Winter can be rough on homes and property. The Better Business Bureau reminds those who experience damage to take certain precautions when cleaning up and making repair decisions. Weather damage to homes can bring out the best in people, as strangers reach out to help others in need. Unfortunately, emergencies also bring out those who choose to take advantage of victims.
Better Business Bureau serving the Northwest and Pacific offers the following tips to homeowners who suffer property damage:
Know your coverage. Check with your insurance company about policy coverage and specific filing requirements. Save all receipts, including those for food, temporary lodging or other expenses that may be covered under your policy.
Think before you act. Although you may be eager to get things back to normal, avoid letting your emotions get the better of you. Don’t be pressured into making an immediate decision with a long-term impact. Be proactive in selecting a business and not reactive to solicitations. Make temporary repairs, if necessary, to buy you more time for researching repairs and contractors.
Shop around. For major repairs, take time to research and get three to four estimates based on the same specifications and materials.
Be wary of door-to-door workers. Often they claim to have leftover materials from a job “down the street” or claim they do not have a permanent place of business. Reputable contractors or workers should provide company identification, including a license.
Get it in writing. Require a written contract with anyone you hire. It should specify the work to be done, the materials to be used and the price breakdown for both labor and materials. Any promises made verbally should be written into the contract, including warranties on materials or labor. Be sure their name, address, license number, if applicable, and phone number and a start and end date for the work are included in the contract. A copy of the signed contract should be given to you at time of signing.
Be cautious with money. Never pay in full for all repairs in advance, and do not pay in cash or other nontrackable form of payment. While many businesses may ask for a deposit, BBB suggests that no more than one-third of the job be paid for upfront. Be sure the contract specifies the schedule for releasing payments to the contractor.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.