Contractor Fraud Red FlagsBeing a homeowner comes with many perks, but it also has some risks when you need to have a job done at your home due to damages, breakdowns, or a remodel scenario.  Choosing who will do the job for you is just as important as the word being done, and if you aren’t careful, you could be the next victim to contractor fraud. Imagine your neighborhood experiencing catastrophic damages to homes and you are desperate to get your roof fixed. Someone knocks at your door and says they can do the work right away so you happily agree to let him or her start only to find out later you were scammed and that person took money and never started the job. Read on to discover contractor fraud red flags.

Ways to Recognize Red Flags Surrounding Contractor Fraud

Scammers are everywhere so the next time you need a contractor, you need to be aware of some key considerations to protect yourself, your finances, and your home. Dishonest contractors will over price jobs, falsify damages (or exaggerate), ask for money upfront, and provide poor workmanship, so here are some considerations BEFORE you hire the next worker:

Do Your Homework- If you need a contractor, do your homework.  Ask around to your friends, neighbors, and family to see if they have used someone in the past and had a good experience. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau to see if any particular contractor you are considering has had any bad reviews or negative situations.

Verify Proof of Contractors License and Insurance- Once you meet with a potential contractor, don’t be afraid to ask to see their contractors’ license and insurance verification.  If a contractor is reputable, he/she will have this on them or should. Most are willing to do so without hesitation.  You can then contact the contractor’s insurer to verify the coverages on the policy to protect you and the work being done in case an unfortunate scenario happens.

Document Your Home and Damages- If you sustain damages to your home or are doing a remodel, document your home right away.  If there are damages due to a covered loss, take photos/videos of the damages and the entire room before any work begins.  If it is a remodel, take before and after pictures.  That way if the work is done improperly, you will have validation.

Examine the License Plate- When meeting with a potential contractor, don’t forget to look at the license plate.  If they have out of state tags, you may be in trouble.  Storm chasers come from out of state to vulnerable locations when people have sustained severe damages and are desperate to get damages repaired/replaced. Follow your gut.

Be Wary of Money Requests- If you meet with a contractor and are asked for money upfront before the job begins, this should send you a red flag. Typical jobs don’t require money up front.  Too many times, people believed they had to pay money up front and then the “said” contractor takes the money and runs, never to be seen again.

Review and Understand the Contract– Once you have decided on a contractor, make sure you read and understand all the contract outlines and ask questions if you don’t understand. Store this contract in a safe location should you have any concerns, questions, or issues after the job.

Contact Your Local Independent Insurance Agent- It is important to keep your local independent insurance agent informed any time there is significant work being done on your home.  You don’t need to notify them if you are doing something like painting or smaller jobs, but if your home is damaged due to a covered loss or you are doing an expansive remodel or add-on, notify them immediately so the claim can be initiated, and damages inspected.  Your agent can also recommend contractors who are reputable and provide good workmanship

Let Cameron Group Insurance Assist You Today

We understand how important your home is and we are here for all your New York homeowners insurance needs. We can assist you with any questions or concerns you may have regarding any damages to your home and how to avoid being the next victim to a fraudulent contractor. Don’t wait! Call us today at 845-627-2130.