Recovering After a Storm
Dealing with the effects of severe weather and the damage that can follow is an extremely stressful situation. It's important that you take the following steps as soon as possible so your property can be repaired:
- Contact your homeowners insurance company as soon as possible to notify them of the damage. Be sure to document the damage and take pictures if possible.
- After contracting your insurance provider, contact at least to contractors to obtain estimates for any necessary repairs.
- Before selecting a contractor, ask for and contact references, and ask the contractor for their Home Improvement Contractor (HIC) number and verify that they are registered by calling the Office of Attorney General's Home Improvement Registration Hotline at 1-888-520-6680.
- If a contractor who you have not contacted approaches you, request an estimate and their HIC number. Verify the number and request a second estimate before entering an agreement.
- Be cautious of contracts who use work vans or trucks with out-of-state licenses plates, especially those that lack signage identifying the company name.
- Be cautious if the contract asks for payment up front.
- If the contractor increases their repair bill to the insurance company in effort to recover your deductible, the contractor may be committing insurance fraud.
- If you suspect a contractor is unregistered, you may report the contractor by calling the Home Improvement Registration Hotline at 1-888-520-6680.
- Contractors are not permitted to negotiate on your behalf with your insurance company. Only a licensed public adjuster may negotiate with your insurance company on your behalf.
- You have the right to enter into a contract with a licensed public adjuster to assist you with your claim. However, this is not required.
- Public adjusters should be able to present information confirming that they are licensed by the Pennsylvania Insurance Department to conduct busines sin the Commonwealth.
- If you suspect anyone or any entity is operating as a public adjuster without a license, you may report the activity by calling the Pennsylvania Insurance Department, Anti-Fraud Compliance Division at 717-705-4199.
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