CHICAGO, IL – April 19, 2011 – With this year’s spring rains, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is reminding both renters and home owners that they should prepare for water damage resulting from the annual rains and possible flooding.
If your home is damaged by water, the BBB recommends three things to successfully hire a contractor to fix this damage:
· Request bids from two or three different companies.
· Don’t automatically pick the lowest bid.
· Base all bids on the same criteria.
“When reviewing bids and contracts, be sure to read all agreements, guarantees, and instructions before signing,” said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “Don’t be pressured into signing an agreement before you are ready and you understand all terms and conditions.”
Bernas cautions that consumers should never sign a blank or partially blank contract. “Make sure all oral promises are put in writing. Be wary of vaguely worded provisions, exclusions or limitations which could pose a problem later,” Additionally he notes, “In Illinois a contract is required for all repairs totaling more than one thousand dollars”.
Typically, a down payment of one-third the total contract price is made with additional payments due after completion of each phase of work. Final payment should not be made until the job is completed and you have inspected the work.
Before signing a home improvement contract consider the following tips from the BBB:
- Research for details and free information on contractors you can trust at www.bbb.org and consider using the BBB’s FREE online service called eQuote to obtain estimates, proposals or general information from BBB Accredited contractors.
- Get all estimates in writing.
- Never sign a contract with blank spaces or one you do not fully understand.
- Homeowners should check with local and county units of government to determine if permits or inspections are required.
- Determine whether the contractor has the proper insurance.
The BBB also makes these recommendations to property owners and renters looking to obtain flood insurance:
· Call your insurance agent or company to inquire about the availability of flood insurance in the area. Keep in mind that flood insurance becomes effective 30 days after it is purchased.
· Standard flood coverage does not typically cover damage resulting from sewer backups or sump pump issues. Ask your insurance agent or company if such additional coverage is appropriate to add to your policy.
· Homeowners or renters should take an inventory of their personal property and make photocopies of their insurance policies, keeping all such important papers in a secure location away from home. Taking pictures of various rooms and their contents is also a great way to document the contents.
For more information on contractors and finding businesses you can trust, visit www.bbb.org
As a private, non-profit organization, the purpose of the Better Business Bureau is to promote an ethical marketplace. BBBs help resolve buyer/seller complaints by means of conciliation, mediation and arbitration. BBBs also review advertising claims, online business practices and charitable organizations. BBBs develop and issue reports on businesses and nonprofit organizations and encourage people to check out a company or charity before making a purchase or donation.