Discovering that your home has suffered damage can be heartbreaking for any homeowner. But, when something happens to your home, it’s comforting to know all you have to do is file a claim to get on your way to making the necessary repairs to get your home and life back to normal.

We’ve compiled some tips to help make filing a claim with your insurance carriers as simple as possible.

Do Call Your Insurer ASAP: Obviously, your number one priority is securing the safety of you and your family. Once you’ve done that, call your insurance broker and carrier to report the damage. You’ll want to take this step even before you call a contract to make repairs.

Do Photograph the Damage: If it is safe to do so, make a video on your phone of the damage. You can also take photos from different angles to share with your claims adjusters. Be careful to keep yourself out of harm’s way when documenting the damage.

Don’t Sign an AOB: The contractor you hire to fix the damage to your property may ask you to sign an Assignment of Benefits (AOB) form. Don’t do it. This puts them in charge of your claims process and gives them ownership of the check your insurance carrier cuts for the damage. It is possible for unscrupulous contractors to collect your money and not finish the work on your home. If you need help finding a reputable contractor, ask your claims adjuster for a recommendation. Many insurers have agreements in place with trustworthy contractors who can complete the work within a reasonable timeline and budget.