TDCI Shares Insurance and Consumer Tips For Recovery After FloodingScammers May Prey on Those Trying to Rebuild After Flood Damages
NASHVILLE – As the floodwaters from unprecedented rains in February recede across the Volunteer State, the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI) is providing insurance and consumer tips to aid consumers who are rebuilding and recovering from the flooding.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee recently issued a flood-related Executive Order after 83 of Tennessee’s 95 counties have reported flood damages or impacts since Feb. 23, 2019. Nineteen of these counties issued State of Emergency declarations. To aid consumers during this period, the Department recently issued consumer tips related to electrical safety and flooded vehicles.
“As consumers prepare to assess their damages and recover, it’s important that they know the Department is ready and willing to assist in any way we can,” said TDCI Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak. “Additionally, I again urge Tennessee consumers to consider flood insurance. Flooding is a common threat across the United States, and Tennessee consumers can give their families greater peace of mind with flood insurance.”
To help consumers navigate post-storm recovery, TDCI shares the following tips:
FILING INSURANCE CLAIMS
- File your claim as soon as possible. Call your insurance company or agent with your policy number and other relevant information. Your policy may require that you make the notification within a certain time frame.
- If your home is damaged to the extent that you cannot live there, ask your insurance company if you have coverage for additional living expenses.
- Document the disaster by taking photographs or video of any damage.
- Make the repairs necessary to prevent further damage to your property (cover broken windows, leaking roofs and damaged walls). Don’t have permanent repairs made until your insurance company has inspected the property and you have reached an agreement on the cost of repairs. Be prepared to provide the claims adjuster with records improvements you made prior to the damage.
HIRING A CONTRACTOR
- Remember that a contractor’s license is required before bidding or price negotiations when the total cost of the project is $25,000 or more.
- Before selecting a professional, ensure they are properly licensed for the project by visiting verify.tn.gov.
- Get several bids and check references before committing to a contractor.
- Be wary of contractors selling repairs door-to-door, especially when they ask to receive payment upfront or offer deep discounts.
- Generally, do not pay more than 1/3 of the cost upfront and make sure you have the terms of payment in writing.
- If you are dealing with a company or person who promises to remove debris from your property, ask them to list the services they will provide in writing. Ensure that your contract provides for you to make an inspection and approve the work before making the final payment.
BEWARE OF DISASTER RELATED SCAMS
While many people seek to help during times of disaster, unfortunately there is also an increased risk for scams and fraud. Watch out for:
- Upfront fees to help you claim services, benefits, or get loans. No government agency charges application fees.
- Con artists posing as government employees, insurance adjusters, law enforcement officials, or bank employees. Confirm credentials by calling the agencies if necessary.
- Organizations with names similar to government agencies or charities.
- Limited time offers. Don’t be pressured to make a decision on the spot or to sign anything without having enough time to review it.
- Fake rental listings. If the offer sounds too good to be true or the property owner can’t show you the property beforehand, it’s a bad sign.
To further assist consumers with disaster recovery, the Division of Consumer Affairs and the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office have additional tips and resources that can be found here.