Arkansas Insurance Commissioner Alan McClain is alerting Arkansans to be wary of post-storm rebuilding scams.
He urged all Arkansans to ready themselves for both Mother Nature and the scammers who are ready to pounce on property owners who may suffer storm damage and pocket some quick cash, according to a news release.
Following a storm, the resident’s first action should be to call their insurance agent to file a claim— not signing a repair contract with someone who pops-up at their front door unannounced.
McClain reminds Arkansas homeowners that their insurer will honor its policy, so there is no need for a homeowner to rush into an agreement with a contractor who solicits for repair without their request.
The Arkansas Insurance Department (AID) offers these tips to homeowners who are seeking repairs to their home due to flooding:
• The resident should never let a contractor discourage them from contacting their insurance company.
• The resident should never let a contractor interpret the insurance policy for the resident. “If you have questions about your policy, contact your insurer or AID’s Consumer Services Division at 800-852-5494,” the news release said.
• The resident must make sure to review and understand all documents sent to their insurance company.
• Get more than one estimate. Demand references and check them out. “Never let a contractor pressure you into hiring them,” the news release said.
• Never sign a contract with blanks; unacceptable terms can be added later.
• Never pay a contractor in full or sign a completion certificate until the work is finished and ensure reconstruction is up to current code.
• When choosing a contractor, McClain reminds Arkansans to make sure to ask if the contractor is insured and/or bonded. Consumers should ask to see the contractor’s insurance certificate, which includes the name and phone number of their insurer, which consumers should call to verify coverage.
• Property owners should get everything in writing: Repair cost, work to be done, time schedules, guarantees, payment schedules, and other expectations should be detailed.
McClain also reminds Arkansans of Act 1360 of 2013, which allows a homeowner to cancel a signed real estate repair contract if their insurer notifies them that all or any part of their claim or repair contract is not a covered loss under the homeowner’s policy.
Details: AID’s Consumer Services Division at 800-852-5494.