Protecting Yourself From Storm Chasers
In the construction industry the term “ Storm Chasers” refers to contractors soliciting business from homeowners after a storm or natural disaster. These “Storm Chasers” will often ask for cash up-front in exchange for quick repairs and offer to act on the homeowner’s behalf with the homeowner’s insurance company. If this happens, the homeowner relinquishes the right to withhold payment if the work is not complete or satisfactory to what was agreed upon. Also, by getting cash up front the storm chaser is free to use subpar material and/or leave the job incomplete.
Warning Signs you are dealing with a Storm Chaser:
- The company is soliciting business door to door and shows up right after a storm or natural disaster
- They offer to help you avoid paying your insurance deductible (This is insurance fraud)
- Contracts are vague and do not state the exact cost of the project. Also you are encouraged to sign before meeting with your insurance adjuster
- They have no proof of their own insurance or contractor’s license number
- You must obtain your own building permit
- Offers a price that is “too good to be true”
- Has a PO Box for their address
- Out of area license plates and/or drivers licenses
Steps to take after a Storm or Natural Disaster:
- Contact your Independent Insurance Agent: Ask about policy coverage and filing processes. Save all receipts from any expenses incurred because of the damage(s). Your Independent Insurance Agent may also have recommended contractors.
- Coordinate Invoices and payments with your Independent Agent and the company’s claims adjusters.