After The Storm: Use Caution When Hiring Contractors

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BRIDGEWATER –  As New Jerseyans clean up from the recent Nor’Easter, Allstate New Jersey Insurance Company (Allstate New Jersey) suggests some tips to help protect you and your property from unscrupulous contractors.

“We’re seeing damaged roofs, trees fallen on houses, and siding damage. A good, trustworthy contractor can be your key partner in the rebuilding process.  However, unscrupulous contractors may take advantage of people who have experienced a catastrophic event,” said Jeff Dwyer, Market Claim Manager, New Jersey Homeowner’s Center, Allstate New Jersey.

Ten tips to avoid getting scammed:

  1. Take your time in choosing true professionals to repair your home.
  2. Get estimates from several licensed, bonded contractors.
  3. Check their credentials with your local Better Business Bureau or Home Builders Association.
  4. Inspect contractors’ licenses and proof of liability insurance.
  5. Get a contract in writing.
  6. Avoid paying money up-front. Some reputable contractors will require partial, up-front payment, but these pre-work payments should not exceed the cost of materials or 20 percent of the total estimate.
  7. Follow local building codes and inspection procedures.
  8. If anyone performs unauthorized work on your house or property and demands payment, consider contacting local authorities.
  9. Do not sign over an insurance settlement check to the contractor.
  10. Immediately report any suspicious behavior to your local police, sheriff’s department or New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance.

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