5 Tips for Dealing with a Home Repair Emergency
Damage to your home can happen anytime, whether from a storm, fire or water. As a home or business owner, the responsibility lies with you to make sure any further damage is prevented. Here are five steps you can take to be prepared:
1. Have a list of contractors
Locate the names and numbers of several local general contractors, store them on your cellphone and keep a list in a safe place in case your cellphone is out of service.
2. On call
When locating local general contractors, check their websites for 24-hour emergency service phone numbers. It's a good idea to keep several numbers. If a storm hits a large area, it may take a couple of tries to find a contractor who is available.
If you have homeowners insurance it may be necessary to contact your agent if the damage is severe. Your agent will send an adjuster to assess the damage and write an estimate for the repairs. Some insurance companies may recommend a local contractor, but it's important to remember that it is your decision who does the repair work.
4. Get several estimates
Another helpful step is to obtain several detailed estimates. By getting more than one (three is a good place to start) you have the advantage of multiple experts looking at the job. State laws vary, but always ask for proof of insurance and license, if required.
Getting a detailed estimate can save you time and money. The estimate should note exactly the work to be done and the cost. There should not be a charge for an estimate.
5. Give and take
Once you've chosen a contractor, communication is key. Before, during and after your project, don't hesitate to ask questions. At the completion of the project, do a walkthrough with the contractor so if there are any issues they can be addressed promptly.
According to the Insurance Information Institute's website, about one in 20 insured homes have claims in a typical year. The most frequent claims are attributed to wind and hail damage. So doing a little research now could help you out in the future.