Hailstorms hammered several Texas communities in the past week, causing extensive damage and leaving much to clean up in the aftermath. Hail can severely damage residential and commercial roofs, along with windshields, sideview mirrors and bodies of vehicles. Some regions reported tennis ball-sized hail in the latest storm, significantly increasing the possibility of extensive damage.
After severe weather, it is important to be diligent and watch for scammers, often referred to as storm chasers, looking to take advantage of areas recently impacted by severe weather. Although not all storm chasers are scammers, they may lack the proper licensing for your area, offer quick fixes, or make big promises they can’t deliver. Often found soliciting services door to door, they make offers but disappear after accepting payment. Avoid hiring any contractor who uses high-pressure sales tactics, such as “today only” offers, or demands full payment upfront.
On the heels of this latest hailstorm and in preparation for future storms this spring season, BBB offers the following advice:
• Find out if you’re covered. Your insurance policy may cover hail damage. Call your insurance company immediately to report the damage and discuss how to proceed with repairs. Make sure you understand how your insurance company will reimburse your repair costs. Take photos or video of damage.
• Do your research. After an insurance adjuster has surveyed your hail damage, you will need to find a reputable company to make repairs. Check with BBB.org to find a trustworthy business, such as roofing contractors or auto body shops.
• Get several bids. Don’t pay large fees upfront or pay in cash. BBB recommends consumers solicit bids from at least three different companies. All bids should be in writing and should provide a full description of the services to be provided.
• Ask for a timeline. Find out how long the repair will take. If damage was heavy in your area, it may take longer to schedule the repairs. Make sure to ask whether the company offers rental vehicles or have a plan to obtain a rental vehicle for the duration of the repair.
• Get everything in writing. Be sure all work is explained in the contract, including cleanup, waste disposal, start and completion dates. Any verbal agreements made should be included in the contract.
BBB recommends businesses develop and implement contingency plans that go beyond response and recovery. These plans should be designed to help support your business through a lengthy period of recovery and reduced operations. Aspects that business owners should consider are: securing a temporary location, managing employee availability due to possible damages and working with the appropriate agencies to rebuild and/or repair.
For more information about planning, preparing, responding, and recovering from a natural disaster, visit BBB.org.
Learn more about how to identify and protect yourself from storm chasers at BBB.org/Storm.
ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, the Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2020, people turned to BBB more than 220 million times for BBB Business Profiles on 6.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at BBB.org. There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico.