Officials urge caution when rebuilding after flood

JACKSON, Tenn. — Just as West Tennessee begins to dry out from drenching rains and in some cases damaging flood waters, a warning. As you begin making repairs, officials said make sure you don’t fall victim to schemming repairmen.

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Rebuilding after a flood is stressful enough but officials said you could cause more damage to your home and your wallet, if you’re not careful.

After last weeks floods, dozens of homes were damaged and owners were left with no choice but to re-build.

“We’ve seen many roof leaks with all the heavy rain,” Trevor Wood with Paul Davis Restoration said. “Then there were a lot with water coming in under the houses from outside.”

In some homes, waters reached a few feet deep, destroying furniture, carpets and everything in between.

“Basically anything that flood water touches needs to be torn out of the home,” Wood said. “It needs to be really cleaned to kill all the micro organisms and all the bacteria that float around in flood waters.”

But before any of that happens, state officials said you need be cautious so you don’t get taken advantage of.

“A natural disaster or a flood or anything along those lines always brings out the good and it brings out the bad in people,” Kevin Walters with the Tennessee Dept. Insurance & Commerce said.

The first step, contacting your insurance company to file a claim. Then find a contractor to come do the work. But that’s the step officials said you need to be most careful.

“You can be taken advantage of by scammers,” Walter said. “Your money will go out the door with a scammer instead of home improvements.”

In Tennessee, contractors must be licensed so be sure to ask for proof before signing any type of contract.

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“You have to make sure everything is on the table, you need total transparency,” Walters said. “So the likelihood of you being taken advantage of will be reduced.”

Some other helpful tips when doing any type of work on your home officials said to always get more than one estimate and never pay in cash especially if the total amount of work hasn’t been finished.

If you’re unsure the contractor you’re working with is licensed or feel that you may be the victim of a scam visit Verify.Tn.Gov or call the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance at 1-800-544-7693.

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