We don’t realize how much stuff we have until we either move away or in this case, it gets damaged by a flood.  Going through your contents/personal property can be very emotional.  A lot of your contents may be one of a kind items, family heirlooms, old photos, unique collections, antique furniture, etc.   If you have contents coverage, (it has to be purchased separately from the flood policy), you will be very involved in this part of the claims process. Please read FEMA Memo W-16061 on handling your contents.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Sort Contents and Discard Debris

You have three types of contents that should go to three different places: items you want to save; items to be discarded; garbage.

Things you want to save

Move these to a safe, dry place, such as the second story or outside. The longer they sit in water, the more damaged they become. In some cases, you may only be able to move them to one room while you clean the other rooms. Don’t leave wood furniture in the sun or it will warp when it dries.

Things you don’t want to save

Put things you don’t want to save outside to dry until I come by to confirm your losses. Take pictures or videos and list each item in your Excel Spreadsheet. Immediately get rid of food and anything else that could spoil or go bad. Don’t let garbage build up. Throw the stuff out, preferably in sealed plastic garbage bags. Garbage piles will cause yet another health hazard by attracting animals and insects potential health hazards.

Make a List

Here’s my suggestion on how to document your contents loss: As you’re cleaning out the house, have one person do nothing but take pictures and write down the item as it is carried out of the house. Make sure to get a photo of the model and serial number and write those down. Nothing goes to the curb or dumpster unless it goes past this person! After this is done, take your list and photos and use them to fill out the Excel Contents Spreadsheet.  Be sure to include the model and serial number if the item has these. When that sheet is completed you can email it to me here.

Take Pictures

Take plenty of pictures.  For an example of what your photos should look like, click here.  If you’re claiming it as damaged, you must show you have it.  If it’s not documented, it doesn’t exist.  Make sure to get a clear picture of the model and serial number if the item has one or both.  You can use the custom photo app to send the pictures to me.


Coverage is provided only for the functional value of antiques.  If flood waters have damaged your 100-year-old oak dining table, the policy will pay for a new table of like, kind and quality.  The policy will not pay any value, real or perceived, based on things such as age or sentimentality.