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The Thomas Howell Ferguson Blog

Tips on How to Reconstruct Records After a Hurricane

If you’re a victim of a natural disaster, you may need to reconstruct records to prove your losses for insurance purposes. Doing this may be essential for tax purposes, getting federal assistance, or insurance reimbursement.

Here are 11 tips  to help you reconstruct your records:

  • To establish the extent of the damage, you should take photographs or videos as soon after the disaster as possible.
  • You can contact the title company, escrow company, or bank that handled the purchase of you home to get copies of appropriate documents.
  • If you are a homeowner, you should review your insurance policy as the policy usually lists the value of a building to establish a base figure for replacement.
  • If you made improvements to your home,  contact the contractors who did the work to see if any records are available. If possible, you should get statements from the contractors to verify the work and cost. You can also get written accounts from friends and relatives who saw the house before and after any improvements.
  • For inherited property, you can check court records for probate values. If a trust or estate existed, you can contact the attorney who handled the trust.
  • When no other records are available,  check the county assessor’s office for old records that might address the value of the property.
  • There are several resources that can help you determine the current fair-market value of most cars on the road. These resources are all available online and at most libraries:
    • Kelley’s Blue Book
    • National Automobile Dealers Association
    • Edmunds
  • Check your  cell phone for pictures that show the damaged property before the disaster.
  • Support the valuation of property with photographs, videos, canceled checks, receipts, or other evidence.
  • If you bought items using a credit card or debit card,  contact the credit card company or bank for past statements.
  • If you don’t have photographs or videos of your property, sketch pictures of each room that was impacted.

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