Property Flooded? BBB Advises on Restoration Contractors

September 13, 2013

DENVER – The massive, widespread flooding in Colorado has left many with leaky roofs, flooded homes and saturated businesses. The Better Business Bureau of Denver/Boulder is advising flood victims on hiring professionals to remedy damage.

When returning to a home or office that has sustained water damage, mold damage should be top of mind and dealt quickly and properly to lessen or mitigate the problem. If there is mold in your home, the water problem that caused it must be resolved immediately to prevent further damage. Depending on the extent of damage, you may choose to do the cleanup yourself or call in the pros.

Also, if your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system was flooded, have the system checked and cleaned by a reliable service technician before turning it back on.

If you need to restore your home or business after water damage, the BBB has the following tips:

  • Hire qualified, reputable companies. Hire only local contractors qualified in mold remediation and property restoration. Check with the Cleaning and Restoration Association and the Restoration Industry Association for a list of contractors and check out their BBB Business Reviews at Hire BBB Accredited businesses and get free quotes from them using the BBB’s free Request-A-Quote program.
  • Act promptly to minimize damage. Every insurance contract requires the policyholder to mitigate damages. Some examples include cutting off the water, moving contents (things inside your house) to a safe place and tarping the roof (but only if it can be safely done).
  • Don’t sign anything you don’t understand. Ask a friend, relative, business person or attorney to review any contract you do not understand. If someone insists that you have to sign on the spot, find another contractor.
  • Don't welcome storm chasers. Be suspicious of any contractor who contacts you out-of-the-blue or is going door-to-door to offer his or her services. Deal only with contractors you’ve asked to come out to your property.
  • Understand your insurance process. Don’t be surprised if the insurance check is issued to both you and the lender that holds your mortgage. Your contractor may require you to sign a statement acknowledging that the mortgage lien attaches to the insurance check. This is a common practice since Hurricane Katrina and helps to ensure the insurance check is used to restore the property.
  • Keep copies of everything. Keep any contract or agreement you sign, or any warranty papers your contractor might give you.
  • Don't let your emotions get the best of you. Don’t be in such a hurry that you make careless or emotional decisions. If you live in an area where there has been extensive damage, it may take awhile for local contractors to get around to you and you may be frustrated. That is understandable. But scammers understand this, too, and will attempt to manipulate these feelings of frustration to your detriment. Don’t be pressured into making a decision on the spot.
  • Don't make large payments up front. Be highly suspicious of any contractor who requires full payment upfront – you may never see this contractor again! It is, however, OK to pay a deposit for certain jobs, provided it’s no more than one-third of the total cost. It’s best to make payments according to the work schedule.

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