Hurricanes Laura and Delta left many Louisiana homes with significant damage. As the owner of one of these homes, you are undoubtedly itching to complete repairs and move on with your life. You do not want to fall victim to contractor fraud, though.
Recently, two insurance commissioners from the Pelican State warned homeowners about an uptick in contractor fraud. Specifically, some contractors are seeking payment of all insurance settlement proceeds before beginning work on repairs.
Demand a written contract
If you hand over your full insurance settlement before a contractor starts or completes work, you run the risk of having the contractor skip town without repairing your home. To protect yourself, you should demand a written contract from the contractor.
This contract should explain the costs of materials and labor. It should also tell you when the contractor intends to complete the job. If something goes wrong during the repair process, the contract should include a provision for dealing with disputes.
Regardless, you should never make final payment to a contractor before you have inspected the repairs and are happy with them.
Investigate prospective contractors
Because of the considerable amount of work in hurricane-damaged Louisiana, potential contractors may not have deep roots in the community. Before contracting with someone to repair your home, you should do some investigating.
While interviewing a few prospective contractors is usually a good idea, you should not forget to check licenses, insurance and complaints before choosing your contractor. The Better Business Bureau or similar organizations may also tell you whether a contractor has earned a reputation for being reliable.