With temperatures across northern Illinois expected to be in the 40s during the coming days, snow and ice will be melting over a short period of time,resulting in possible water damage and flooding.
The Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois (BBB) advises both renters and homeowners that experience water or flood damage to be cautious when choosing a company for repairs.
"Look at more than one company before making any commitments," said Steve J. Bernas,president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. "It is important to choose a company that not only has a reasonable price, but is also reputable and ethical."
Before signing a home improvement contract consider the following tips from the BBB:
- Research details and free information on contractors you can trust at www.bbb.org and consider using the BBB's FREE online service, Request A Quote to obtain estimates, proposals or general information from BBB Accredited contractors.
- Get all estimates in writing.
- Never sign a contract with blank spaces or one you do not fully understand.
- Homeowners should check with local and county units of government to determine if permits or inspections are required.
- Determine whether the contractor has the proper insurance.
Remember that a down payment of one-third the total contract price is made with additional payments due after completion of each phase of work. Final payment should not be made until the job is completed and you have inspected the work.
According, to the Illinois Attorney General's Office, Illinois has a Home Repair and Remodeling Act that requires contractors to furnish customers with written contracts for any repair or remodeling work costing more than$1,000. Additionally, the Act states a contract must be signed by both the customer and the contractor.
The BBB also makes these recommendations to property owners and renters looking to obtain flood insurance:
- Call your insurance agent or company to inquire about the availability of flood insurance in the area. Keep in mind that flood insurance becomes effective 30 days after it is purchased.
- Standard flood coverage does not typically cover damage resulting from sewer backups or sump pump issues. Ask your insurance agent or company if such additional coverage is appropriate to add to your policy.
- Homeowners or renters should take an inventory of their personal property and make photocopies of their insurance policies, keeping important papers in a secure location away from home. Taking pictures of various rooms and their contents is also a great way to document the contents.
For more information on credit card fraud and Identity Theft visit www.bbb.org.