Tips for those affected by flooding

April 24, 2013 (CHICAGO)

Joining us this morning is Roman Suarez with Allstate's National Catastrophe Team with tips on how to begin the recovery process, the right way to file a claim and how to avoid contractor fraud.

-Homeowners often assume their regular insurance policy will cover them in the event of a flood. But that isn't usually the case, right?

-Many types of insurance require the policy holder to understand what the plan does and doesn't cover. What does flood insurance cover?

-Call your insurance agent immediately to file a claim. Be sure to ask for specific procedures or paperwork needed to move forward with repairs

Filing a Claim:

-Once it is safe, we recommend residents dealing with the damage from the recent storms carefully inspect their homes and vehicles for damage.

-Report possible claims promptly.

-Make reasonable temporary repairs to prevent further damage.

-Inventory your home and list damaged items before your adjuster arrives.

Tips to avoid contractor fraud:

While most home-repair contractors are honest and do quality work, others do not. Here's a few things homeowners affected by the recent severe weather should keep in mind:

-Be wary of contractors who solicit door-to-door.

-Work only with licensed, bonded and insured contractors and have them provide you with documentation.

-Avoid payment-in-full up front. Some contractors may require a partial up front payment, but the amount should not exceed approximately 20 percent of the total estimate amount.

-Don't pay a contractor in full or sign a completion certificate until the job is completed and you are satisfied with the work - avoid making cash payments.

-Never let anyone persuade you to seek reimbursement for nonexistent or exaggerated losses or damages. This is insurance fraud, which is a felony.

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