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.

Use the Contents Buddy Phone App

If you haven’t done so already, download, install and signup for the Contents Buddy Phone App.  The app was designed to make it easier for your to document your flood damaged contents.  Click here for instructions on how to use the Contents Buddy Phone App.  As you’re cleaning out the house, take pictures of the flood damaged items and label them.  If the item has a model and/or serial number(s), make sure to get a clear focused picture of these.  Nothing goes to the curb or dumpster until you’ve taken a picture and created a label for that item.


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.