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If you believe you have been defrauded by a contractor or have been encouraged to fabricate an insurance claim, you are encouraged to call the Ohio Department of Insurance Fraud & Enforcement division.
Avoid Being Victimized by a Deceitful Contractor
- Immediately contact your insurance carrier if you believe your property sustained damage.
- Request a list of preferred contractors from your insurance carrier, the Better Business Bureau, or a specialized organization.
- Make sure the contractor is registered with the Ohio Secretary of State.
- Contact multiple contractors and obtain more than one estimate.
- Do not allow a contractor to inspect your property when you are not at home.
- If you give a contractor permission to inspect your property, watch them conduct the inspection.
- Read all documents provided by a contractor before signing.
- Never sign a blank contract or a contract that is not fully completed.
- Do not give Power of Attorney over your affairs, or permit them to negotiate or settle your insurance claim.
- Pay contractors by check or credit card, rather than in cash, so you have a record of all payments issued.
- Do not pay a contractor in full or sign a completion certificate until all work has been finished.
Watch Out For Dishonest Contractors
- Intentional Damage
- A dishonest contractor may intentionally cause damage to a consumers’ home during an inspection to justify the need for repairs or suggest they inflate the damage caused by a storm in order to obtain additional funds from the insurance company for additional repairs.
- Contract Violations
- A dishonest contractor may alter a contract after it’s been signed or amend the terms without the consumer’s knowledge. Some may require a consumer to sign a Power of Attorney, then negotiate the settlement of the claim and pocket the insurance proceeds without doing the work.
- Unethical Tactics
- A dishonest contractor may require “cash” for a down payment, use high pressure sales tactics or discourage consumers from contacting their insurance companies.