Setting the stage: It’s March 2016. You’re a homeowner in North Texas. All is good in the world. It’s not too hot. It’s not too cold. All you need is a light jacket (Yes, I’m aware the joke is about April). You’ve finally taken down your Christmas lights and start thinking about where you’re going to watch fireworks on July 4th.
You check the weather and notice there is a pretty big storm coming in. Turns out that storm, combined with all the other storms in Texas for April and March, make 2016 the 2nd costliest year in Texas history. Your roof has holes in it, the tile on your pool is coming off, there’s broken windows in your living room and that tree you asked your neighbor to trim is hanging out in your front yard. Thanks, Tom! Luckily you go home in time before the hail came but your car needs a wash.
What’s the first thing you do? Maybe you call your insurance agent and they guide you through the claims process. What your agent didn’t tell you about are all the “certified storm contractors” that will be in your neighborhood the next morning. This is where all the fun starts. Every Chuck in a Truck contractor from Denton to Waco will be driving around offering “free estimates”. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of reputable contractors out there that go knocking on doors. After all, people can’t use your services if they don’t know you’re offering them. But as a consumer, how do you tell who is reputable?
Option 1: Don’t be afraid to ask to see their proof of insurance. Most companies that have a good agent can provide this for you within the same day, if they don’t have a copy on their smart phone already. It’s a very common practice. Also, don’t be afraid to call the agent and verify coverage. I would go as far to telling the agent what they’re doing to your house. This allows the agent to confirm they’re covered for that type of work.
Why do you care? I’m glad you asked! Because you want to make sure the companies doing the work on your house 11en’t going to leave you high and dry. What if that roofer tears off your roof and a “pop up storm” comes in and water gets in your home? What if that pool repair company uses Gorilla Glue instead of Thin Set Mortar? What if the car wash you take your car to hits a safety barrier while bringing your car around? Sounds crazy but I have seen all of these examples first hand.
Option 2: Ask your close friends and family who they have used. You’re sure to find companies that you’d want to use and those that you should stay away from. People in Texas tend to have memories like elephants!
A good friend of mine was approached by a roofer that drove clear across Texas after a storm. They inspected the roof. Filed a claim. Got the first check and never heard from them again. What kind of referral do you think my friend would give?
Option 3: Ask your local Chamber of Commerce for recommendations. Reputable companies are involved, or at least known, by the Chamber. At least they are in North Texas.
A quick 5 minute call, or search of the web, can give you all the help you need. Chambers love to give referrals and are a great resource to be used. From Contractors to Realtors. Dentist to Grocery Stores. They have the inside scope on the all 🙂
Thank you for reading!
Flower Mound, TX 75022