In the summer months, Floridians can be faced with 5 o'clock showers or intense hurricanes which can potentially cause damage to our homes. Be alert post-storms for possible contractor scams coming to your door offering services and deals which are too good to be true. To avoid getting scammed, be aware of 4 contractor fraud red flags.
Using Leftover Materials
Fraudulent contractors may try and convince you they're giving you a great deal because they can use materials leftover from a previous job. Avoid this scam by researching the contractor's background and read reviews to make sure they are reputable and perform quality work. We recommend getting at least three different estimates before hiring.
Asking for Cash Payments
Never agree to make full payments upfront or in cash when asked by contractors, this is one of the biggest red flags when it comes to contractor fraud. Reliable contractors may ask for a down payment, which is usually no more than 10% of the contract total, and have all checks and payments sent to their company.
Not Providing a Contract
Always obtain a contract or have copies of any documentation you may have signed with a contractor. Don't trust those who only ask for a verbal contract, it's best to get all agreements in writing. Be cautious when using a tablet or phone for an electronic signature, scammers can get you to sign documents without your knowledge.
Having a Lack of Permits
Most major construction projects in the home usually require building permits to ensure the work meets state safety codes. Fraudulent contractors may try to get past this requirement to avoid building inspectors by not obtaining proper permits, or requesting the homeowner apply for the permit with their own name.
Always Call Your Insurance Before Calling Contractors
If damage has been done to your home due to storms, reach out first to your insurance carrier before speaking to any contractors. Unlicensed scammers tend to go door to door after major storms to offer "free inspections" and capitalize on families who may be already suffering due to storm damage.
Keeping your family and home safe and protected is Edison Insurance Company's number one priority. Ask your agent how they can help make sure you have the proper coverage or call us at 866-568-8922. You can also get a free quote here.