Friday, February 25, 2011

What Steps Should I Take After Storm Damage?

POSTED: 2:42 pm CST February 25, 2011 UPDATED: 4:46 pm CST February 25, 2011 Channel 4 WSMV News Check TheConractors' Licenses Before Hiring Reporter Caroline Moses contributed to this story. NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Middle Tennessee and Kentucky residents woke up Friday morning to the aftermath of tornadoes, heavy rains and strong winds that slammed the region late Thursday night. The National Weather Service confirmed that two tornadoes hit Antioch and Wilson County. It's been said that storms "bring out the good in people." It's also been seen that some people try to make a buck. Storm victims told Channel 4 as early as 3 a.m. Thursday men offering deals on home repairs were already knocking on their doors. Friday was cleanup day for Shannon Spiller and most of her neighbors. Their homes were torn apart by fallen trees, leaving entire bedrooms exposed. “The roof fell in on my garage, and the door was all damaged,” said Spiller. Almost as soon as Spiller and her neighbor Rossie Dominguez woke up Friday, people were knocking at their doors offering to repair their roofs. “They come from, like, 3 in the morning to knock on the doors to maybe prepare the roofing and all this stuff. They come so early,” said Dominguez. “They just happened to be working on roofs in the neighborhood? It’s, like, yeah, right,” said Spiller. Dominguez said 10 different people stopped by her home, begging to make a deal in some cases. “They are saying they are going to do, like, more price lower from everybody, the agents and all that stuff,” said Dominguez. It's exactly why Councilwoman Vivian Wilhoite is walking the streets with a warning for her district. “There are folks out here looking to do work just to get paid,” said Wilhoite. “You may get stuck with a bill. You don’t want that.” Wilhoite said there is no way to stop these people from approaching victims after a disaster. But families do have the power to research certified contractors and make sure their insurance will cover the work. “It’s not very good to trust somebody just coming to your door,” said Spiller. As residents start the first steps accessing the damage their property suffered, there are steps they should take to protect themselves. First, victims should contact their insurance carrier or agent and find a copy of their policy and read it. They should make a thorough inventory of missing or damaged items for their adjuster. If possible, they should take pictures of damage both inside and outside from different angles to document before repairs are made. Property should be secured and protected against more rain or other damage as much as possible, without making permanent repairs. The adjuster needs to be able to see and document the extent of the damage. Keep receipts for purchases and expenses toward protecting property from more damage. The claims-filing procedure in a victim's policy should be followed. The company's dispute process should be followed if there is a dispute. Many large companies have quick-response teams that go into heavily damaged areas to quickly process a lot of claims. Other companies won't send anyone out until they're called. Victims should call their companies to be sure. Call the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance at 800-342-4029 with insurance issues or the department's Consumer Affairs division hotline at 800-342-8385 for noninsurance issues. Only licensed contractors should be hired. Go to or call 800-544-7693 to verify the Commerce and Insurance licenses of home improvement contractors and other professionals. To See Photos and Videos connected to this story Click Here

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