Flood Victims Beware

August 29, 2014

Homeowners and businesses who suffered flood damage due to the extremely heavy rains in the area should be aware so that they do not become victims of unscrupulous contractors. 

The Better Business Bureau provides a FREE online service “Request a Quote” to find local BBB Accredited contractors you can trust at www.bbb.org

There are a number of things that should be taken into consideration if your home or business has been damaged due to the rains. The first step is to immediately contact your insurance agent to file a claim. For flood damage clean-up follow these tips:

  • Where possible, take photos of any water saturation. An insurance adjuster may need to see what’s been damaged in order to process your claim.
  • According to the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as soon as the majority of water is drained away, all wet items should be discarded or cleaned and thoroughly dried within 48 hours of flooding to prevent the growth of mold.

Where more extensive repair is needed:

  • Do research – contact the BBB before you hire a contractor and avoid businesses who come to your door with a good deal. Go to our website at www.bbb.org and consider using the BBB’s FREE online service called Request a Quote to obtain estimates, proposals or general information from BBB Accredited contractors.
  • Request bids from three or four different companies.
  • Base all bids on the same criteria.
  • Don’t automatically pick the lowest bid.
  • Do not give into demands to make excessively large down payments. And don't make full payment until all the work is done to your satisfaction. BBB suggests that no more than one-third be paid up front.
  • Determine whether the contractor has the proper insurance.
  • Ask to see any required state or local permits or licenses.
  • Work with contractors who have a verifiable track record.
  • Homeowners should check with local and county units of government to determine if permits or inspections are required.
  • Get all estimates in writing.
  • Require a written contract with anyone you hire. It should specify the work to be done, the materials to be used and the price breakdown for both labor and materials. Any promises made orally should be written into the contract, including warranties on materials or labor. Be sure their name, address, license number and phone number along with a start and end date for the work is included in contract. Read and understand the contract in its entirety, don’t sign a blank contract and a copy of the signed contract is to be given to you at time of signature. Illinois law requires a written contract for any work costing more than $1000.
  • Be wary of “Storm Chasers” individuals who go door to door offering great deals on repair work. They often claim to have left-over materials from a job down the street. Check that they are local and have a permanent place of business.


For 100 years, the Better Business Bureau has been helping consumers find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2012, consumers turned to BBB more than 100 million times for Business Reviews on more than 4 million companies and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at www.bbb.org. The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for 114 local, independent BBB's across the United States and Canada, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution and industry self-regulation.


For more information, journalists should contact Jessica Tharp at 309-670-1182 or jtharp@hoibbb.org