NORTHBROOK, Ill., Feb. 25, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Insurance fraud is estimated to be more than $40 billion per year, according to the FBI, and could cost the average American family between $400 and $700 each year in increased premiums. In the aftermath of last weeks' winter storms, Allstate protects customers and consumers, encouraging them to be vigilant as fraud often occurs in the wake of severe weather events.
"While most home-repair contractors are honest and provide quality work, homeowners should be on the lookout for workers and companies engaging in contractor fraud," said Chip Teague, Allstate's senior claim field director of the National Catastrophe Team. "This specific type of fraud can occur when a contractor provides substandard repairs or deliberately cheats the other party."
As temperatures begin to rise, Allstate shares preventative measures to help protect everyone from insurance fraud.
Beware of contractors who solicit door-to-door. Only work with established, licensed contractors with a solid reputation. Ask for references to get a more thorough understanding of the quality of their work. All contractors should be licensed, bonded and insured, and they should have documentation on hand.
Research fraud complaints. Victims of fraud often file a complaint. Check with the Better Business Bureau to confirm if any complaints have been filed against contractors you are considering.
Never let work begin on your home or business until the contract is finalized. A contract should include the contractor's name, business, phone number, address and other essential terms. Never sign a contract with blanks. If anyone performs unauthorized work on your property and demands payment, consider contacting authorities. Don't let them pressure you.
Avoid payment-in-full up front. Some contractors may require a partial upfront payment, but the amount should not exceed approximately 20% of the total estimate amount. Do not 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.
Beware of advice to seek reimbursement for nonexistent or exaggerated losses or damages. This is insurance fraud and it's a felony.
Whether you're a customer or not, Allstate wants to protect people from life's uncertainties, especially in a catastrophe. Some helpful tips include: additional fraud protection information and the Good Hands Recovery Guide, a tool for individuals, homeowners and business owners.
Allstate customers impacted by the winter storms can file a claim and begin the claim process by calling 1-800-54-STORM (1-800-547-8676), using the AllstateSMMobile app, logging on to Allstate.com or contacting their Allstate agent.
About Allstate The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) protects people from life's uncertainties with a wide array of protection for cars, homes, electronic devices and identity theft. Affordable products are available through a broad distribution network including Allstate agents, independent agents, major retailers, online and at the workplace. Allstate is widely known for the slogan "You're in Good Hands with Allstate." For more information, visit www.allstate.com.