Our home insurance claims lawyers here at Leader & Leader P.A. are here to tell you that as you may be preparing to have your home repaired from water damage, fire, flood or other damage caused by an accident or nature, be wary of who you hire as many of these “reputable” business are simply looking to scam you out of your hard-earned money.
Most people running a business or working for one will commonly lead you on to believe that they have the best quality service, and can offer you something that no one else can. One major issue that has arisen in the field of contracting, though, is that while you may be greeted with a smiling face and a warm handshake, behind all of that are companies and contractors who may not truly have your best interest in mind. In fact, with the constant downpour of rain and the risk of a hurricane hitting, contractors are out and about trying to provide potential customers with their business information in the event they need a roof fixed, a wall replaced, or a hole repaired.
Of course not all contractors are going to be looking to swindle you out of your money, and many of those who do come around after damage to your home or storm are simply trying to grow their business while providing you with the repairs your home may need, our experienced insurance claim lawyers in Fort Lauderdale, FL have seen it time and time again where individuals have been taken advantage of by these crooked companies, and surprisingly, even by their own insurance company. Many times, the first person to your home for a problem may try to get you to lie about how the problem arose or may suggest worsening or fabricating problems to help you get new floors, kitchen or other renovations on the insurance company’s dime. They may also encourage that they bring in other people for necessary work that you do not have to pay for and can just sign an assignment of benefits. They may suggest a public adjuster that they can have come over immediately. The list goes on. Sadly, in our experience, in more cases than not, the insurance carrier tries to improperly underpay the claim or deny it without due diligence and/or good cause.
So what you can you do to prepare yourself in the event you are in search of a reputable service provider or contractor if your home becomes the subject of unplanned damage whether from water, fire, storms or any other cause that you are insured for.
The Coalition of Insurance Fraud has provided some useful tips and we want to share these beneficial hints to help prevent you from becoming the victim to a contracting scam.
The first thing you want to do and what our insurance claim attorneys here at Leader & Leader P.A. suggest you do is speak to a competent lawyer that knows this area of law as soon as you know you may or you do have a possible claim. At Leader & Leader, P.A. there is NO CHARGE for the consultation. In fact, Leader & Leader, P.A. tries to use the law to its client’s advantage and generally does not have to collect fees from its clients in most of these cases but rather earns its fees from the insurance company if a suit has to be filed.
Although there are occasions where it may make sense to get a public adjuster on board early, in many instances it may be advisable to get a few bids from contractors. You also must timely notify your insurance company and in most instances, may be required to allow them an opportunity to inspect before all of the repairs are done. If you home is filled with water, you can certainly use a water mitigation company to dry out the home as soon as possible without the insurance carrier first coming to inspect.
If a fire broke out in your home and it has been significantly damaged, you are more than likely going to receive bids from contractors at different rates. Don’t always jump to the conclusion that the lowest offered bid is the best, and at the same time, never commit to payment before any work is completed. Our Fort Lauderdale home insurance attorneys don’t want you to risk paying for work that hasn’t begun and having this “contractor” run off with your money. You also cannot assume your insurance company will pay and/or how long it will take to get your money, if at all. You should really speak to an attorney, understand your options and all pros and cons before doing any non-essential work to protect your home and trying to minimize the damage to the extent possible.
Another tip to consider is using a local contractor. Try and hire someone who has helped other friends and family members, or a well-known company that already has outstanding customer reviews. If a contractor arrives in an unmarked vehicle or simply knocks on your door because a large blue tarp is placed across your roof, don’t assume they are legitimate. You generally want to get someone that is licenses, bonded and insured for many reasons.
Other qualities to be leery of include:
- A contractor who doesn’t look professional.
- Someone who demands cash as their form of payment.
- A contractor who asks you to sign off on the repairs before they are completed or meet your expectations.
- A contractor that fails to produce a legitimate and legal license.
In the event that you have or think you may have a problem or you had an issue and the insurance company failed to pay or under paid, call Leader & Leader P.A. where a Fort Lauderdale insurance claim dispute attorney can help devise a plan of action to be taken to ensure you got the full coverage your are entitled to despite your insurance carrier claiming you may not be entitled to it.