If your property needs repairs following Hurricane Ida, you likely face a long and potentially expensive road ahead of you. Considering the strength of this particular storm, you could require major repairs before your home is even livable again.
There are a number of legitimate, quality contractors to choose from. Unfortunately, there are also a variety of opportunists and dishonest contractors who flock to areas of devastation to prey on victims during their greatest time of need. This is your property, your home – proceed with caution and do some research when hiring a hurricane damage contractor.
Additional problems could arise should your insurance company insist upon using their contractors or even refuses to process your claim in good faith.
Speaking with an attorney who is experienced in hurricane damage claims is one of the best ways to protect your interests and avoid the pitfalls that commonly plague those in need of immediate and often extensive repairs in the wake of a storm of Ida’s magnitude. The hurricane insurance attorneys from the MIC Firm are here to speak with you about your options. Call us before you hire a contractor. The consultation is FREE.
Scams to Beware of
As previously mentioned, a scary number of unscrupulous companies flock to storm struck areas to pray on unsuspecting victims who desperately want their homes repaired.
One of the more common scams involves an individual who is not a contractor and never intends to deliver on his/her promises. In this scenario, the scam-artist knocks on your door and tells you that they have been hired to repair your neighbor’s house somewhere on the other side of the neutral ground (for example). Since they’re already working in the area, they offer you a discount on your repairs. They will even provide you with what appears to be a very reasonable estimate and request an upfront deposit of 50% with the remaining due upon completion. After making such a payment, the scam-artist simply disappears with your deposit, never to be seen again.
These scam-artists are growing smarter with every storm. The devastation experienced by one who’s home has been damaged, together with the utter exhaustion in dealing with the storm’s aftermath, leaves you uncharacteristically open to deception.
You can read about other common storm damage contractor scams on the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) website. Contacting an experienced attorney is another way to help ensure you don’t become the victim of any storm damage repair scams.
Do Your Homework
Protect yourself by reaching out to a contractor you have found and looked into, rather than talking to an unknown individual who calls or comes to your door. This provides you with the opportunity to verify a few critical factors such as: whether they’re licensed in Louisiana; whether they’re insured, and whether a surety bonds is required. It will also allow you to review any feedback from their prior customer and look for any complaints that may have been filed against them. Such information can commonly be found at the Louisiana’s registrar of contractors, the Better Business Bureau and of course, Google.
Seeking “word-of-mouth” recommendations is a great way to protect yourself against fraud. Ask friends, neighbors, or other trusted individuals. However, a recommendation alone is never an adequately substitution for doing our own due diligence on the contractor’s qualifications.
Estimates Should Always be in Writing
You should always insist on written estimates and, more importantly, ALL contracts be fully executed in writing.
Before signing any document, it is imperative that read over carefully and fully understand what you are agreeing to.
Note: Few legitimate contractors will request any deposit above 10% of the contract value. Anything higher is just 1 of any number of red flags that can identified by a thorough review of the proposed contract.
Contacting an attorney is the best possible way to protect yourself and can give you peace-of-mind during terrible times. An experienced hurricane damage claim lawyer knows what to look for and how to spot potentially dangerous contracting arrangements.
Contact an Experienced Attorney at MIC Today
In Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, and throughout the Gulf Coast region, the MIC Firm protects its clients from a multitude of risks involved in hiring a hurricane damage contractor. We assisted countless clients in the wake of some of the worst hurricanes in recent history. In fact, a number of Hurricane Laura cases are still ongoing and we will continue to fight for them until they are made whole.
Before hiring a hurricane damage contractor or for help getting your insurance claim paid, contact us to learn more about how we can protect your legal rights and help you avoid the ever-so-common scam. Call the MIC Firm for a confidential consultation with one of our experienced gulf coast property damage lawyers today.