After Friday night’s storm, many were left with car, home and other personal property damage from high winds, hail and tree debris. When such damage occurs, it may be difficult to know where to start.
The Tri-State BBB offers tips today for those left with damage from the storm.
1. Take time to assess all damage. Take pictures as soon as safely possible and document all damage to your property. Note those items that may cause safety issues and may cause further property damage, if not addressed quickly.
2. Decide if you need to file an insurance claim. If the damage will clearly cost less than your deductible, it may be best to pass on filing an insurance claim. (Insurance claims can potentially raise your premiums.) If you are unsure of the cost, discuss the situation with your insurance provider, who may employ a professional to help with an assessment. If the damage clearly exceeds your deductible, begin the claim process and ask what pictures, documentation or other items are needed before you begin any clean- up efforts. Also ask what items should not be touched prior to the insurance evaluation and note any safety concerns you may have.
3. Consider multiple quotes, referrals and BBB Business Reviews prior to hiring a vendor. BBB Business Reviews are free of charge, provide valuable information (such as ratings, accreditation status and information on complaints) and can easily be accessed online or by phone. Make sure your quotes contain all materials and labor needed, a timeline for the task and any clean-up aspects that should be involved.
4. Avoid quick decisions and storm chasers. If someone knocks on your door offering repairs, take the time to do some research first. Ask for a business card and ensure they are licensed appropriately for your area before considering their service. Remember that quotes much lower than others may indicate that short cuts are being taken or subpar materials are being used, so ask for references and carefully review all information before making a decision.
5. Ask for it in writing. Once you are ready to hire a company for a repair, ask for a contract with all the specifics and details and review it carefully. Find out if the company will file their billing with your insurance company, or if you are responsible for the paperwork, up front. Ask questions about any terms that are unclear and make sure all requested items are within your contract.