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TIPS FOR RESIDENTS WHOSE PROPERTY HAS BEEN DAMAGED AS A RESULT OF A STORM

 

  1. Locate all applicable insurance policies (homeowners’ policy, flood policy* and an automobile policy, which may cover damage to your car from flooding). *Flood coverage is not covered under a typical homeowners’ policy and is separate coverage.

 

  1. Document all damaged property and belongings taking photos or shooting vídeos before attempting any temporary repairs. This is important because when you file an insurance claim, you may be asked for visual documentation of damages.

 

  1. Insurance policies require prompt reporting of claims, so it is important to act fast. Report damages as soon as possible, contacting your insurance company or insurance agent.

 

  1. Cover damaged areas that may be exposed, preventing further damage. Keep all receipts, your insurance company may reimburse the expense of these temporary repairs. Remove water-logged and otherwise damaged items from your house to prevent the spread of mold, but don’t forget to document them and do not dispose of any damaged property until your insurance company adjuster has had an opportunity to survey it.

 

FINDING A CONTRACTOR TO REPAIR YOUR STORM DAMAGE

 

There are a few things you’ll want to watch out for when selecting a contractor to repair your damaged home.

Your insurance company may not be your friend when it comes time to file a claim and may discourage you from filing a damage claim. Your insurance company may also provide you with a list of approved contractors.

This list includes contractors that typically agree to cost cutting measures designed to save them money at your expense.

This reduces the amount of money your insurance company has to pay out on your claim, but can also mean lower quality for you.

 

To protect yourself: get at least three qualified estimates from reputable contractors not referred by your insurance company. Make sure all contractors you talk to are reputable, established companies with references in your area. If you are filing an insurance claim, it is critical that you work with a contractor who has the experience to advocate for you and make sure your insurance claim is settled for a fair amount that will cover the cost of your repairs.

 

Ask for references: The contractor should be able to supply you with a minimum of three references, including names, telephone numbers and addresses. Make sure your contractor has completed numerous local jobs, is fully trained to install all of the materials required to restore your home and has a permanent office in your area.

 

HIRING THE RIGHT CONTRACTOR

To protect yourself make sure your contractor meet the following criteria:

  • Established company with a positive track record
  • Fully insured; ask any contractor you are considering hiring for copies of their insurance policies to verify coverage, then confirm that the policy is in force with your contractor’s insurance company. If a worker is injured on your property and your contractor does not have adequate coverage, you can be held responsible.
  • Insurance claims experience
  • Have passed a background check
  • Can provide at least 3 local references

  

Watch out for the following Warning Signs:

  • Out of state license plates
  • No local office
  • No insurance or under-insured
  • Won’t provide local references
  • Demands upfront cash or deposit
  • Convicted criminals and sex offenders
  • Poor BBB ratings or no local ratings

 

 

AVOIDING SCAMS

 

The following list represents the most common indicators that the person or company you are speaking with might be running a scam.

  • Not properly licensed
  • No insurance or under-insured
  • No local office (beware of P.O. boxes and hotel addresses)
  • Won’t provide local references
  • Demands up-front cash or deposit
  • Shows up on convicted criminals and/or sex offenders list

 

STORM CHASER SCAMS

Storm chasers are like ambulance chasers. They flock to areas of the country that have been recently hit by damaging storms and attempt to scam people that are in need of serious help

  • A temporary office or P.O. box
  • Out-of-state phone numbers
  • Out-of-state license plates
  • Staying in a hotel, or motel
  • No local references
  • Don’t know your area