After a tornado or storm, you may need to hire a contractor to fix damage to your home. It’s important to be aware of common contracting scams that occur after disasters, and how to go about the rebuilding process safely. Here’s our biggest tips to think about when hiring a contractor after a storm:
Make Sure Contractor is Qualified
Make sure the contractor and any subcontractors you hire are qualified and insured. Ask family and friends for referrals. Be wary of contractors from out of town going door-to-door, especially if they want you to sign a contract on the spot. Research the company or contractor you want to work with and check the Better Business Bureau (BBB)’s Scam Tracker.
Get Written Estimates
Make sure to get written estimates of the damage and repair cost. Your insurance company will also give you an estimate of what the covered repairs should cost. The estimates from the contractor and the insurance company could be different for many reasons. Be sure to discuss the differences with your company and contractor.
Don’t Pay Upfront
Be wary of paying before any work has begun. However, some good contractors may require some payment to get started. Also, don’t make any final payments until the work is finished. Never sign a contract with blanks on it.
Keep Copies of All Documents
Try to get everything related to your claim and home repairs in writing, including terms of warranty. Keep copies of all agreements and receipts for your records. Also, take photos/videos of the completed repairs.
Beware of Offers to Waive Deductible
Beware of contractors offering to waive the deductible. Your deductible is part of your insurance agreement. It is illegal for contractors to offer to waive the deductible without your insurer’s consent.
If you suspect fraud:
You can file a complaint with the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) and the Office of the Attorney General. For more information on this topic, contact TDI’s fraud unit at email@example.com or 512-676-6285.
*️⃣ To learn more about homeowners insurance, visit our The Basics, Shopping Guide, Claims Handling, and Know Your Rights sections of our website.