As rivers across the heartland swelled during recent weeks, flood waters have risen to historic levels in many of the rivers across the Midwest. As maintenance crews struggle to contain the flood waters, those who live along these rivers will soon be facing the complicated insurance claim and recovery process.

To assist with those homeowners or business owners who have been impacted by the flood waters, the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (NAPIA) put together a list of tips for them to keep in mind in filing their insurance claims. These tips highlight the importance of taking your time to make educated and informed decisions throughout the entire insurance claims process, including thoroughly researching the companies and vendors that you bring on board to assist you with your recovery. Some of the tips presented include:

2. "'The safety of your family and/or employees is obviously the most important concern. After everyone has been safely evacuated, contact your insurance representative and request a copy of your full insurance policy if you do not have one on file outside of your home so that you can be sure to receive all promised benefits. A licensed public adjuster can assist you with this process.' Greg Raab, Adjusters International, Inc.

3. 'If you did not have a video stored off premises of your home possessions, ask family and friends, and search your own online storage, for photos of your house from holiday gatherings, parties, etc. to provide video evidence and documentation of your home and personal property' Harvey Goodman, SPPA, Goodman-Gable-Gould Co./AI

5. 'Hire an inventory specialist who will painstakingly go through the remains of the house and catalogue everything that is there, a process that often takes days or weeks and involves crawling and digging through wreckage to access belongings. These professionals, many of whom are public insurance adjusters, will also sit down with you one-on-one and help you recreate belongings in areas of your home that may have been completely destroyed.' Drew Lucurell, Esq., SPPA, Adjusters International Pacific Northwest, Inc.

10. 'The immediate impact of a natural disaster such as flooding is emotional and traumatic. It's important to take a breath, slow down and methodically work the through the details of what has been lost. If you do not and instead rush through the claims process, months down the road you will be suffering a secondary traumatic financial event during the insurance claims process. Measuring and documentation are key to recovery.' Karl Denison, CPPA, Goodman-Gable-Gould/AI."