Homeowners should plan for disasters

Make sure to document damage, possessions

INDIANAPOLIS - Worries about holiday cash can intensify with sudden home damage, but homeowners don’t have to handle cleaning up after water or fire damage alone.

Standing water damaged Steve Westervelt’s drywall and carpet, so he hired a restoration company.

"They took pictures of everything they were going to take out for repair," Westervelt said.

Experts say that is step one – document the damage. Then it is onto cleaning up water and smoke damage quickly.

If left untreated, the damage can become an even bigger problem. Companies like Moore Restoration in Indianapolis specialize in mold, mildew, smoke and odors.

They stress the importance of documentation, especially if items are being moved out of a home.

"The company doing it does complete photographic inventory, bar coding, scanning of all contents so it can be tracked from start to finish from the home to the restoration facility and back into the home," Kenny Cochran with Moore Restoration Inc. said.

Even though it might be tough, holding onto treasures isn’t always the best answer.

"But that sofa you paid $1,000 for, if it's going to cost $800 to repair it, you might just want to go ahead and get a new one," Angie Hicks of Angie’s List said.

Experts advise that before welcoming anyone into a home to do damage repair, get an estimate in writing.

Most homeowners don’t plan for a disaster, but it’s not a bad idea. Think back to two weeks ago with the rash of tornadoes that moved through Indiana.

It is a good idea to go room by room and take photos of possessions and keep those, and any other important documents, in a fire-safe, waterproof container.

Follow Beth Vaughn on Twitter: @bethvaughnrtv6 | Facebook: BethVaughnNews

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