Buyer Beware - A Different Kind of Storm
When SERVPRO talks about storms it typically relates to tropical rain, hail or hurricane storms. But in this series we will be discussing a different kind of storm. One that seems to never end for victims of so-called “restoration companies”. Our local Chicago News Channel 9 investigated a case where a person lost over $45,000, important valuables and many months of time during a water loss that should not have gone the way it had for her. The full story is covered in this video.
The reason we are sharing this scenario is because we want to help educate the public on the right things that should occur during a water or fire loss, and identify what should not happen to home or business owner during such catastrophes. Here are quick tips that will help any one new to water or fire damage experiences.
- Whenever there is a fire or flood in your home or business, DO call your insurance agency. Your Agent is experienced in these situations. They will advise you on your coverages and they will recommend reputable cleanup companies who you can trust to get work do correctly.
- Decisions do not need to be made instantly. DO NOT sign any contract without doing your research. People will appear from out of the blue handing you business cards, promising you the moon and the stars for restoration, and compel you to sign a contract right there on the street. You are vulnerable at this time, undergoing a terrible loss, and are not in the right mindset to make such important decisions. Take your time.
- When working with a reputable cleanup and restoration company the insurance company WILL assign a Insurance Adjuster to your claim – not to be confused with a Public Adjuster, as they are two different people. Cleanup companies, such as SERVPRO of Ravenswood, WILL work alongside the insurance company to make sure all processes are properly documented and prices are aligned with industry-standard rates. There SHOULD NOT be any additional “% Fees” included on contract paperwork. If you see added percentages, then something is not right!
- DO continue communication with the insurance adjuster and the cleanup company. There SHOULD NEVER be unreturned phone calls or denial of inventory items. Your possessions are always your possessions, unless written authorization to dispose of items is requests by you.
- Depending on the capacity of damage in a water loss the drying & cleanup processes SHOULD take anywhere between 2-10 days. A fire loss cleanup will take longer, but NOT more than 1 month. Reconstruction, or rebuild, of properties will take longer.
- DO read reviews and testimonials on company websites and rating platforms. The BBB is an excellent source to visit as well. DO NOT be afraid to ask for company references. Many references should be available to you from insurance agents who work with restoration companies on a daily basis.
- DO look for IICRC certified firms and restoration trained professional
Going through a water or fire loss can be devastating. You are already under so much stress to pick up the pieces, that you should not be undermined. That is why we encourage clients to take the time to do their homework before making any decisions on claims and contracts. Doing your research should not take more than a few hours. Listen to your agent. Get multiple quotes. Read company reviews, and check the status of contractors on the Better Business Bureau website. This will not only save you much more time and money during the process, but it WILL also bring you piece of mind knowing that the cleanup is being done the right way and in a timely manner.