From Better Business Bureau [email protected]
Hurricane season begins June 1, and forecasters from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are predicting above-average hurricane activity in 2022. NOAA predicts there could be as many as 21 named storms this year with a 70% probability. with three to six classified as major hurricanes (Category 3, 4, or 5). With over 350 miles of Texas shoreline, it’s important that residents and businesses in high-risk areas take proactive steps to prepare for the potential of hurricanes.
Hurricane season brings not only weather problems, but also cheaters. In the home repair business, “storm chasers” are untrustworthy contractors who travel to areas prone to severe weather and offer their services door-to-door at prices that reputable companies cannot match. Believing it’s a good deal, the home or business owner hires the storm chaser, often by paying for the entire project up front or a significant percentage of the total cost. After receiving payment, Storm Chasers either leave the project without having started it or only partially complete it.
Use these tips from the National Weather Service (NWS) and your Better Business Bureau to prepare for hurricane season and storm chasers:
• Find out if you are insured. Basic home insurance often doesn’t include damage from flooding. Basic water damage, which most home insurance policies cover, focuses on sudden and accidental situations, such as: B. a burst water pipe. Call your insurance company right away to report the damage and discuss how to proceed with repairs, and ask if your policy includes flood or hurricane protection. Make sure you understand how your insurance company will reimburse you for your repair costs. Take photos or videos of damage inside and outside your home and in your immediate vicinity.
• Please investigate. After an insurance adjuster assesses your damage, you need to find a reputable company to do repairs. Check with BBB. org to find a trustworthy company like roofers or construction contractors.
• Get multiple quotes. Don’t pay high fees upfront or pay in cash. BBB encourages consumers to get quotes from at least three different companies. All offers should be in writing and contain a full description of the services to be provided. If you are approached by someone offering a ‘free’ roof inspection, proceed with caution as this could be a scam.
• Ask for a schedule. Find out how long the repair will take. If the damage in your area was severe, it may take longer to plan the repair. Be sure to check with government organizations to see if you are eligible for assistance, especially if the damage to your home was so severe that it is unsafe to live in without repairs.
• Get everything in writing. Make sure all work is explained in the contract, including cleaning, waste management, start and completion dates. Oral agreements are to be included in the contract.
• Safe cleaning. As floodwaters recede and clean-up efforts begin, use caution when walking or working in damaged areas. Mold can grow on wet or damp material within 24 hours. It is often recommended that absorbent material that cannot be completely dried should be discarded. Flooding can accumulate a variety of chemicals and substances, from household cleaners to bacteria and disease. To protect yourself from germs in the water, mold on surfaces and chemicals in cleaning products, cover your body. Wear pants, long sleeves, boots, and rubber gloves. Visit CDC.gov for guidance on safe cleaning after a natural disaster.
Visit BBB.org/Storm for more resources and information on recovering and preparing for this season’s hurricanes.