Consumer Handbook: Look Out For Storm-Chasing Contractors When Flooding Hits Your Home

Jun 26, 2019

Spring and summer are often accompanied by the threat of river flooding in the Midwest, and this year, that threat has translated into historic high river levels. 

In the wake of water damage done to homes, businesses, and other property, consumers must be on the lookout for unscrupulous storm-chasing contractors seeking to cash in on the destruction. Fly-by-night contractors often go door-to-door in the wake of natural disasters, offering to help victims clear debris or patch up homes. 

Better Business Bureau has taken complaints about contractors who, in such situations, took deposits from consumers and did little or no work. Some couldn’t be reached when consumers wanted refunds, or were dissatisfied with the repairs. 

BBB offers these tips to consider when hiring contractors for emergency work. Contact your insurance company first to determine what coverage will be provided and if there are any restrictions or conditions you need to follow before finalizing a contract with a repair service. Flood insurance is typically sold separately, and homeowners who have purchased flood insurance should verify that coverage, and any restrictions that come with it. 

Ask for multiple quotes. You should shop around and get quotes from different businesses. Make sure all bids consider the same set of criteria. Request a detailed, written contract. Do not be pressured into signing an agreement before you are ready, and make sure you read and understand it before signing. 

Water damage requires extra considerations. If you have water damage, be sure that any remediation work addresses the root of the problem - that is, where water is coming in during periods of heavy rain and high water - and not just the water that was left behind.