"An insurance company might deny a claim if you make permanent repairs before the damage is inspected," Commissioner Roger Sevigny said.
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Sevigny said property owners should make temporary repairs on the kinds of damage that would create more expenses if not fixed right away. Cover a broken window with plywood or plastic, for example, but don't replace the glass until after an insurance agency has had a chance to inspect it and advise the property owner on what to do.
The McClatchy-Tribune news service reported the commissioner advised damaged property not be thrown away until an insurance adjuster can inspect it.
An exception would be food that is spoiling or carpet so wet it is rotting and hosting bacteria. In these cases, property owners were advised to photograph the damage before hauling it away.
Those with claims to file were advised to get more than one bid for repair work and to ask for credentials, such as business licenses, before hiring a contractor.
One possible red flag is contractors who demand to be paid up front. If a contractor needs to buy materials, consider having the contractor write a list of what is needed and then provide the materials. Another strategy would be to go to the supplier and pay the supplier directly.
Even for temporary work, save receipts and save copies of correspondence with insurance companies and contractors.
If property owners do any repair work, they should keep records of how much time is spent on repairs, the commissioner's office said.