Consumers Should be on the Lookout for Shady Contractors Chasing Recent Storms

In the wake of recent severe thunderstorms, wind and hail damage,  homeowners could now be faced with another disaster: unscrupulous storm-chasing  contractors. Angie’s List has advice for avoiding these contractors and hiring  reliable help instead.

Indianapolis (PRWEB) March 02, 2012

In the wake of recent severe thunderstorms, wind and hail damage, homeowners  could now be faced with another disaster: unscrupulous storm-chasing contractors.

Storm chasers often go from house to house looking for people who need help  cleaning up storm damage, offering promises of quick repairs for cash up-front.

“If a person you don’t know comes to your door promising to help if you’ll  just pay in cash, just say ‘no,'” says Angie Hicks, founder of Angie’s List,  which provides consumer reviews on  local contractors and service companies. “Severe storms can be traumatic, and  people trying to put their lives back together shouldn’t have to worry about  trouble from shady contractors. With just a little research, you can find a  reliable person who will get you back on the feet and keep you there.”

Roofs often take the brunt  of the damage from storms, especially hail. Hail damage costs U.S. homeowners  more than $1 billion in property damage each year. Only the destruction wrought  by wind storms and tornadoes causes more damage, according to the National  Weather Service. Be sure to know what your insurance policy covers in the event  of hail damage. If you have damage, contact your agent as soon as possible.

Some storm-chasing roofing companies tell homeowners that they need their  roof replaced, when it often just needs a few repairs. This is why hiring a  company with a good reputation is so important, because few homeowners want to –  or can – climb up on their roof and figure out what’s really needed.

“If your home suffers damage, get estimates from at least three licensed,  local contractors with a good reputation,” Hicks said. “Understand that the best  service companies are going to be the busiest, so patience is key. You might  have to wait a little longer to get the work done, but you want to have it  correctly the first time. You don’t want to get stuck paying for the same job to  be done twice because you hired the first person to come knocking on your door  offering help.”

Angie’s List: Tips to avoid shady storm chasers:

  •      What not to do: If a stranger comes to your  storm-ravaged yard offering to repair your roof, remove trees or do other major  repair work for cash upfront, just say no.
  •     Do your research: Check Angie’s List to get some  insight into local service companies. Check the status of the contractor’s  bonding and liability insurance coverage too.
  •     Don’t cave into pressure or scare tactics.
  •     High-quality tree services, plumbers, roofers and  hauling companies are in high demand when storms hit. Beware the company with  time on its hands when every other similar company can’t even answer the  phones.
  •     Don’t hire the first contractor who comes along and  offers to do the job. Get at least three estimates to compare.
  •     Get estimates in writing and a contract that  includes the project price, materials to be used and a timeline for  completion.

Angie’s List: Tips on what to do after a storm:

  •      Do a visual inspection: Look at your home,  automobiles and other property exposed to the storm. Take a picture of any  damage you find.
  •     Call at least three reputable contractors: Get  apples to apples estimates for the repairs you need.
  •     Review your insurance policy: Ensure you know what  you’re entitled to. Some insurance companies surcharge or up rate for any claim,  therefore it is best to know if you have damage before you  call.
  •     If there is damage: Call your insurance agent right  away to file a claim.
  •     Check contractor credentials: Check that your  contractor has a good reputation, is licensed, insured and can do the work.
  •     Get it in writing Expect to pay a deposit for  materials, but always get a contract in writing that discusses payment terms.  Make sure the contract includes a termination clause, should the contractor fail  to meet your guidelines. Never pay cash in advance for work.
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