How to Deal and Find Contractors After Storm Damage – NBC10 Philadelphia

Scammers see storms and natural disasters as an opportunity to take advantage of your vulnerability and your money. If someone comes knocking on your door and offers to help you repair the storm damage, think twice before agreeing to hire them.

NBC10 Responds spoke to the National Insurance Crime Bureau about how to recover from a storm and prevent contractor fraud.

Once the storm has passed

As soon as the storm has passed and you can safely assess the damage, document everything and take pictures. “This list will help you when your insurance expert arrives at the scene. It will also allow you to highlight anything you notice, ”NICB spokesperson Tully Lehman said. “Any damage to personal effects inside your house, if they get wet photograph or record them (then) remove them from inside the house and cover them with a tarp, but hold -they until the arrival of a claims adjuster. ”

Before starting any repair work, it is important to check the repairs that will be covered by your insurance policy.

When hiring a contractor

Before hiring a contractor, ask for proof that he is registered to do business in your state. This is in the form of a contractor’s license number. The contractor should be able to provide this at all times. The websites for the states of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware allow you to search for licensed contractors.

Ask the contractor for references and search for reviews online. The more information you have, the better your decision.

Red flags to look for

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, you should keep an eye out for contractors who:

  • Show up unsolicited at your door as they “are in the neighborhood”.
  • Say they work with several insurance companies “all the time” and suggest that they can advise you on how to interpret your insurance policy.
  • Ask for upfront payment to get the job done or to “keep up to date faster.”
  • Let’s say they are approved by FEMA or other government agencies.

Other important things to watch out for

  • Talk to more than one contractor and get multiple quotes.
  • Do not sign a contract with empty spaces which can be changed after signing.
  • Make sure you have a written contract with details of the service the contractor will be performing, materials included, estimated start and end dates.
  • Inspect the work and only pay when you are satisfied
  • Instead of paying cash, use a card or check to keep track of transactions.
  • Call your insurer before paying and working with a contractor.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau has put together this disaster contractor research checklist to help you follow the process.

If you believe you have been a victim of fraud, contact local law enforcement, your insurance company, or the National Insurance Crime Bureau at 1-800-TEL-NICB or go to NICB.org/REPORTFRAUD.

If you have a drinking problem, tell us about it. Fill out the NBC10 Responds complaint form here, and a member of our team will get back to you.

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