Hurricane Dorian made landfall in the Bahamas on Sunday, September 1 as a Category 5 hurricane. While experts have forecast that the potentially record-breaking hurricane will only graze Florida’s Atlantic coast rather than hitting it head-on, storm damage from high winds and flooding is still expected for the state, which means that many property owners will need to file an insurance claim so they can repair the damage.
Homeowners and business owners need to be aware that filing an insurance claim doesn’t always guarantee full compensation. If you want to get your rightful compensation so you can repair damage to your home, avoid these three mistakes.
Don’t Sign ANYTHING You Haven’t Read
When filing an insurance claim, never sign anything that you have not thoroughly reviewed. Make sure that you understand the language of any paperwork that the insurance company or third parties put in front of you. Knowing what you are signing is especially important when dealing with contractors because signing a document without examining it closely could cost you the money from your insurance claim.
While there are many respectable, conscientious contractors who want to help you repair the damage to your home or commercial property, more than you might think will try to scam you. If you sign something without reading it first, you might be signing away your right to your insurance claim money to a disreputable contracting company. Alternatively, you might be signing a lien which could end up costing you your home.
These types of contractors—often known as “storm chasers” or “fly-by-night contractors”—prey on vulnerable people, so if you know anyone who might be susceptible to this type of scam, please share this information with them.
Do Some Research on Your Contractor
The above example should demonstrate why it is critical to thoroughly vet any contractors you are thinking of hiring. Here are some red flags that indicate your chosen contractor is not honest:
- They ask for the money upfront.
- They don’t put the agreement in writing.
- They suggest that you make upgrades to your dwelling.
- They are not local.
- They contact you with an offer.
It is always a good idea to ask for references before committing to a contractor.
If You Don’t Understand Something, Ask for Help
What many people don’t understand is that they don’t have to go it alone when trying to get their homes repaired from storm damage. As insurance litigation attorneys, we know the ins and outs of the claims process and can help you understand all the documents that you need to sign. We can also recommend a reputable contractor to take care of any repairs you need to make. If you feel like you are in over your head with all the paperwork and legal jargon, let us help.
Need Help Handling Your Storm Damage Claim?
Get in touch with us today if you want to help those affected by the storm or if Hurricane Dorian damaged your property. Our property insurance attorneys will work with you and strive to get you the best outcome possible.