3 Ways to Protect Yourself from Contractor Fraud
3 Ways to Protect Yourself from Contractor Fraud
Every day, homeowners make decisions that can affect the safety and security of their homes. One decision that should not be taken lightly is choosing a contractor to do work on your home. Sadly, contractor fraud is all too common and can leave homeowners with a lot of damage to repair—or even worse, no job done at all. So, what is contractor fraud, and how can you protect yourself from it? Read on for more information.
What is contractor fraud?
If you're a homeowner, you may have heard the term "contractor fraud" before, but what does it mean? Contractor fraud is when a general contractor convinces a homeowner to pay for work that was not authorized, needed, or agreed upon. Their fraudulent behavior can be costly to the homeowner and often causes major delays in the work being completed. If a claim is involved, it can also prolong the claim process, delaying reimbursement for covered losses.
How can I protect myself from contractor fraud?
The easiest way to protect yourself from contractor fraud is to use one of Slide's trusted partners. Slide has a robust network of mitigation resources that have been vetted for exceptional quality of work and customer service. They have an exclusive contract with Slide to take care of you and your home should you have damage that requires one of these services:
- Roof Tarping
- Roof Repair
- Roof Replacements
- Tree Removal
- Water Mitigation
A list of Slide's partners can be found on Slide's Claims Center. To receive services from one of our trusted partners, call (833) 854-3440.
If a Slide vetted contractor is not available for the services you need, here are some steps to protect yourself from fraudulent contractors.
1) Get Bids from Multiple Contractors
Getting bids from contractors can be a daunting task, yet it’s one of the easiest ways to detect fraud, as the cost of a fraudulent bid will stand out amongst the honest bids. There are a few things you can do to make the process go more smoothly.
First, it's important to have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish. Draw up plans or find pictures that illustrate your vision for the project. Next, put together a list of potential contractors. Ask friends, family, and neighbors for recommendations, and check online review sites like Google, Porch, Houzz, or Angi. Once you have a list of potential candidates, reach out and request bids. Be sure to provide as much information as possible about the scope of the project. Finally, take your time reviewing the bids and don't be afraid to ask questions.
With a little effort, you can find a qualified and honest contractor for your next home improvement or home repair project.
2) Confirm Your Contractor is Licensed and Insured
When choosing a contractor, it is imperative to confirm that they are licensed and insured. This protects you from liability in the event that something goes wrong during the project. To verify a contractor's license, you can contact your state's licensing board. Insurance can be more difficult to verify, but most reputable contractors will be able to provide proof of insurance upon request. If a contractor is unable or unwilling to provide this information, it is best to find someone else to do the job.
Taking these precautions can help ensure that your project is completed safely and without incident or fraud.
3) Obtain All Contractor Plans in Writing
A simple way to not only avoid fraud, but to also fully understand the scope of the project ahead, is to have your contractor lay out their plans in a written contract. This includes a detailed description of the work to be done, the materials that will be used, and the cost. The written agreement should also specify the timeline for the project and include a provision for unforeseen delays.
Note: It is crucial to refrain from signing contracts, forms, or any documents with language you do not fully understand.
Having everything in writing provides protection for both you and the contractor. It also helps to ensure that the project will be completed as agreed upon. While it may take some extra time to draw up a contract, it is always worth the effort to avoid any potential problems down the road.
Insurance and contractor fraud can be costly and devastating to homeowners. It’s important to be aware of the warning signs and take precautions to protect yourself.
The easiest way to protect yourself is to use one of Slide's pre-vetted contractors. If hiring a contractor independently, taking the precautions above can drastically decrease your chances of becoming the victim of insurance and/or contractor fraud, and hopefully avoid it completely.
If you believe you may have been a victim of contractor fraud, contact your local law enforcement agency immediately.