At ASI, we believe the best defense is a strong offense. When a loss occurs, be sure to take immediate steps to prevent further damage to your home. Call us as soon as you can to report a claim and one of our claims representatives will contact you by the following business day.
How to Protect Your Property and Avoid Further Damage
- Secure Your Home
After a loss, it is important to secure your property and belongings. You should also make temporary repairs to prevent further damage if necessary. To reduce chances of subsequent damage, take the following steps:
- Board up your windows.
- Weatherproof or cover any openings in the roof or walls.
- Remove any saturated ceiling insulation or water saturated carpet.
Please note that major damage may require contractor or engineer inspections. Be sure to keep an accurate record of your repair expenditures.
- Protect Your Personal Property
Separate items you can clean from items that may need to be repaired or replaced. Take plenty of pictures or videos of your damaged property. If you don’t own a camera, purchase a disposable camera to take photos. You’ll be reimbursed for the disposable camera and the developing of the photos. Check with your claim representative before you discard any items that you plan to claim as damaged.
- Stabilize Your House or Structure
Keep all receipts associated with any temporary housing, meals and other miscellaneous expenses. Payment for expenses beyond normal living costs is available. Please review your policy for specific coverage limitations.
- Make a Home Inventory List
We want to handle your claim as quickly and efficiently as possible. You can help by making an inventory of your damages and any loss of personal property:
- The inventory should be sorted by room, giving complete descriptions of the damaged property.
- Descriptions should include brand names, model numbers, age, purchase price, place of purchase and should include any and all purchase receipts or invoices.
- For your future protection, it would be a good idea to make a detailed inventory of your personal belongings prior to a loss. A photographic record of items is helpful.
- Need some help organizing your list? Check out our Contents Inventory Form.
- Make Your Home Look Occupied
If you’ve recently had damage to your home that could make it easy for others to break in, it’s important to make the house look occupied while you’re away, even for a day or two. Follow these few tips when leaving your home:
- Set timers on interior lamps or exterior lighting.
- Make sure the mail, newspapers or other deliveries are picked up daily or held until you return.
- Be sure to turn off the water while you’re away to prevent water damage from occurring.
- Have a friend or family member check the house every few days to make sure there aren’t any signs of broken windows or forced entry.
- Have someone check the interior of the house for any leaking pipes, faucets or other damage.
- Provide your neighbors with your contact information should an emergency occur.
- Address Water Damage Immediately
If you have suffered a water loss, it’s vital that you take immediate action. Do not hesitate to report your claim as soon as possible, since water damage can quickly go from bad to worse. Here are a few key ways you can limit further loss after water damage occurs:
- Turn off the main water valve if necessary to prevent additional damage.
- Immediately remove as much water as possible by mopping, sweeping or wet/dry vacuuming.
- Wipe furniture dry and put the furniture on blocks to allow the base to dry.
- Remove wet area rugs or other loose floor coverings.
- Open furniture drawers, closet doors and luggage to enhance drying.
- Move photos, paintings and art objects to a safe, dry location.
- Remove wet fabrics and dry them as soon as possible.
- Remove damp books from shelves and spread them out to dry.
- Contact a 24-hour water restoration service.
- Use ceiling fans or stationary fans to aid the drying process.
- Contact a qualified plumber if necessary.
- Lower the air conditioner temperature, since colder air helps remove the humidity.
- Minimize the Risk of Mold
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the New York City Health Department, you can minimize the risk of mold by doing the following:
- Fix all water leaks as soon as possible.
- Lower the humidity within your house to limit mold growth.
- Clean and dry any damp furnishings within 24 - 48 hours of contact with water.
- Clean all hard surfaces with bleach and water or detergent. Dry surfaces completely.
- Add fiberglass insulation on all cold surfaces (i.e. pipes, roof, walls and flooring) to prevent condensation or constant moisture.
- Do not install carpet or laminate floors in areas of your home that have perpetual moisture or condensation problems.
- When remodeling an older home or constructing a new home, seek building products that help minimize the potential for condensation, moisture and mold growth.
- Seek Help with Lightning Damage
When lightning strikes your home, call and report the claim as soon as possible. Do not discard items until you speak with your claims representative. An expert may want to examine the items. You might also lose the right to collect payment for your damages if you replace an item and dispose of an old item prior to discussing it with your claims representative.
If any electrical outlets or air conditioning parts are damaged or not working, you need to have a licensed electrician or AC technician inspect the damage before repairing. However, you can make emergency repairs to make your home livable and protect it from further damage if necessary. Ask technicians to leave behind any old parts for us to inspect.
- Report Theft or Vandalism
In the unfortunate scenario of theft or vandalism, call your local police or sheriff’s department immediately. Help the law enforcement officer by providing a detailed list of all items taken or any parts of your home that were vandalized. After you file a report with the police, report a claim. Be sure to provide the police or sheriff report number and your officer’s name.
Your ASI claims representative will ask for the date the loss occurred, a list of items taken and any damage to your home. The representative will also send you a Contents Inventory Form to fill out. Please list all items taken with the make, model, original cost and place of purchase. If your home was damaged, you should secure the home as soon as possible to prevent additional damage.
- Address Smoke and Fire Damage Quickly
Should you have smoke or fire damage after a loss, be sure to vacuum the residence and any loose soot from furniture, counter tops, appliances, porcelain fixtures, etc. Any metal surfaces in your home should be thoroughly cleaned to prevent tarnishing or pitting. You can also help boost the indoor air quality by replacing all the air filters in your air conditioning system as soon as possible. Please do not attempt to wash or scrub walls or ceilings, which should be cleaned professionally.
- Receive Your Loss Settlement
We will pay to repair or replace your damaged property subject to the terms and conditions of your policy. Check with your agent or claim representative for complete details. The claim payment may include the name of your mortgage company. If it does, be sure to ask your mortgage company about their procedures for endorsing your claim payment.
Learn More Information About Loss Prevention and Claims
ASI is here to help you get back on your feet when you need us most. View our helpful tools and educational resources below to learn how to prepare for natural disasters, find answers to frequently asked questions about claims and learn about ASI’s annual Battery Project.
Please note that this section highlights examples of safety precautions that you can consider to help prepare yourself, others and your personal property for a disaster. Please recognize that a particular precaution may not be appropriate or effective in every circumstance. We encourage you to use your own good judgment about what is appropriate. Please reference our Legal Statement for additional disclaimers.