NORTHBROOK, Ill., Nov. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- While most home-repair contractors are honest and provide quality work, Allstate Insurance reminds homeowners affected by the recent tornadoes to be on the lookout for workers and companies engaging in contractor fraud.
Here are some ways to avoid getting scammed by contractor fraud in the aftermath of the storm.
- Be wary of contractors who solicit door-to-door. Work only with established contractors and those who have a solid reputation.
- Work only with licensed, bonded and insured contractors and have them provide you with documentation.
- Require references and check them out.
- Check with your local Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been filed against contractors you are considering. Victims of contractor fraud often file complaints.
- Don't feel pressured into signing a contract, and never sign a contract with blanks. A contract should include the contractor's name, business name, phone number and address.
- Avoid payment-in-full up front. Some contractors may require a partial up front payment, but the amount should not exceed approximately 20% of the total estimate amount.
- Never let work begin on your home or business until the contract is finalized.
- 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.
- If anyone performs unauthorized work on your property and demands payment, consider contacting authorities.
- Never let anyone persuade you to seek reimbursement for nonexistent or exaggerated losses or damages. This is insurance fraud, which is a felony.
Allstate policyholders who have damage as a result of the tornadoes that struck the Midwest part of the country can file a claim by contacting their Allstate agent, calling 1-800-54-STORM, visiting a Mobile Claims Center in the area (locations and times can be found here: http://www.allstate.com/catastrophe/Mobile-response-units.aspx) or logging onto Allstate.com.
The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) is the nation's largest publicly held personal lines insurer, serving approximately 16 million households through its Allstate, Encompass, Esurance and Answer Financial brand names and Allstate Financial business segment. Allstate branded insurance products (auto, home, life and retirement) and services are offered through Allstate agencies, independent agencies, and Allstate exclusive financial representatives, as well as via www.allstate.com, www.allstate.com/financial and 1-800 Allstate®, and are widely known through the slogan "You're In Good Hands With Allstate®." As part of Allstate's commitment to strengthen local communities, The Allstate Foundation, Allstate employees, agency owners and the corporation provided $29 million in 2012 to thousands of nonprofit organizations and important causes across the United States.
SOURCE Allstate Insurance Company