Recovering After a Freeze: Managing Insurance and Hiring Contractors

The recent spell of freezing weather has been a major inconvenience for many. The question arises for those who have experienced damage due to the freeze: what next steps should be taken?

Navigating the process of dealing with insurance and contractors can be daunting, but being prepared is vital to a smooth experience. Stephanie Waterman, a Farmers Insurance agent, emphasizes the importance of prompt action in making a claim. Delaying this process can complicate matters. Waterman advises, “The sooner you can call your insurance company or get a restoration company out there, the better it will be every time.”

One of the primary concerns is understanding what your insurance covers. Waterman notes, “Generally, the broken pipe is not going to be covered. It’s the damage of the water that’s going to be covered under the insurance.” This distinction is crucial in determining the extent of your insurance coverage.

If you require professional assistance for cleanup and repair, it’s essential to know who you are hiring. Katie Galan from the Better Business Bureau warns of the rise in unethical contractors, especially after significant weather events. These contractors, often called “storm chasers,” may travel from out of state to exploit those needing urgent repairs. Galan warns, “These are people who will come from out of state, and they come to try to take advantage of people.” They might approach you, claiming to have worked on a neighbor’s house, and offer their services. Galan stresses the importance of thorough research before entrusting anyone with repair work. This includes obtaining multiple bids and ensuring all agreements are documented in writing.

Another concern is the emergence of scams after such weather events. A common tactic involves individuals posing as representatives of utility companies. They might contact you via call, text, or email, threatening to shut off your heat unless immediate payment is made. Galan advises that such contacts are likely scammers preying on your fears. In these situations, it’s best to contact your utility company directly using the number on your most recent bill to verify any claims.

In conclusion, dealing with the aftermath of a freeze involves a series of careful steps. Promptly filing an insurance claim and understanding the coverage is crucial. When hiring contractors for repairs, due diligence is necessary to avoid falling prey to unethical practices. Additionally, being alert to possible scams, especially those impersonating utility companies, is essential for protecting yourself and your property. By taking these precautions, you can effectively navigate the challenges of weather-related damage.

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