Although you may be anxious to get things back to normal, avoid letting your emotions get the better of you. Storm victims should never feel pressured to make a hasty decision or choose an unknown contractor. You can make temporary repairs if necessary and take care to choose a trustworthy contractor.
Assess damage and make temporary repairs if needed
- Contact your insurance company immediately to inquire about policy coverage and specific filing requirements. This gets the ball rolling on the claim process.
- Document the damage to your property (and autos); take pictures or video if possible.
- Make any minor repairs to limit further damage to the home. If you have to make temporary repairs to protect your home from the elements, be sure to save all of your receipts.
- Do not make any permanent repairs until you get approval from your insurance company. Your insurer might not fully reimburse you for permanent repairs made without their authorization.
Choose contractors carefully
- Get references from friends and relatives and contact Better Business Bureau to obtain free Business Reviews on any business you are considering hiring by visiting bbb.org/search. BBB Business Reviews include the BBB rating from A+ to F, whether a business is accredited, customer complaints summary (if any), government action (if any), and more.
- To find BBB Accredited Businesses by type of business in your area, see the BBB Accredited Business Directory at bbb.org/dallas.accredited-business-directory.
- Be sure the name, address, and phone number of the contractor appear on all invoices and contracts.
- Local or national companies may both do a fine job with your storm damage repair needs, but if you choose to do business with someone who is not local, be sure to understand who will be taking care of any service needs that may arise after the completion of the project.
Know what you sign
- Read and understand anything you are asked to sign. Avoid signing an "estimate" or "authorization" form before you have actually decided to hire a particular contractor. Pay special attention to any details in bold, that are underlined or that you need to initial.
- Insist on a written contract agreement 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.
- Make sure you know the terms and conditions if you choose to cancel a contract.
- Understand the terms and conditions and get copies of any warranties and guarantees.
- A contractor should be responsible for obtaining all necessary permits, not you.
Deposits and payments
- Be sure the contract specifies the schedule for releasing payments to the contractor. Ask for a start and end date for the work to be done.
- Never pay in full in advance, and do not pay cash.
- Don’t make a final payment or sign a completion agreement until all work is done to your satisfaction.
Check out a business or find BBB Accredited Businesses at www.bbb.org. Check any time, anywhere with BBB mobile or the free BBB iPhone app.