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GUEST COLUMNIST–Florida’s Insurance Consumer Advocate, TASHA CARTER

  • Post category:The Dry Log

As a coast-to-coast water and mold remediation company, Rytech knows the devastation that fraudulent or deceptive behavior by “some” contractors can have on homeowners, particularly those with insurance claims.

We reached out to Florida’s leading advocate for insurance consumers, Tasha Carter, for her perspectives and some “Red Flags” that can help any consumer avoid the pitfalls.

When an insurance company pays a contractor for work, the homeowner expects the contractor to complete the work in a manner that is of high quality. If a contractor receives an insurance payment and abandons the job, intentionally does poor quality work or uses subpar materials, the contractor is committing insurance fraud.

These acts of insurance fraud can impact you, as a consumer, significantly. If your home is left unfinished, you may have to pay out-of-pocket to complete or re-construct the repairs. 

Additionally, more damage can occur as a result of poor work or subpar materials used. An insurance company will not pay for the same damage twice – if you, or a third-party on your behalf, file an insurance claim for damage for a specific timeframe, the insurance company will not pay to repair that damage again.

Contractors serve an important role in the property building and repair process. Unfortunately, there are some contractors attempting to take advantage of you. There are things you can look for when trying to determine if a contractor may be misleading you.

RED FLAGS

 

If a contractor…

  • Shows up to your home or place of business unsolicited and offers you payment or a gift card for a free inspection.
  • Promises services at no charge to you or offers to waive your insurance deductible.
  • Upon completing the inspection, tells you an area of your home is damaged, even though you have not noticed the damage before.
  • Pressures you to file a claim.
  • Pressures you or encourages you to sign an Assignment of Benefits or other type of contract such as a direction to pay agreement.
  • Does not allow you to review the contract or agreement or scrolls directly to the signature line.
  • Does not or is unwilling to provide a copy of the contract or agreement.
  • Is not able, or is unwilling, to provide you with references for other work they have performed.
  • Emphasizes that your neighbor(s) have had the same work performed.
  • Asks for full payment up front or asks for payment in cash only.
  • Provides you with an estimate that is a lump sum amount, or an estimate that is very general and lacks specific, itemized details.
  • Does not have an established business location or their place of contact is somewhere other than an established business, such as a motel, P.O. box, work truck, or work trailer.
  • Is not willing to provide you with evidence of their Certificates of Insurance for General Liability and Workers’ Compensation.
  • Tells you they prefer to handle all communications in-person and they are reluctant to use mail, email, or text message.
  • Does not have a valid and active Florida construction license or certification.
  • Their bid is notably lower or significantly higher in comparison to other bids you have received for the same work.
  • Claims the price they are offering is for one-day-only or for a limited-time-only.
  • Offers you discounts if your family, friends, or neighbors hire them for services.
  • Offers you a discount for letting them use leftover materials from a previous job.

Do your due diligence before hiring a contractor.  To decrease the likelihood of working with a contractor looking to commit insurance fraud and to review consumer tips or for a printable brochure for distribution go to: Consumer Tips and/or Red Flags available on the Insurance Consumer Advocate’s website.

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