OAKLAND, Calif. – The Better Business Bureau is offering some tips for flood-affected homeowners.
Homeowners are urged to take a careful approach when choosing a business or contractor to do repairs.
Homeowners are urged to check their insurance policies for coverage. Flood damage is not covered by standard homeowners and renters insurance policies.
However, residents living in high-risk areas may be required to carry flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program.
Take photos of any storm damage to show your insurance company. National Flood Insurance Program policies are sold by insurance companies.
Avoid making any permanent changes to the property before obtaining approval from the insurance company that covers the home. Any changes made without the consent of the insurance company will not be covered by the policy.
The Better Business Bureau suggests getting multiple opinions before hiring a contractor. Avoid high pressure tactics and untrustworthy businesses.
Property owners can search for reputable businesses on BBB.org.
Property owners are urged to make sure the contractor has liability insurance, workers’ compensation insurance and is properly licensed to perform the repairs.
Ask for a written contract from the hired contractor. Clear, detailed proposals are evidence that the contractor was thorough and provided an accurate estimate.
Officials with the Better Business Bureau also suggest that owners who want to repair their homes quickly get to know people who want to use them.
Red flags to look out for include door-to-door sellers claiming to have leftovers, contractors showing up unannounced and claiming the home is unsafe, contractors demanding full payment before repairs are completed, and businesses with no local address.
Make sure door-to-door sellers have ID and a permit if the community of residence requires one. Avoid signing front door sales pitches.
Anyone concerned about structural damage to their home should have an engineer, architect or building official look at it. Also, be careful with roofing contractors. Unethical contractors can be detrimental to getting work done.
When making an initial payment for a job in California, don’t pay more than 10 percent of the total contract or $1,000, whichever is less, according to the BBB.
Finally, a business without a fixed address can be a cause for concern.
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