The Texas Department of Insurance wants to help us avoid the fraud that often follows the spring storms we experience in Texas.
Disasters are often followed by a criminal element drawn to the area to take advantage of the situation. Fraud can range from shoddy repairs to price gouging. In the worst cases, people offering services to storm victims may simply take their money and run. To report suspected insurance fraud, call TDI's Consumer Help Line at 1-800-252-3439.
TDI offers these tips when hiring a contractor for home repairs:
- Call your insurance company first. Your insurance company can give you advice on what repairs should cost.
- Use local companies. Make sure to check their references and phone numbers.
- Get written estimates. These should be on the company’s letterhead with clear contact information.
- Get more than one bid. This will help you decide which offers are legitimate and which may be too high or too good to be true.
- Do not pay for repairs up front. Good contractors will typically require a partial payment up front to get started, but your final payment should be made after the job is finished.
- If you feel pressured or threatened, call the police.