CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (BBB) -- Natural disasters can leave homeowners with flooding, roof damage, and plumbing issues. Vehicles can get flooded and sustain tree damage. As the cleanup begins, homeowners and vehicle owners need to figure out their next steps and how they will pay for repairs. They must navigate insurance claims and policies as they assess the damage. The Better Business Bureau offers these tips to consumers working with insurance:
- Call your agent. The first thing you should do is call your insurance agent directly. They can help you review your policy, understand what is covered, and tell you how much time you have to file a claim.
- Gather materials. You will likely have an adjuster come to inspect the damage to determine how much your insurance company will pay for the loss. You can help this process by preparing a list of damaged items, providing any available receipts of damaged items, and taking photos of structural damage.
- Check contractors. If your insurance company recommends a contractor, take time to review their business profile on BBB.org before hiring them.
- Protect insurance checks. Although it may seem easier, do not sign your insurance checks over to contractors. Get an invoice and pay them directly and be sure to get written receipts for any payments made. Do not sign any contracts or documents that give the contractor any rights to your insurance claims. And remember, it is against the law for a contractor to offer to waive an insurance deductible and work the deductible amount into a bid.