Now that spring is officially here, it means that warmer weather and the increased chance of strong storms, flooding, tornadoes and other natural disasters are just around the corner. Unfortunately, when you’re affected by a natural disaster, you’re often faced not only with the upheaval and damage caused by the event itself, but there’s the possibility that you’ll be targeted by unscrupulous construction and repair contractors engaged in insurance scamming during the rebuilding process. Here are some tips to help you avoid being a victim of this type of fraud:
- Be savvy to the signs of insurance fraud. These types of fraud schemes are often perpetrated by people who offer construction, clean-up, or repair services and then defraud victims using tactics such as requiring money upfront and not showing up to do the agreed upon work; or using cheap materials or doing sub-standard work to increase their profits.
- Always get more than one estimate for any needed repairs. Also, make sure to get the following in writing: cost, scope of work, schedules, guarantees and payment structure.
- Check the credentials and references of your contractor before any work is agreed upon. Also, check the state license of any contractor before work is authorized and note the license plate numbers of the work vehicles.
- Never pay a contractor in full or sign a certificate of completion until the work is done and you’re satisfied that the work is complete and competent.
- Don’t sign a blank contract or a form with missing or blank information.
- Avoid any contractor who pressures you into hiring their company or who discourages you from contacting your insurance company or agent or who tries to interpret your insurance coverage in their favor.
- Always check the references and documents your contractor supplies, including those you’re sending to support your insurance claim.
With spring here and the potential for damaging summer storms ahead, it’s worth contacting one of our insurance professionals to review any additional coverage you may need to protect your property. You’ll also want to keep the tips above handy if you do face damage from a natural disaster and you need to hire a contractor to repair it. If you believe that you have been a victim of insurance fraud contact one of our expert insurance professionals immediately!
Andrea Bailey specializes in asset protection and risk management for our personal lines customers at our Adrian location. Born and raised in Adrian, MI, Andrea graduated from Lenawee Christian School, and has both her undergraduate and master degree from Siena Heights University. An active member of the Kiwanis Club of Adrian, Andrea also enjoys watching her son participate in soccer and basketball. Andrea has been a member of the Kemner Iott Benz team since 2012.
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