Storm Chasers and tips on how to avoid them
2. Be present for property inspections Do not let anyone inspect your home or roof without you present – crooked contractors have been known to fake storm damage with hammers or golf balls. If you haven’t had a chance to vet a contractor, it’s best to deny them access to your home.
3. Play your cards close to the chest When dealing with an insurance claim, do not to tell bidding contractors how much your policy will cover. Some companies will conveniently estimate the cost of repairs to near or exactly that amount. Amy Bach of United Policyholders, a non-profit that helps homeowners deal with insurance companies, suggests first getting a “scope” of loss that outlines materials and work needed, without prices, by a trusted contractor, public adjuster or insurance company.
4. Always get multiple estimates. Don’t panic and rush into a contract or make a down payment. Even in an emergency situation, it’s best to get three estimates.
5. Check the company’s details Before settling on a contractor, get the company’s phone number and address – but be aware that some contractors set up temporary offices to appear local or use a local company’s name. Check for out-of-state license plates on workers’ vehicles. Ask for local references.
6. Check the license Contact your community’s local licensing board and state attorney general’s office to check for complaints and disciplinary actions.
7. Verify bonding and insurance Contact the company’s insurance and bonding companies to determine whether their liability and worker’s compensation policies are big enough to cover your job.
8. Avoid large down payments A contractor may ask for a down payment, but be wary if they want a large deposit or cash payment that’s more than 1/3 of the job’s total cost. Withhold at least 10 percent until the job is completed to your satisfaction.
9. Don’t sign away your settlement Never sign over your homeowner’s insurance settlement up front and avoid a company that offers to pay or help with your deductible. In some states, deductible help is considered insurance fraud.
10. Make sure you’re covered when the job is complete Get lien waivers from the contractor or subcontractor at the same time you make a payment for materials and work. A lien waiver constitutes proof of payment and protects you if a general contractor fails to pay subcontractors.
If you have any questions during this time of need, an Alpha Omega representative will be glad to assist you. An emergency tarp? Free Evaluation? Repairs? Peace of Mind? Alpha Omega Construction Group… protecting life’s two biggest investments, your family & your home!