When severe weather strikes and damages homes, storm chasers move in. These contractors claim to be here to help, but they’ll often cause more problems than the storm. Keep reading to learn who storm chasers are and how to better handle storm damage repairs.
What Are Storm Chasers?
Storm chasers are contractors who come from other cities and even states following severe weather. They often advertise by going door-to-door or putting up fliers offering a fast fix at a low price.
What’s Wrong With Storm Chasers?
There isn’t anything inherently wrong with non-local contractors. After a large storm, local contractors will be overwhelmed and can’t handle all of the work in a reasonable time.
Storm chasers refers to a subset of non-local contractors who put making a quick buck over actually helping people recover from a storm. They over promise and under deliver with poor workmanship and incomplete work. They then skip town before the homeowner is aware that something’s wrong, and the homeowner often has no recourse.
How to Tell a Storm Chaser Apart From a Reputable Contractor
Even if you need fast work to make your home liveable following a storm, don’t rush into choosing a contractor. Pick them the same way you would a remodeling contractor.
- Check for reviews. Even if a contractor doesn’t have a presence in your local area, you should be able to check out the reviews on their home location.
- Look up licenses. Always check to make sure your contractor has the right licenses. Following a major storm, Wisconsin or Kenosha officials may issue an order allowing out-of-state licenses to be recognized temporarily.
- Verify that they’re insured or bonded. Even the best contractors sometimes make mistakes. Insurance or bonds guarantee they have the financial ability to make it right.
- Get a written estimate. A reputable company will want to get your signature on a written estimate detailing the work to be performed and payment terms. A contract protects them as well in case a homeowner tries not to pay or says they didn’t authorize work.
Do You Need to Accept the Lowest Bid?
It’s generally a myth that your insurance company requires you to accept the lowest estimate. Depending on the company, they may ask you to receive a certain number of estimates and take the middle one, or they may have you work with a preferred contractor. Keep in mind that the lowest estimate sometimes involves cutting corners or skipping needed work, and insurance companies know this as well.
Work With Your Insurance Agent
Always get in touch with your insurance agent immediately if a storm damages your home. They can help you with the process of choosing a contractor and filing a claim. They’ll also help you to document the damages and understand what forms you need to file. Remember, delayed or poor repairs can lead to more damage and a larger insurance claim, so your insurance company wants to help you get your home fixed quickly and properly.
To get help or to make sure you have the right coverage to prepare you for a storm, contact BWO Insurance of Kenosha/Racine.