Beware of ‘storm chasers’ after Irma

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Whenever Mother Nature strikes, that’s when unethical contractors like to canvass neighborhoods asking to repair storm damage on your roof.

These so-called ‘storm chasers’ usually offer to pay your homeowner’s insurance deductible for you so they can begin doing work on your roof and bill your insurer for it.

It may sound like an enticing offer, but it could be dangerous to your wallet!

Read more: How to get trusted referrals for home repairs

How to protect yourself if you’re dealing with a ‘storm chaser’

Irma has caused a lot of damage to homes and businesses in Florida and continues to wreak havoc in other parts of the Southeast. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) to put out a warning about contractor scams. They’re anticipating a flood of people going door-to-door after Irma is gone offering to help get your property repaired.

“Most of these people are reputable, but many are not,” the NICB notes. “The dishonest ones may execute schemes to defraud innocent victims.”

How can a homeowner avoid being taken in a scam? Here’s the NICB’s advice.

  • Don’t hire people who drop off flyers in your mailbox or ring your bell and tell you your roof or gutters need fixing.
  • Ask candidates for a list of the last 10 jobs they did and how you can get in touch with those homeowners to verify.
  • Ask what kind of insurance each contractor carries.
  • Get more than one estimate.
  • Don’t be pushed into signing a contract right away.
  • Get everything in writing.
  • Ask to see the contractor’s driver’s license and write down the number and the license plate on his or her vehicle.

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