Chaos and panic frequently set in as the floodwaters recede, the smoke clears or the wind subsides. Every property owner has the same urge: fix it right, and right now. It’s a purely human response after a shocking disaster has upended lives and obliterated familiar surroundings.
“Right after a disaster, contractors – sometimes lacking appropriate certifications – make the rounds, contracts in hand, offering prompt help and urging owners to sign now to get the best price,” cautions Leslie Anderson, Paul Davis Vice President of Training & Launch. “Don’t take that pen, don’t sign anything, don’t put down deposits, don’t believe them when they say you must decide now. Take time to choose a contractor wisely.”
Only during some non-insurance covered flood situations will our offices go door to door offering our services. But just don’t take our word for it, call your insurance agent and ask them about Paul Davis. Qualified companies will never ask for critical information – insurance policy numbers, credit card numbers – or commitments before establishing a trusting, working relationship that the property owner has initiated.
Insurers maintain lists of reliable mitigation and remediation companies with carefully vetted references, qualifications, technology, expertise and communications skills. These companies provide a range of key services before contract signature or project start. Protect yourself.
- Request clear company identification and background materials, so disaster victims can verify identity, affiliation and qualifications.
- Schedule an on-site inspection at your convenience soon after the disaster.
- Seek referrals to resources for further assistance – governmental agencies that manage disasters, local governments – and an unhurried discussion about the disaster, its effects and your concerns.
- Require licence verification, proof of liability insurance, evidence of successful projects related to yours, and excellent Better Business Bureau ratings.
- Be certain to have a written cleanup and remediation plan and schedule.
- Agree upon a payment schedule that specifies payments to a company entity – beware any company that asks you to pay an individual.
- Check references from satisfied local home or business owners they have worked for within the past two years and beware of any contractor offering non-local references.
Most important, trustworthy contractors allow property owners all the time they need to evaluate options, ask questions and make wise decisions. Another key step to avoid fraud? Prepare before disaster hits. “Talk to your insurance company when things are calm,” Anderson advises. “Choose the best mitigation and restoration company before the fire breaks out or the flood washes in. Find out how the mitigation process should proceed. Forewarned is forearmed.”