After the Event
- Make temporary repairs to protect your home.
- If your roof is damaged, use tarps secured with strips of wood and nails to cover it as soon as you can. Heavy rains usually occur after a hurricane as feeder bands pass through, and water can cause additional damage to the interior of your home. Any steps you can take to minimize water damage will help.
Repairing An Asphalt Roof (PDF)
- Take pictures of your damaged roof for insurance purposes.
- Remove loose debris on the roof that could be blown off in a subsequent storm. Because some roofs are in a hazardous condition after wind damage, debris removal should be performed by a licensed professional roofing contractor, if one is available within a reasonable time period.
- Major repairs should be completed by a licensed professional contractor.
The demand for qualified contractors after a disaster usually exceeds the supply. Beware of home repair rip-off artists, who may overcharge, perform shoddy work or skip town without finishing your job. Because many legitimate licensed home repair companies can be booked solid for months, frustrated and anxious homeowners and landlords, eager to get their property back in shape, may neglect to take the usual precautions when hiring contractors.
- Deal only with licensed and insured contractors.
- Verify the track record of any roofer, builder or contractor you are thinking of hiring. Ask for a list of recent customers and call them.
- Get recommendations from friends, relatives, neighbors, co-workers, insurance agents or claims adjusters.
- Check with the local consumer protection agency, building officials, and the Better Business Bureau to see if complaints have been lodged against any contractor you are considering.
- Take your time about signing a contract. Get a written estimate that includes any oral promises the contractor made. Remember to ask if there's a charge for an estimate before allowing anyone into your home.
- Ask for explanations for price variations, and don't automatically choose the lowest bidder.
- Get a copy of the final, signed contract before the job begins.
- Resist dealing with any contractor who asks you to pay for the entire job up-front. A deposit of one-third of the total price is standard procedure.
- Don't pay cash. Pay only by check or credit card, and pay the final amount only after the work is completed to your satisfaction.
- Be skeptical of contractors who encourage you to spend a lot of money on temporary repairs. Make sure there is enough money for permanent repairs.
- Ask a knowledgeable friend, relative or attorney to review a home repair contract before you sign.
- If you take out a loan to pay for the work, be cautious about using your home as security: If you don't repay the loan as agreed, you could lose your home. Consider asking an attorney to review the loan documents, as well.
- If you suspect a repair rip-off, call the your local or state consumer agency and your building departments.
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Updated April 2013