When your house has been hit and damaged by severe weather, it’s important to get it repaired properly. The following are 11 tips to follow to ensure you get what you need.
1. Make sure to get your repairs done in a timely manner. Waiting could only exacerbate the problem, and if the structural integrity of your home has been compromised, it could be unsafe to be living under your roof. It’s best to get an accurate assessment as soon as possible.
2. If your area has been hit hard by severe weather, you may encounter contractors who operate out of their pickup trucks and go door-to-door soliciting business in the wake of big storms. While it’s important to get repairs quickly, you should always do your research before hiring someone. You don’t want to get scammed or cheated, and there are undoubtedly plenty of reputable contractors in your area who specialize in storm damage repair.
3. Try getting references from your family, friends, and neighbors. If they’ve had a particularly good experience with a contractor, that might be a good place to start.
4. Contact the Better Business Bureau in your area to find out which storm damage repair contractors have received the highest ratings. The BBB keeps track of customer complaints and how companies respond to them, and they can paint you a pretty clear picture of what caliber of service any given contractor is going to provide.
5. Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to get started on your claim. Ask about your policy coverage and how to begin the filing process.
6. Keep track of the damage for your records and for insurance purposes. Take photos or video of your home, vehicles, and other property.
7. Get at least three quotes from different contractors in writing, and compare them based on labor, time, warranty, and your other specifications.
8. Verify that the storm damage repair company you choose has proper licensing and insurance. You can easily find the licensing board for your state online, and you can call the department of insurance in your state to ensure that you’ll be protected against any new damages.
9. Hold off on any permanent fixes until your insurance claim goes through, or else your repairs may not wind up being covered. You can, however, make temporary repairs, especially since you could be liable for problems that occur after the storm. If your roof is leaking, you can cover it with a tarp to prevent further water leaks, and you can board up broken windows. If you need to buy new materials to make temporary repairs, be sure to save all your receipts.
10. Make sure the contractor provides you with a detailed written contract. It should include start and completion dates, the cost of the project, warranty information, and a description of the work that needs to be done.
11. Your upfront costs should be no more than about 25 to 33% of the total project, and the rest should be paid upon completion. Pay with a credit card or check rather than in cash. Although it’s easy to panic when you’re in need of storm damage repair, try to stay calm so that you choose the right contractor, and never sign on the dotted line unless you’re completely sure.