When a home disaster occurs, contractors come knocking.

Finding a contractor for your home insurance claim

April 29th, 2016 by

When a home disaster occurs, contractors come knocking.

In the unfortunate event that you need to file a home insurance claim, finding a reputable and responsible contractor is key. A good contractor will, in essence, act as your advocate and help you get a sense of the total cost of repairs needed. However, oftentimes when a home disaster occurs, less-than-reputable contractors will come knocking, offering their services and inflating prices to get the most money out of a claim.

To avoid falling prey to disreputable contractors in your time of need, follow these tips:

Talk to your insurance company
When gearing up to file a claim, your first and best move is to talk to your home insurance broker. They'll be able to give you a step-by-step guide to the process and what you'll need. Typically, insurance companies will have a list of "preferred providers" or contractors they have worked with in the past that can give you a good head start when it comes to finding a quality contractor. Often, they will also be able to assign a insurance adjuster to make an estimate about the relative value of your claim. This will give you a number to compare any subsequent contractor bids to.

Get recommendations, reviews and references
When speaking to a prospective contractor, don't be afraid to ask for references from their other customers. Another tool is using online review sites like Yelp or Angie's List – though keep in mind, not every review posted there is going to always be on the level. Finally, ask your friends and family to recommend contractors they've worked with successfully. Most importantly, ask any prospective contractor what licenses and certification they have as well as any outside labor they may need to employ to complete the task.

Get several bids
No matter what your home needs for repairs, there isn't going to be a single, fixed price. Rather, contractors make bids for the work and often are flexible on pricing so as to win the bid. Get several bids and review them, but don't assume that the lowest (or highest) necessarily is the best option. Resist the urge to act fast, especially if your home has been rendered unlivable. 

Review all contracts and paperwork
When you have obtained several bids, review the contracts and bids thoroughly and ask questions to clarify anything that confuses you. A contract should clearly state a price estimate, the scope of the work, a projected timeline and any guarantees and warrantees included. Also important is a payment schedule – you should never pay in full upfront. Full payment is only expected once the work has been completed.

Once you have found a contractor that you think will work, contact your home insurance provider to get the OK for work to begin. The brokers at Fundy Mutual are here to help.