance Agent, Mark Webb.

Damage caused by events like storms can be  stressful and costly, but Webb says having a plan to react can help provide calm after the storm.

"Get pictures of your damage.   If you have to get immediate work done, pictures are a good thing to have," said Webb.

Webb says regardless of how minimal the damage may be, don't wait to act.

"Do what you can to get yourself safe and get your family protected--but contact your agent or contact your company as soon as you know there is damage or suspect there is damage," said Webb.

Webb says if you need immediate work done contact a reputable company and keep all receipts and invoices. He adds beware of people who may be trying to make a bad situation worse.

"Don't just start writing checks and handing out cash because you can get taken advantage of if you're not careful with that," said Webb.

Webb says there are proactive steps that can help relieve some stress if you do have damage to your property.  He says have contact numbers handy for insurance agents or companies and for those businesses you might use for repairs.   Webb also adds, review your insurance policy with your agent--know what's covered, for how much, and make sure you're adequately covered.

"As I've often heard, the last thing you want to do is find out what kind of policy you've got the day you need it," said Webb.

Webb also says taking video of all your belongings is another good way of documenting what you have in the event of a catastrophe.

Again, in times like this, there may be people out there looking to take advantage of those needing help cleaning up.

The Arkansas Attorney General's Office offers additional tips to help keep from becoming a victim of those looking to take advantage of you include:

Shopping around—get estimates from several contractors before making a decision

Never hand over a large amount of money up front

Develop a contract with the person or persons doing repairs around your home

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