Car Repair Scams After Hurricanes

There are many unscrupulous individuals who would like to profit from one’s sufferance. After weather calamities, fraudsters known as “storm chasers” exploit the insurance companies and policyholders. In affected cities, like Houston, due to the extent of damage, insurers have had to recruit independent claims adjusters, some from out of state. This gives scammers an opportunity to sell themselves to unsuspecting policyholders. Find out more about protecting your investments from scams and get car insurance quote online free from our website.

# how-to-save-on-auto-insuranceFor example, “Storm-Chasers” take advantage of homeowners, or car salesmen selling flood damaged cars while not disclosing it. The fraudsters try to sell victims on phony repair deals, lemon cars, and they demand payment up front. After beginning shoddy repair, they will skip town before finishing the work. More than 1,400 people had been prosecuted for Hurricane Katrina-related fraud. A fraud task force that has expanded post-Katrina has referred more than 50,000 cases to law enforcement.

There are several things to do in order to avoid these scams:

  • Avoid large down payments. If a contractor asks for a down payment of more than 25% of the total cost, don’t agree to the deal. A reputable contractor won’t ask for more than 10% to 25% of the total cost. Don’t pay in cash. Take photos or make copies of checks and money orders for the down payment.
  • Verify the contractor’s address. Make sure they have an established business operation. Ask for references from previous customers. If you can, inspect the work that’s been done for these customers.
  • Check the materials. If possible, accompany your contractor to the building supply store. Have the materials delivered directly to the jobsite rather than the contractor’s shop.
  • Get a written contract. Have a signed, legible contract, and keep it in a safe place.

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