Be cautious when contractors promise to save your deductible: Autumn brings monsoons and hurricanes to the east coast, and can bring storms in the Pacific Northwest. Be cautious when companies promise to save your insurance deductible on storm damage repairs. Certain states prohibit advertising any rebates, discounts or prize offers which might be considered inducements to hire contractors. Even though special offers to save deductibles can seem enticing, they could be considered insurance fraud. The BBB says “Advertisers, agencies and media should be sure that they are in compliance with local, state and federal laws and regulations governing advertising.” The primary responsibility for truthful and non-deceptive advertising rests with the advertiser. If you’re thinking about hiring a roofer or other contractor, it’s a good idea to:
• Beware of possible scams. Watch out for contractors in unmarked trucks or for companies requiring advance payment.
• Don’t succumb to high-pressure techniques, such as notices that the price is good for one day only.
• Try to verify the business’ true identity.
• Get a business card and a physical location of the company.
• Ask for references. Make sure the company that wants your business has satisfied customers.
• Read contracts carefully and make sure you understand what you are signing.
• Understand that when an insurance company issues a settlement check for damages, that payment is going to you, not to the contractor.
• Don’t pay the full amount in advance of the work being completed. A good rule to follow is to pay one-third when the contract is signed, another third while the job is under way and the final third when you are satisfied with the completed job.
• And if you think anything underhanded is going on, contact the Washington state Office of the Insurance Commissioner at www.insurance.wa.gov/.
Holly Doering, BBB editor