prevent-fraud

Get more than one estimate when you need home repairs, especially after storm damage.

Whether you’re planning a much-anticipated remodeling project or facing repairs to fix damage from a storm, hiring a contractor can be a daunting and nerve-wracking task. While most contractors are trustworthy, some are guilty of taking advantage of vulnerable homeowners – especially when the repairs involve an insurance claim.

Insurance fraud is a crime that drives up insurance premiums for everyone. According to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, insurance fraud costs $80 billion a year across all lines of insurance. In property casualty insurance, some form of fraud occurs in about 10% of losses.

 

Preying on the vulnerable

Contractor fraud can happen anytime, but is most common after a natural disaster. Maybe your roof was damaged by hail or wind during a storm. Unscrupulous contractors follow storms around the country to prey on vulnerable homeowners. Many times, they solicit door-to-door and attempt to get victims to sign a contract. While getting repairs completed as quickly as possible is top of mind, it can result in letting your guard down and becoming a victim.

 

Tips to avoid contractor fraud

While your instincts may be to rush through the process of finding help to restore your property, taking the time to find the right contractor can save time, money and additional frustration in the long run.

Protect yourself from scams by considering these tips when someone offers their services:

 

See something, say something

Many insurance carriers will have information about reporting fraud listed on their website, such as Cincinnati Insurance’s Fraud Protection Center. If you believe you’ve been approached by an unlicensed contractor or claims adjuster or have been encouraged to falsify an insurance claim, contact your insurance carrier or agent or the National Insurance Crime Bureau, 800-TEL-NICB (800-835-6422) for assistance.

 

Resources

National Insurance Crime Bureau – Prevent Fraud and Theft

Coalition Against Insurance Fraud – About Fraud

Better Business Bureau – Hire a reliable and trustworthy contractor

 

This loss control information is advisory only. The author assumes no responsibility for management or control of loss control activities. Not all exposures are identified in this article.

 

The post How to protect yourself from fraud appeared first on The Cincinnati Insurance Companies blog.

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