Storms can be unforgiving, destroying everything that lies in their paths. If your roof or other parts of your home were damaged in a storm, your concern would be to fix the problems quickly.
During this period, crooked contractors are often on the prowl, ready to pounce on unsuspecting homeowners. Thus, it's important to ask questions and conduct your research before hiring a contractor.
What to do immediately after the damage
But before you begin the search for the right contractor:
Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible to make a claim.
Get more information on the specific claim requirement for your coverage.
Take pictures and videos of the damage and avoid throwing anything away until the claims adjuster gives the go-ahead.
Create an inventory of damaged items
Make temporary repairs and keep receipts for all items purchased, temporary accommodation, food, and other expenses resulting from the damage.
Finding a quality contractor
After taking steps to ensure the claims process is smooth and hassle-free, it's time to find a quality contractor. Here's how to do it:
Plan your project
Find out what kind of contractor you need to fix the damages. You may need to hire two contractors, a roofer and an electrician, for instance, depending on the damage.
Make sure they are licensed and insured
Ensure the contractor you hire carries the appropriate license and coverage. You can get in touch with the regulatory agency in your city to verify their license. The contractor should also show proof of insurance.
Do your research
Make use of online resources to find reviews of the contractor. You can also speak with references, asking questions about the contractor's work and how they responded to queries and complaints. You also want to know if the contractor honored contract terms and agreement.
Get a detailed written estimate
Request a written estimate detailing the total material to be used, total price (including labor), project timeline (including starting and completion dates), payment timetable, and building permits if necessary.
Know if they'll use subcontractors
Although subcontractors are liable to the contractor, you want to ensure the right subcontractors are working on your home.
Be wary of low bids
Low bids may look attractive, but they often indicate poor quality. Substandard materials or improper materials may be used. So make sure to ask questions before accepting a low bid.
No down payments
Never agree to make a downpayment for work to begin. If you must, it must be minimal. Be wary if the contractor requests upfront payment to get a discount.
Request a written contract
Never agree to anything unless it's written. The contract should clearly state the materials to be used, equipment to be installed, payment schedule, and timeline. Make sure you understand the contract before signing.
Repairing your home after damage can be overwhelming and requires patience. The first thing to do is to work with your insurance agent to file a claim and get a settlement. Then use the tips above to find an honest, quality contractor to help you fix the issues. If you’ve not protected your home with a policy, talk with an agent to find one that matches your budget and needs.