Houston – It may seem convenient when someone stops by your home with the tools and the skills to fix your storm-damaged home. But wait just a minute to make sure you don’t sign something you’ll regret.
Roofers and repair people who ask about your insurance information before they even know the extent of your damage are usually up to no good.
What if a contractor tells me they can waive my deductible?
If a contractor says they can waive your deductible this is a huge red flag and is illegal! A deductible is part of your home insurance policy. It’s against the law for contractors to waive your deductible or help you avoid paying it.
Contractors who say they will waive your deductible might send false information to your insurance company about the cost of repairs which would be fraudulent. And a contractor who offers to waive your deductible is likely making up the difference by cutting corners or using lower-quality products which can lead to more claims and repairs later.
Here’s what you need to know about hiring a contractor for your home.
- Some companies may ask you to sign a contingency contract that basically obligates you to hire their company if the claim is approved.
- If you later decide to hire someone else, you may have to pay a hefty penalty.
- That is why you should avoid signing any paperwork until you have done your homework. Check reviews and even references for any company you’re considering.
- If your home or property was damaged, your first call should be to your insurance company. The insurance company may recommend roofers for the job, but it is entirely your choice which company to hire.
Steps to take as soon as you have storm damage.
The Texas Department of Insurance helps people navigate what to do after a storm hits.
- Call your insurance company to report the damage.
- Take pictures and video of the damage and don’t throw anything away until your insurance adjuster tells you.
- Make temporary repairs to prevent more damage. Remove standing water. Cover broken windows and holes to keep the rain out.
- Keep a list of the repairs and save receipts. Don’t make permanent repairs before the insurance adjuster sees the damage.
Helpful information to know about filing storm damage claims.
- Keep a record of everyone you talked to with your company.
- Be ready to answer questions about the damage.
- Ask about an advance payment if you need help quickly.
- Ask about living expenses. Most policies will cover some of the costs you have if you are unable to live in your home because of damage that is covered by your insurance. Keep your receipts for these costs.
- Don’t sign over insurance checks to contractors. The Better Business Bureau says you should get an invoice from the contractor and pay them directly (preferably with a credit card, which offers additional fraud protection over other forms of payment). Don’t sign any documents that give the contractor any rights to your insurance claims. If you have questions, contact your insurance company or agent.
TDI has several resources that can help storm victims including what to know about deductibles. TDI can provide contact information for your insurance company or help with questions about how to file a claim. Call the Help Line from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central time, Monday to Friday: 800-252-3439. You can also check the Better Business Bureau for contractor reviews or warnings.