The ice storm is gone. The power is back on. Now the damage must be assessed. The Department of Insurance has some tips. One tip for homeowners filing claims in wake of the ice storms stands out above all others, according to Insurance Department spokesman Emily Kampeter: document, document, document.

Keep records of everything. Kampeter says you should keep a record of every time you call your insurance agent. Jot down such things as the date and time you called, the topic of the conversation and the person you talked to. She says you need to be patient with your insurance agent. The widespread damage has kept all insurance companies busy.

Find out what your policy covers. It might reimburse you for spoiled food or that night or nights in the hotel. Again, keep receipts and any records that documents expense. If you cleaned up some on your own, track the costs. Take pictures of the damage, both inside and outside the home. Kampeter does caution that some damage to out buildings and the like aren’t normally covered by an insurance policy unless specifically included.

An insurance company will send an adjuster to the property. Any legitimate adjuster should have identification. Insurance companies pay the adjusters, you shouldn’t be asked for any payment. If you have trouble settling with your insurance company, call the department’s toll-free hotline; 1-800-726-7390.

Download/listen Brent Martin reports (:75 MP3)