After every major storm, we see armadas of work trucks with out-of-state plates flood the area. These “storm chasers” are out to prey on vulnerable homeowners and businesses impacted by fallen trees, hail-damaged roofs, and more. Out-of-town contractors aren’t concerned with building and maintaining their local reputation, which often equates to shoddy craftsmanship, below-average materials, and, in some cases, flat out fraud.
How will I know I’m being scammed?
Not all storm chasers are dishonest, but if you experience either of the following, your internal alarm bells should start ringing:
- Cheap bids, storm “specials” or deductible rebates: Trust your instincts; if it sounds too good to be true it almost certainly is. Transient contractors must get work quickly before moving on to the next town. They’ll overpromise and ultimately underdeliver.
- Requiring payment upfront: This is a huge red flag. The moment they have your hard-earned money they’ve lost all incentive to deliver on their promises, and in the worst-case scenario, they may skip town never to be seen again.
How do I protect myself?
- Step one is always to get Hausmann Group involved. Our expert claims team will work with you to submit a claim with your insurance company and get the ball rolling.
- Get at least two estimates for repairs and make sure your contractor is adequately insured. While you’re at it, ask for a copy of their certificate of insurance.
- Ask your contractor if they’ll be subcontracting out your job. If they are, make sure you understand whether or not that subcontractor is reliable. Some storm chasers will often use local contractors as a front.
- Get a formal contract in writing with clear language on the work that will be done and the materials that will be used. Don’t accept verbal promises.
- Work with the adjuster assigned to your claim. Your claim could be denied if they don’t have the opportunity to first inspect the damage.
Who can I trust?
Let Hausmann Group help! We specialize in construction risk and are incredibly fortunate to work day-in-and-day-out with the most trusted and talented contractors in Wisconsin and beyond. Reach out directly to your Hausmann Group Consultant or send a note to the Claims team and we’ll happily share a referral for a local contractor specializing in the work you need done.