What should I know about using contractors to rebuild after a disaster?

Here are some tips when considering contractors to help fix or rebuild your home:

  • Get bids from several local, established contractors.
  • 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. Ask for the license number and use your state licensing agency’s website or hotline to make sure it’s valid.
  • Check with licensing agencies to see if the contractor has a history of complaints.
  • Never pay in advance.
  • Never pay in cash.
  • Never provide personal financial information, such as your checking account credit card or debit card numbers.  You might be told this will “speed up payment” to start the repair process. Don’t believe it.
  • If you have to borrow to pay for repairs, don’t let the contractor steer you toward a particular lender.
  • Never sign anything before carefully reading it.

The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud has more information on avoiding adjuster and contractor scams.

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