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Protect yourself from contractor scams

After a big storm or other disaster, a criminal element may be drawn to the area. Fraud can range from shoddy repairs to price gouging to people who take the money and run.

1Get written estimates.

These should be on the company’s letterhead with clear contact information. Keep a copy of all copies of agreements and warranty terms.

2Get more than one bid.

Getting at least three bids will help you decide which offers are legitimate and which may be too high or too good to be true. Your insurance company can give you an idea of what the repair should cost.

3Use verified companies.

Beware of a contractor who only has out-of-town references or who solicits door to door. Make sure to check references, phone numbers, and addresses, if possible. Conduct web searches. Check for complaints with the local Better Business Bureau.

4Don't pay up front.

Good contractors will typically require a partial payment up front to get started. Don’t make your final payment until the job is finished and you receive any necessary permits.

5Beware of offers to waive the deductible.

The deductible is part of your insurance agreement and any offer to waive it should be a red flag. The contractor could be submitting false information to your insurance company about the cost of the repairs, which is insurance fraud.

 

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Last updated: 7/5/2018