If I have been affected by a natural disaster, what should I do in the weeks following it, as I rebuild?
The checklist below will help guide you through some of the financial decisions you will need to make as you rebuild following a natural disaster:
- Be careful if you choose to hire a public adjuster to help with your insurance claim. Be sure the adjuster is licensed to do business in your state. Also watch out for these red flags:
- Big upfront fees. Don’t pay a lot before you know if the adjuster is going to help you. Many states put a limit on fees.
- References to contractors who can help. Dishonest adjusters will sometimes work with contractors that give them kickbacks.
- False or inflated claims. This is fraud against the insurance company.
- Asks for a suspicious amount of personal information. Some con artists may pose as adjusters to steal your personal information.
- Get bids from several local, established contractors. And avoid contractors who:
- Are working door to door
- Come from out of state
- Don’t provide an address and phone number, or refuse to show identification
- Ask if the contractor has the required licenses, and get license numbers.
- Check with your state licensing agency’s website or hotline to make sure the licenses are valid.
- Ask the licensing agencies if the contractor has a history of complaints.