The cleanup has barely begun Tuesday but the Consumer Federation of America urged affected consumers to quickly prepare to file claim as a result of the superstorm.

Because of the problems after hurricanes Katrina and Irene, the CFA urged homeowners dealing with losses caused by Hurricane Sandy to be extra-vigilant to ensure that that they receive a full and fair settlement.

“Families should take every precaution to ensure their safety during this severe weather event, including evacuation if recommended by local authorities,” said J. Robert Hunter, director of insurance for the CFA. 

Here are some tips for consumers prepare in the wake of the storm.

1)  Report your claim as promptly as possible if you’ve experienced damage to any of your personal property; always call your insurance company first.  Don’t fall for fly-by-night operators who make false guarantees about a claims check, damage appraisal, inspection, or water quality testing.

2) Once your claim is reported, be sure to get your claim number and write it down. Insurance company claims departments can locate your file easiest by your claim number. Protect important information and documents. Whether you’re in a shelter, staying with friends or crashing on your family’s couch, never let these items leave your sight. Call your credit union to see if they offer identity theft management services.

3) When the insurance company sends out an adjuster to survey your damage, ask if he/she is an employee of the insurance company or an independent adjuster hired by them. If an independent adjuster, try to secure the name of the actual company adjuster that the adjuster. is sending your information to or are they authorized to make claim decisions and payments on behalf of your insurance company.   

Many insurance policies do not cover flood damage. The FEMA flood insurance program tips on handling claims are located at http://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pdfs/claims_tips.html.