If your home or property was damaged in a hurricane, you’d look to a contractor to help put things right and allow you to return to normalcy as quickly as possible. It may come as a shock that contractor scams are not uncommon in the aftermath of an upset of this magnitude.
Hurricanes leave immense damage and chaos, and some unscrupulous contractors are not above taking advantage of claimants’ vulnerabilities while bolstering their profits. If you have concerns about contractor fraud or unfair practices in relation to your claim, an experienced New Orleans insurance claim lawyer can help.
During the hurricane season, if your home or property suffers damage, you’ll rely upon the contract with your building contractor to guide the necessary repairs. As such, this contract can play a primary role in how effectively and efficiently these repairs are made and in ensuring that the contractor is on the up and up.
When it comes to your repair contract, it’s important that all the following be addressed:
- The builder’s name, permanent address, and contact information
- A separate breakout report that addresses the cost of labor and materials for your specific repairs
- An agreement that the builder is responsible for acquiring all necessary building permits
- A mutually agreed upon payment schedule based on construction milestones
- Start and completion dates
- Proof of the contractor’s necessary licensure and insurance coverage throughout the work dates
- A statement verifying that the contractor will leave the work area in pre-hurricane condition upon completion of the job
Red Flags About Contractor Fraud
You’ve suffered property damage in a hurricane, and it’s a lot. While you are very likely in a rush to get a construction crew out to your home to mitigate the damage, it’s important to remember that construction companies are well aware of your desperation and that some engage in contractor scams.
Some warning signs that the construction company you’re dealing with may be one such company include:
- The contractor solicited your business while canvassing from door to door.
- The contractor encouraged you not to obtain additional bids.
- The contractor wants you to pay upfront – rather than on a schedule that coincides with the completion of work.
- The contractor does not begin the scheduled work within 45 days of your deposit.
If the proposed contract work sounds too good to be true, it likely is.
Be Proactive About Reporting Contractor Scams
There are steps you can take to help ensure that you are not the victim of contractor fraud, including:
- Always get multiple bids from licensed, reputable contractors.
- Check the contractor’s license through the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors and the contractor’s reputation through the Better Business Bureau.
- Pay your contractor in accordance with your contractual schedule and pay with checks or money orders to ensure that you maintain careful records of the payments.
The more exacting you are, the less likely you are to be scammed, but some contractors go to great lengths to avoid fraud detection.
An Experienced New Orleans Insurance Claims Attorney Can Help
Your home has been damaged by a hurricane, and it puts you in a very vulnerable position. If you’re also hit with a contractor scam, the effects can be devastating. The seasoned insurance claims attorneys at Insurance Claim HQ have an impressive array of experience helping clients like you prevail with the compensation they are entitled to.
Having your property repaired properly is paramount, so please don’t delay contacting us for more information today.
Homeowners Insurance Claim FAQs
Do I really need an insurance claims attorney?
The truth is that insurance claims related to construction fraud are exceptionally challenging. Without the professional legal counsel of a dedicated insurance claims attorney, prevailing in the face of a contractor scam can be exceptionally difficult. Having a trusted insurance claims attorney on your side is always in your best interest.
Can I afford an insurance claims attorney?
Fortunately, you can. Most reputable insurance claims attorneys don’t get paid unless their clients successfully settle their claims – or receive court awards.
How can I protect my rights?
Consult with a knowledgeable insurance claims attorney at the first sign that your contractor is not performing in accordance with the contract you signed.