Contractor-related scams are often common following a major natural disaster. Justin Tomczak, a public affairs officer with State Farm Insurance, said it’s always best to start with your insurance agent following a disaster like the tornado. “They can help walk you through the recovery process, and they will be a resource to you,” said Tomczak.
“Neighborhoods recovering from storm damage often attract the attention of repair companies,” he said. “Ask questions, do research and obtain information before signing any contract for repairs.”
Dave Colmans, executive director of the Georgia Insurance Information Service, said local insurance agents also should be in a position to make recommendations regarding repair contractors.
“It is much better to deal with somebody in your community that you know as opposed to somebody that comes and knocks on your door,” Colmans said. “You’ve got to be careful with people who are saying give me so much money up front because that’s typically where people run into big time trouble.”
Tomczak said any reputable contractor will be able to provide references and information regarding bonding and licensure. “Insist on a detailed, written estimate clearly stating the quantity of materials needed which include approximate starting and completion dates,” Tomczak said. He also said it is important to make sure any contractor obtains any necessary building permits.
“Ask to see certificates of insurance to be sure both liability and workers compensation insurance coverage is carried and are in force during the time the roofing work is being done,” Tomczak said.
A good clue that a contractor may be less than scrupulous is a bid for work that is significantly lower than other bids or what the property owner has valued the losses at.
The city of Adairsville is requiring that citizens and business owners obtain permits before they begin any demolition process. Permits can be obtained at City Hall, 114 Public Square. Fees for residential permits are being waived through March 8.
Rome has an ordinance on the books that requires building contractors to register with the city during times of emergency or disaster. Rome-Floyd Building Inspection Director Howard Gibson said contractors are required to display their certificate, issued by the city, either in their place of business or in a vehicle used by the business.