Water from severe storms can cause unanticipated damage to your home and property. Recently, parts of Western Pennsylvania have experienced heavy rain, resulting in power outages and flooded roads. In the aftermath of a storm, some consumers are likely to experience a leaky roof, flooded basement or even mold related issues.
"Strong summer storms can force runoff into buildings and basements, creating a disruption and challenging homeowners and business owners," says Warren King, president of the Better Business Bureau of Western PA. "It's important to not treat water damage lightly, but to also proceed with caution when initiating repairs."
BBB advises people dealing with water or flood damage to:
- Contact your insurance company and inquire about policy coverage and specific filing requirements to initiate the claim process. Document the damage and take pictures or videos if possible.
- Recognize the difference between flood insurance and homeowners insurance. Flood damage is typically caused by water that has been on the ground before damaging your home. Water damage occurs when water causes damage before it comes in contact with the ground (broken pipes, a leaky roof, etc). These claims would likely be covered by homeowners insurance.
- Do what you can to mitigate further damage. If you have concerns about wet carpet or rugs, start running fans and dehumidifiers. Consult an expert to see if carpet, rugs and furnishings can be salvaged.
- Always do your research. Check with BBB at bbb.org to view BBB Business Profiles and find BBB accredited restoration contractors you can trust. Ask for a list of references and confirm the contractor is properly insured and registered with the PA Attorney General's Office.
- Obtain a contract that specifies the work to be done, the price breakdown for labor and materials and an agreed upon timeline. Never feel pressured into signing on the spot and always seek at least three estimates prior to making a commitment. Avoid paying with cash for the entire job up front.
For more helpful advice on dealing with storm damage and initiating repairs, visit the BBB Home Improvement Resource Center at bbb.org. Report home improvement scams to BBB Scam Tracker or call your BBB at 877.267.5222 for further assistance.