Storm season in Mesa, AZ is no joke. Some cities and states see much more severe storms on average, but the monsoon season is coming, and anyone who was here in 2017 knows to be prepared.
So you want to get your storm windows installed and stock up on supplies before a storm, but it’s just as important to be prepared for the aftermath. Here’s what you need to do, and what you need to know, before hiring a contractor to repair the damages:
Before you even pick up the phone, there are a few steps you’ll want to take at home:
- Check your insurance policy so that you know what’s covered. You’re probably covered for wind, but maybe not for flooding, as this often requires additional protection on top of your basic homeowner’s policy.
- Prevent any damages from getting worse, where possible. A damaged roof isn’t your fault, but leaving your valuables where they can get soaked may be seen as neglect on your part.
Call Your Insurance Agent
Once you’ve gotten the above steps taken care of, call your insurance agent. They’ll send someone to appraise the damages.
Look Out For Storm Chasers
Storm chasers are people who roll into town following a storm, claiming to be contractors and making big promises, “You won’t have to pay any money out of pocket!” They use a wide variety of pushy, deceptive, and even illegal sales tactics. There was one report of a “contractor” appraising a woman’s roof, and coming down the ladder with a bunch of photos taken somewhere else entirely on a similar looking roof, showing all the damages that needed to be fixed. It turned out she was one of the lucky ones, and her roof had actually suffered no damages whatsoever.
As a basic rule of thumb, just remember Legitimate, licensed, and bonded contractors do not need to go door to door following a storm. They’ve got their hands full. Don’t trust anybody knocking on your door or cold-calling you following a storm.
Research Your Contractors
If you’re lucky, you’ve already got a crew in mind, or you’ve been given a recommendation by someone who knows how to hire the right people. If not, the more research you do, the better.
Remember that anyone can set up a free website or write their own reviews under an alias. What you’re looking for is an online footprint that dates back farther than the first day of the storm. If everything you can find on a company was published this year, they might not be on the level. Likewise, you may find a company that seems professional, that is technically legitimate, but reviews will suggest that they overcharge and under-deliver.
Finally: Don’t sign anything unless you’re completely comfortable with the arrangement, and have found a contractor that you can trust. In many instances, the paperwork a storm chaser hands you aren’t going to hold up in any court of law, but that’s no reason to risk it. Find the best people for the job, and get comfortable with the idea of saying no to anyone who doesn’t seem to be on the level.