Assuming the worst has happened like a major hail storm, a downed tree on your house, shingles blown off the roof, your water line busted while you were out, etc… you are left wondering what should I do now? The first step is to contact your insurance agent & inform them of the damage. When you contact your agent or call the 1-800 number you should have your policy handy with your policy number and other information they may require to help speed up the process. You should also at this time take pictures and/or videos of all the damage, area’s that are wet, etc…
Your next step is to minimize any future damage from occurring. You can either do this yourself (make sure you save your receipts for repayment) or call in a professional. If a window is broken out, shingles missing, roofing blown off, etc… it should be covered over with either a tarp or plastic. If a tree has blown over on a fence, is blocking a driveway, or has fallen on your house, it’s removal is covered by the insurance company and should be cleared out of the way but not removed from the property until the adjuster has seen it.
If any clothes have gotten wet, run them through a quick wash & dry. If they require dry cleaning, make sure you tell your agent & get them taken to a dry-cleaner as soon as possible (again save your receipts). If a room gets soaked, any furniture, etc… should be dried off & possibly placed in another room – water should be vacuumed out of the carpet, fans & dehumidifiers should also be setup and used to help dry out the room(s). If a room has been completely soaked, most agents will send in a professional crew to dry it out & come out later to take care of the appraisal.
On the Personal Property side of the equation, make sure you document everything damaged and/or destroyed. You should make 2 lists, make a copy of all the receipts, and develop 2 sets of photos, 1 is for your records while the other is for the insurance agent.
A few quick final notes; Before the appraiser comes out, you do not want to make any permanent repairs, or they may decline that portion of your claim. You are responsible for making sure that all reasonable precautions have been taken to prevent further damage to the property, until the insurance company can take care of it.