As if it isn’t enough that your yard is a wreck, you have downed power lines, your roof is leaking, and you may have lost trees or limbs, there are still certain opportunistic businesses, and more typically, individuals who swarm down on their victims mere days after a storm that causes hurricane damage. Some estimates by the Associated Press say that losses for the insurance industry will hit around $10 billion for Hurricane Ida, and that doesn’t even count the ongoing damage caused by flooding still currently happening in the Northeast.
Thankfully, if there is a silver lining about having more named storms now, it is that many people in the hardest hit areas have learned valuable lessons that they have shared on social media regarding expensive mistakes made when under the stress of post-storm recovery and rebuilding. Some of the most common mistakes people make include hiring the wrong contractor, not speaking with an attorney, and rushing to make decisions.
Beware of Unlicensed or Uninsured Contractors
As the old proverb goes, winners never cheat and cheaters never win. While this may be true, unfortunately, shady contractors make a business out of cheating people in the short term. The Louisiana State Licensing Board spends ad dollars every year during hurricane season specifically to warn unsuspecting homeowners of the pitfalls of forgetting your due diligence, or as the saying goes, “buyer beware.”
The good news is that there are many reputable, honest, hard working contractors out there who also want your business. Some Acadiana area roofers no longer provide customers with their proof of insurance, instead asking their clients to go straight to their insurance underwriter for proof of current insurance. This is because fly-by-night contractors can purchase an insurance certificate for a few days and then cancel it and show you the old certificate, which can appear to be good for up to a year. In the event that you think you have been taken advantage of by a contractor, construction company, or roofer, call an experienced attorney before you settle or worse, just give up. Sadly, many contractors continue to do their misdeeds because honest people don’t want to get involved in a law suit, so they cut their losses and give up.
If They Need An Answer Now, The Answer is “No”
If you have a worker knock on your door after a storm, immediately put your guard up. This is not to say that every business that approaches you about helping you and your family clean up the mess that follows a hurricane has ill intentions. Reputable businesses typically rely on word of mouth and direct referrals from building suppliers and professional organizations. To put it mildly, they have plenty of work after a hurricane and likely won’t be going door to door for business.
Speak with neighbors and friends about who they recommend. It’s always free to conduct a poll on your social media page too, and don’t forget to follow up by cross referencing businesses with Google or Yelp reviews to make the most informed decision.
You Don’t Have To Do This Alone
There are many resources available for people who find themselves with first time hurricane damage. If you need an attorney, reach out to a local, trusted lawyer who has invested in their community. Call The Law Office of Stephen Gaubert for a free consultation.