How can I estimate the extent of the damage?

Start with a closer inspection of the property to assess the damage to the exterior. Only if determined safe, walk around the building and lot to observe and gather information. Mark the water levels on the walls for reference. Now enter the structure. Taking extreme precautions, start from the top and document the damage.

It is recommended to hire a professional restoration company for a fast and accurate assessment. Understanding the extent of the damage caused to the structure and personal belongings will help your insurance adjuster efficiently process the damage claim. This will help speed up the restoration process, allowing you and your family to get back to normal life as quickly as possible

It is recommended to prepare a visual record of the damage using annotated photos or video. Make sure your visual record shows the scope of the disaster.

Start outside. Record the exteriors and include the following:

The roof
    Collapsed portions of the roof
    Missing or damaged roof shingles
    Bent or damaged gutters
    Cracks or damaged chimney
    Stained or cracked exterior surfaces

Exterior walls and windows
    Collapsed walls
    Broken or cracked windows
    Wet bricks or exterior walls
    Signs of water intrusion through basement windows or window wells

Front lawn and backyard
    Flooded areas
    Damaged flora

Interior Signs of Damage
Now enter the structure. Taking extreme precautions, start from the top and document the following:

The attic
    Wet or cracked ceilings, walls and floors
    Wet insulation
    Wet or damaged vents and ducts

Rooms
    Wet or cracked ceilings, walls, and floors
    Damaged electricity and phone jacks
    Warped or damaged wood
    Cracked or broken windows and doors

Bathrooms
    Damaged bathtubs
    Stained sink and countertop
    Leaky or slumping flooring around toilet

Basement
    Wet or cracked foundations, walls, and floor
    Stained or damaged duct work

You may also want to consider Infrared Thermography to closely examine your in-wall plumbing and to detect all invisible moisture sources including behind walls, above the ceiling, and under the floor.
This will help to support your insurance claim A visual documentation is recommended here as well. Once you are done with structural assessments, move on and evaluate the damage done to your belongings. Prepare a list of damaged or lost items for your adjuster and, if available, give the adjuster receipts for those items.

Create a room by room list of damage. Be as thorough as possible and use the following guidelines to help you make observations and notes:
  • Appliances: Do not switch appliances on if they were exposed to water. Simply mark every appliance that is suspected to be wet. These appliances will require an electrician to test later.
  • Furniture: List every damaged piece of furniture. Inspect wood furniture closely to detect signs of mold.
  • Cabinets and dressers: Open all cabinets and dressers and inspect inside. Touch all sides and panels and list if wet. Make sure to list all wet contents as well.
  • Carpets and upholstery: List all wet carpets, rugs, fabric curtains, and upholstery.
  • Paper products: List all wet or moist books, documents, photographs and paintings.
  • Digital media: List all wet digital media such as tapes, CDs, DVDs, computers and hard drives.
Be prepared to make difficult decisions about what to keep and what to discard.
Another copy should be given to your restoration contractor to develop a prioritized plan of stabilization, repair, and restoration When you are done collecting the information required for damage assessment, convey a copy to your insurance agent or adjuster for further processing of your claim.
 

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