Montana's state auditor and insurance commissioner, Matt Rosendale, is warning property owners to be wary of out-of-state contractors hitting up the area for work following the Sunday hail storm.
Rosendale released Thursday steps to ensure damaged property is repaired properly:
Immediately take photos and thoroughly document all damage before beginning any cleanup or repairs.
Then, take steps to prevent further destruction of the property. Cover broken windows and holes in roofs, put tarps over places that could get more water or wind damage, etc.
Contact your insurance company and get the claims process started. Make sure you understand your deductible, what is and isn’t covered, and your responsibilities.
Don’t sign an agreement with a contractor until you’ve talked to your insurance agent or company representative.
Beware of high-pressure sales tactics and unsolicited offers from contractors. Don’t feel rushed to sign a repair contract. Get multiple bids and check references. Choose a contractor who will work with your insurance adjuster to assess damage and costs of repair.
Verify that the contractor you’re considering is registered to do business in Montana, has workers compensation insurance, liability insurance, and is bonded.
Get a written contract and never pay in full for work before it’s completed.
Maintain ownership of the process: don’t hand over Power of Attorney or responsibility for settling the insurance claim, don’t sign a contract that has blanks or isn’t thorough.
When dealing with damage to vehicles or trailers, work with reputable auto body shops and get multiple bids.
Contact Rosendale’s office with questions or concerns about insurance at 444-2040 or csimt.gov [links.govdelivery.com]
Contact the Montana Office of Consumer Protection with concerns about contractors at 444-4500 or dojmt.gov/consumer [links.govdelivery.com]
If you dodged impacts from the recent storms, take time to review your insurance policy, pay attention to your deductibles and other details, and make sure you have the coverage you want in case of future weather damage.