After a storm, watch out for repair scammers

Much more predictable than the arrival of severe storms in the Tampa area are the arrivals of unlicensed contractors after the rain and winds have stopped. The Better Business Bureau urges homeowners to be careful when trying to choose a contractor to repair damage to your home or business after a storm.

The BBB says you should only use licensed professionals to do repairs and to listen carefully and use good judgment when you are approached by door-to-door salesmen, get sales pitches over the phone or are given a price for your repairs that seems too good to be true.

You know the old saying as well as anyone: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Try to keep that and some other BBB tips in mind as you search for a contractor to repair your home or business:

  • After your property has been damaged, immediately contact your insurance claims adjuster to get the process started. You might be eligible for loss-of-use benefits if your house is uninhabitable. That can mean reimbursement for living expenses you incur while out of your home.
  • Begin researching replacement costs for damaged items that will be in your claim.
  • Document damages to your home with photos and video. Take images in all the rooms (and exterior views of your home) and compile lists of losses and belongings.
  • Check out contractors before you make deposits or agree to have repairs done. Far too often, people have found that their deposits when to scammers rather than legitimate repair businesses.

We also know that in too many cases insurance companies will deny or delay legitimate claims, placing undue burden on beleaguered homeowners. An experienced insurance claim attorney can help you get through the paperwork and legal process so that you and your family are protected.