The answer: Once you have everyone’s signed consent. The adjuster, as well as your homeowner, should approve of the items being taken and disposed of before they are moved off of the property where you found them.

I have a very strict policy on this rule. We use a form called “Disposal Authorization Form”that we list all destroyed items to be disposed of and have the homeowner sign off before these items are removed from the premises. We don’t even throw away a Q-Tip without a sign off.

That’s pretty extreme, you say? Consider this: I put this policy in place after I received a fax one day from an attorney. This attorney was representing a homeowner we had done a job for the previous month. They were suing for $25,000 as they said that our company threw away all of their belongings and that we were not given permission to do so. I faxed the attorney over all seven pages of signed disposal authorization forms from their file. He immediately called me back to tell me that would drop the lawsuit and apologized for taking up my time.

 Have a system in place to handle your logged destroyed items the exact same way on every single claim. Double checking that your t’s are crossed and your i’s are dotted.