Many communities in Indiana suffered losses due to Sunday’s tornado outbreak. Fortunately La Porte County was not hit as hard as other areas, however disasters or damages like this have brought out scam artists trying to take advantage.
BEWARE OF SCAMMERS OFFERING DISASTER HELP
You may receive unsolicited visits offering assistance in filing insurance claims for damages that might have occurred to your homes as in siding and roof damages. They may offer a “waived” deductable or discounted pricing in an attempt to file insurance claims from storm damage.
Here are some tips to avoid being scammed when hiring a contractor:
- Be suspicious of anyone who offers to increase the amount of your disaster damage assessment.
- Research. You may also check with the local Better Business Bureau, homebuilders’ association or trade council to see if the contracting firm has unanswered complaints against it.
- Check references. Contractors should be willing to provide names of previous customers. Call several former customers who had similar work done to make sure they were satisfied with the job.
- Ask for proof of insurance. If a contractor is uninsured, you may be liable for accidents on your property. Make sure the contractor has disability and workers’ compensation insurance.
- Ask for a written estimate and check to make sure it includes all the work you expect to have done, as well as taxes, permits, and other fees. Keep in mind that some contractors charge for an estimate.
- Get a written contract. Make certain it includes the price, payment schedule, detailed description of the work and timeline for its completion.
- Never pay for the entire project before the work begins.
- You also must have a permit for repairs from the City of Michigan City who also keeps a record of all licensed and insured contractors.