Our thoughts are with all of those who were affected by Hurricane Ian.
Unfortunately, some unethical individuals wish to take advantage of those who have just suffered a loss. Service providers may attempt to exploit your clients’ difficult situation by pressuring them into signing an unread contract and inflating repair costs.
We recommend that your investor clients consider the following when hiring service providers:
- The client (or a representative) should be present when someone inspects the property. Companies may try to take advantage of the investor and their insurance company by causing additional damage to increase repair costs.
- Anyone who offers to get more money for an insurance claim warrants additional caution.
- Reputable contractors will NOT solicit door-to-door immediately following a storm.
- Written estimates should include an itemized list of all services and associated costs, including the hours of labor needed to complete the job.
- Please note: A signature is NOT required to receive an estimate. Some scammers may use this tactic to trap investor clients into signing a contract.
- A bid that is substantially lower than other bids is usually missing something significant. Carefully review all bids to ensure there aren’t items missing or unnecessary items added to the scope of work.
- High-pressure tactics can be a red flag. The heightened stress following a loss should not cause investors to rush the process of hiring a quality service provider.
- A formal repair contract should include approximate start/completion dates and payment procedures. It also should guarantee that the contractor will secure any necessary permits.
- The investor client should never pay a repair bill in full until the work is completed according to their contract with the provider.
- Most importantly, your clients should always hire an established, licensed, and fully insured company. Reputable contractors should be able to provide their certificate of liability insurance and have a business license number which can be verified here (in Florida).
Taking these precautions can help your clients avoid becoming a victim of post-storm scams. If you have any questions about your clients’ coverage, don’t hesitate to contact your Sales Manager.