Here is some advice to consider as you assess your property following this week's storm: document everything. Take tons of pictures with your digital camera or your phone and write down everything you see that you want your insurance company to be aware of as you prepare to file a claim.

Also, you don't have to file a damage claim within hours of the storm ending. Take your time so that you don't miss anything.

Take a tour of your property. Photograph every little scratch, crack, dent, bing, and bang you see. Let the insurance adjuster tell you what is covered later. Write it all down so that when the time comes to do a walk-through of your property damage with the adjuster, you won't forget anything. Remember, the insurance company does not enjoy writing checks for property damage regardless of what their commercials say. Be prepared to fight for what you believe you are owed.

When you think you've documented everything appropriately, call your insurance company and file a claim. Because of the intensity of the storm and the number of people impacted, it could take a few days before the adjuster pays you a visit. Make sure that copies of your photos are included as part of the claim and the adjuster's report on your case.

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If there is a tree or some other type of object that needs to be removed immediately for safety reasons, the insurance company will generally give you the okay to do so and will then settle with the contractor. That most likely would occur before the adjuster has had a chance to view the damage in person. This is why having tons of photos from every angle is so important.

In the last two years, I have had a large tree blow down on my home and was in a serious car accident. By documenting everything so thoroughly, taking loads of photos, and doing a thorough walk-through with the adjuster I was able to maximize my claim. With digital photography, the proof is in the picture.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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