Pounding hail does a lot of damage to homes and vehicles in Oklahoma.
Wednesday's severe storms slammed hail the size of quarters and ping pong balls into homes and vehicles.
After the hail, you don't want to do even more damage to your wallet when making repairs.
The problem solvers reached out to the Better Business Bureau and an insurance agency owner to help you make the best decisions for fixing your home and vehicle.
Amie Mitchell with the Better Business Bureau advises getting at least three estimates in writing before hiring a contractor.
"Don't be pressured into I've got a great deal or a great special. Make sure you're checking them out and you're taking your time." Mitchell said, "As much as people want to get back to normal quickly, you want to step back and make sure you are taking the time to do the research that needs to be done."
When it comes to filing an insurance claim to pay for the damage, Matt McCoy with State Farm said, "What we advise is let's have a roofer come out take a look at your roof and determine if you have enough damage to file a claim."
That means you need to look at the cost of repairs and your deductible to determine if its in your best interest to file a claim or pay out-of-pocket.
He adds, hail can cause damage to other things around your house you may not think about, so make sure you check everything before determining if you should put in a claim.
"People sometimes forget their air conditioners, gutters, their high end grill, pool decking, you know, that's a big one that gets dinged with hail a lot. That's gonna fall under your homeowner's policy, but make sure if you have a claims representative from your company come out make sure you're going to point out, hey I had it out here by the pool. I had it on my heat and air unit. I had it on my grill because those different things because you have coverage for all that stuff."
When it comes to repairing your car, McCoy says do a little research before calling your insurance agent.
"I think a lot of people think windshields or side windows are a whole lot more expensive than they are," McCoy said, "Most people have $1,000 deductible - you can go get a window or windshield -- a couple hundred bucks to get your windshield replaced. Maybe $500 if it's a higher end one so when you have a $1000 deductible and three, four, five hundred dollars in damage, a lot of times that's just going to be out of pocket for the individual. But, if you do have a zero or lower deductible, what we're gonna advise you is you can claim it if you want but insurance companies look at your loss ratio so the more claims you file the more that could come to adversely affect you with rates down the road." Mitchell also advises whether is a home or vehicle repair, "Don't pay in advance - don't pay any up-front fees - and if you are paying (for a repair) make sure you use a credit card just in case something goes wrong."
We also have these tips from the BBB:
- Do your research. Find businesses you can trust on bbb.org. We have BBB Business Reviews on more than a million home contractors. Check your state or provincial government agency responsible for registering and/or licensing contractors.
- Resist high-pressure sales. Some storm chasers use tactics such as the “good deal” you’ll get only if you hire the contractor on the spot. Be pro-active in selecting a contractor and not re-active to sales calls on the phone or door-to-door pitches. Disaster victims should never feel forced to make a hasty decision or to choose an unknown contractor.
- Be especially careful of door-to-door contractors. Many cities require a solicitation permit if sales people go door-to-door. Ask for identification. Check their vehicle for a business name, phone number, and license plates for your state.
- Get at least three estimates. Get quotes in writing, don’t accept estimates over the phone, and be wary of very low estimates, which could set up a “bait and switch” tactic.
- Know your rights and responsibilities. Check with your town to see what permits contractors need to work on your property. Check with your insurance company to make sure your liability insurance covers falls or injuries to contractors.
- Don’t pay for the job in advance. Be wary of any contractor who demands full or half payment upfront. Insist that payments be made to the company, not an individual.
- Pay by credit card, if possible; you may have additional protection if there’s a problem.
- Get a written contract. Make sure it specifies the price, the work to be done and who will do it, the amount of liability insurance coverage maintained by the contractor, and a time frame. Require a copy of their current certificate of insurance.
- Be wary regarding places you can’t see. While most roofers abide by the law, be careful allowing someone you do not know to inspect your roof. An unethical contractor may actually create damage to get work. The same goes for attics, crawl spaces, ducts, and other places you cannot easily access or see for yourself.
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