How to prepare for the next flood-wind-storm damage, courtesy of the Connecticut Better Business Bureau.
Call your insurance company – Check your policy to see the extent of coverage and any exclusions, as well as claim requirements, and whether you will be reimbursed for temporary lodging and urgent, out-of-pocket expenses.
Take photos and document damage – Photos taken after a storm can provide clues to what kind of hidden damage might exist.
Don’t do business at your front door – “Storm-chasers” often go knocking on doors offering to remove downed trees and perform property inspections and repairs. Some may be unlicensed, uninsured and unqualified.
Obtain several bids – You can learn a lot from different contractors, as well as compare prices. While word of mouth recommendations are helpful, always verify licensing with the State of Connecticut . Look for qualified experts and check other consumers’ experiences and complaints at at the BBB’s site. Act promptly to minimize damage – Each insurance contract requires the policyholder to mitigate damages. Some examples include turning-off the water, moving contents (things inside your house) to a safe place and covering a damaged roof with a tarp if it can be done safely.
Don’t be frightened into signing a contract – Unscrupulous operators use fear tactics and emotions to rush consumers into signing a contract. Get details of the inspection or repairs in writing, as well as all verbal representations. Make sure you understand all terms, conditions and warranties, and proceed carefully before signing a contract. Never pay more than one third of the total cost as a deposit before work begins.
Don’t be surprised if the insurance check is issued to both you and the lender that holds your mortgage. Your contractor may require you to sign a statement acknowledging that the mortgage lien attaches to the insurance check. This is a common practice since Hurricane Katrina and helps to ensure the insurance check is used to restore the property.