HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) – Although Irene was not the mega-disaster it might have been, there’s plenty of damage from wind and water.

If you are one of the unlucky ones whose property was affected, what do you do?

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Job #1, says Melissa Fox of the Pennsylvania Insurance Department, is picking up the phone — with patience.

“There’s going to be a lot of folks that are going to need to make calls to their insurance companies and their insurance agents, so there is the possibility you might not get through the first time,” she advises.

When you do get through, Fox says, keep a written log of who you contacted — in case there’s an issue later on.

The Insurance Department takes no stand whether you should call an independent insurance adjuster.

But regarding the damage, Fox says, don’t begin major repairs.  Board up the broken window, put a tarp on the ripped-up roof, but don’t call in a contractor before the wreckage is evaluated.

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Also, check your policy “declarations” page for details about your level of coverage.

Fox says there is the chance that filing a claim will bump up your premium, so you might want to think about this:

“If it’s something small that you can afford out-of-pocket, that’s certainly something to consider.  However, something as far as a tree falling on your home, I’m not sure anybody can sustain that out-of-pocket expense,” she notes.

Reported by John Ostapkovich, KYW Newsradio 1060

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