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BBB Tips on Storm and Flood Damage

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By Better Business Bureau

BBB is urging property owners in need of repairs and clean-up to carefully check out companies before hiring them after heavy rain made its mark on the area this weekend.

BBB warns, be aware of those who may take advantage of your situation: The home repair rip-off artist, who may overcharge, perform shoddy work, or skip town without finishing your job. BBB suggests homeowners call or go to the BBB’s website, www.bbb.org, to check out contractors before hiring them.

BBB offers the following tips for homeowners looking for repairs:

• Deal only with licensed and insured contractors. Verify the track record of any professional you are thinking of hiring.

Ask for a list of recent customers and call them.

• Get recommendations from friends, relatives, neighbors, co-workers, insurance agents or claims adjusters. Also check

with the local Better Business Bureau to see if complaints have been lodged against the professional you're considering.

• Take your time signing a contract. Get a written estimate that includes any oral promises the contractor made. But

remember to ask if there's a charge for an estimate before allowing anyone into your home. Ask for explanations for

price variations, and don't automatically choose the lowest bidder. Get a copy of the final, signed contract before the

job begins.

• Resist dealing with any contractor who asks you to pay for the entire job up-front. A deposit of one-third of the total

price is standard procedure. Pay only by check or credit card - and pay the final amount only after the work is completed to your satisfaction. Don't pay cash.

• Be skeptical of contractors who encourage you to spend a lot of money on temporary repairs. Make sure there's

enough money for permanent repairs.

Unfortunately, many home owners will find that their regular homeowner’s insurance won’t cover water that comes from outside the home. That may require additional coverage. Now is a good time to review your home insurance policy and make any adjustments, if they are needed.

For more tips, go to the Better Business Bureau website at www.bbb.org or call 1-800-388-2222.