AAA Carolinas offers post Irma insurance tips

This photo provided by an ABC News 4 viewer shows flooding in downtown Charleston during Tropical Storm Irma.

Recovery from Irma is now underway, and residents of the Carolinas are assessing all of the damages.

AAA Carolinas, a not-for-profit organization wants residents to take the proper cautionary steps when dealing with their home and vehicle damage.

The organization encourages storm survivors to work directly with their insurance companies in order to avoid cleaning and repair scams.

"We are working tirelessly to help our policyholders to be able to get their lives back on track as soon as possible following the devastation from Hurricane Irma," said Jim McCafferty, Senior Vice President of Insurance Services at AAA Carolinas. "If you have experienced damage, it is crucial that you contact your insurance provider immediately before you agree to any repairs."

Additional tips given by AAA Carolinas are as follows:

Before hiring a company or contractor, AAA recommends NOT signing any documents and following these tips:

Call your insurance adjuster first to get an estimate of the damage and probable repairs.

Be cautious of flyers or business cards left at your property.

Get more than one cost estimate for repair work.

Get references and check into the business license if possible.

Check their website to see if they have set up a Catastrophic Claims Center located in your hometown. This information should be available on your insurance company website.

Never let a contractor interpret insurance language.

If your neighborhood was flooded be careful inside the home and car. Remember snakes, rodents and other animals were looking for dry places to survive the flood as well.

Make sure your spare tire is operable and that your vehicle is supplied with some type of temporary flat fixing material such as "Fix a Flat". Roofs being blow off of houses means there are nails in the street as well as other debris you may drive over.

Keep an inventory of any damaged goods you discard, using a cell phone camera to take pictures of the items.

If you have lost power, find out where the Red Cross, FEMA and other charity organizations are setting up relief areas. They are normally supplied with water, meals, showers and washing machines.

Drive carefully. Remember, if standing water is on the road, turn around and don't drown.

Don't touch any downed utility lines.

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