At the time of an insured loss, it’s wise to take the time to select the correct vendor to repair the damages.
Although most insurance carriers maintain the position that the customer has the right to choose a vendor to handle repairs after a loss, they also offer a vendor referral program.
Participating in the insurance carrier’s vendor referral program offers several benefits to the insured, including:
1) The security of knowing the contractor is screened by the company for
a) Financial solvency
b) Proper liability insurance
c) Current state license
2) The repair work is generally guaranteed by the insurance company
3) Ease of doing business
a) Preferred vendors are familiar with the loss procedures of the insurance company
b) Generally billing issues are handled directly between the insurance carrier and the vendor
If you select someone other than a preferred vendor of the insurance company to handle your repairs, there are a few steps you can take to protect yourself. Please be sure to carefully check out the credentials of the contractor before authorizing them to work on your home, auto, or business:
1) Check with state licensing agencies: http://www.cslb.ca.gov/Consumer
2) Check the Better Business Bureau: http://sandiego.bbb.org/
3) Review Angie’s list or other customer-based sources of feedback http://www.angieslist.com/angieslist
4) Ask for a referral list of prior customers they did repair work for
Also, be leery of contractors that show up unannounced at the loss location. Take time to make an informed decision about who you want to complete the repairs. Do not let the contractor pressure you into signing a contract prematurely. When it comes time to sign a contract make sure you read and understand the fine print, and stick to the following guidelines:
1) If you are not sure about contract definitions or general verbiage, ask for help interpreting the document.
2) Don’t agree to sign a document that you’re not comfortable with.
3) If possible, have the insurance company adjuster review the repair contract prior to signing.
By taking a little extra care in the beginning to select the proper vendor, you can save both time and money.