Secure Your Property
Every policy requires you to take reasonable steps to minimize the harm to your property. In legalese, this is known as your duty to “mitigate damages.” It includes such common-sense steps as covering a section of your leaky roof with a plastic tarp until you can get it repaired or turning off the water when you discover a burst pipe. Your insurance company will pay these costs when you make your claim. Other steps you might need to take to mitigate damages include:
- Stop the smoldering. After a fire, if the structure is still burning, contact the fire department to do what’s necessary to prevent a flare-up.
- Board it up. To prevent vandalism, board up your property and consider erecting a portable chain-link fence to keep people away.
- Be vigilant. Depending on the situation, you may need to keep a close eye on your property, checking for new problems and making sure it hasn’t been disturbed.