Flooding and Other Disasters
Contractors or Cons?
Your home may be destroyed by a fire, flood, storm or other catastrophe. You're scrambling around to get you rife back in order and you may think that things couldn't get worse. Well, they can and often do because of people who can't spell contractor without c-o-n.
The period after a serious loss is hectic, emotional and disorienting. Your major concern is to get your home repaired or rebuilt. These elements make you very vulnerable to CONtractors—people who specialize in victimization instead of construction and in rip-offs rather than repairs.
Slow Down and Make Good Decisions
While you may be in a hurry to restore your loss, it is important to avoid persons who appear on your damaged doorstep offering to start construction. While handling a serious loss, think of taking precautions such as the following in order to avoid compounding your problems:
- Pay attention to any feelings you get about a contractor, particularly when they initiate contact
- Refuse to pay any money up front; a reputable contractor always works according to a written agreement, spelling out cost of materials, labor and other important work details
- Contact more than one contractor to get competitive estimates
- Make sure that any contractor you talk to provides references and proof that they are insured
- Check references and ask for evidence of how long the contractor has been in business
- If a local chapter is available, contact the Better Business Bureau and check for complaints
- Ignore tactics intended to pressure you into making an immediate financial commitment
- Keep in touch with an insurance professional, they're already committed to providing genuine help
Personal Emergency Preparedness Plan
If you pay attention to the headlines after natural disasters, you'll typically notice reports of persons stumbling around, seeking aid and at a loss for what to do. Often there is a little an individual can do to control a situation, but any level of planning is preferable to doing nothing. That is the simple philosophy behind the personal emergency preparedness plan (PEP) aka Family Disaster PLan.
Saving Water-Damaged Property
Salvage experts, property specialists and government agencies advise that quick action is critical when dealing with water-damaged property. Many types of personal property can be saved within 48 hours of being exposed to water.
When serious storms or hurricanes result in local or regional flooding, the impact on the car market may be felt nationally. Cars that may have been totaled because of serious water damage in one state may end up on the seller's block in another state. Sadly, due to unethical or criminal actions, there may be no mention that a vehicle was once waterlogged. A person looking at any used car must take steps to avoid buying a car that is nearly guaranteed to need serious repairs.
Disaster Recovery for Businesses
No business wants to face an event that could seriously curtail or even shut down operations. Unfortunately, few businesses have plans to deal with such a disaster. It is not unusual for a business to overlook creating disaster plans. Further, companies that do have disaster or continuity plans in place often fail to update their plans on a regular basis. Besides having an updated plan, it is also important to test plans.
Do You Need Flood Insurance?
Flooding causes billions of dollars of property damage in the United States each year, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). If you are like many homeowners, however, you may be unaware that your standard homeowners insurance policy does not cover flood losses. You may believe that you have a low risk to this peril, but a new model shows that 1 out of every 10 real estate parcels in the country have a 1 percent annual chance of flooding. This equates to a 1-in-4 chance of flooding over the course of a 30-year mortgage. So, do you really need a separate flood insurance policy? If any of the following apply, please contact an insurance agent to see if flood insurance makes sense for you.
Do you live in a community that participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)?
Are you in a high-risk flood zone? Go to the FEMA Floodmap Service Center to see where the high-risk zones (if any) are in your community. Or go to Flood Factor and enter your address. It ranks your property on a 1-to-10 scale, with a factor of 10 being at extremely high risk.
Is the replacement cost value of your home higher than $250,000? If so, you can be unprotected even with an NFIP flood insurance policy since its maximum limit of coverage is $250,000. So, you may need to pursue a private flood policy with higher limits.
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Ask us for a Canadian ID card. "A U.S. traveler in Canada is required to carry a motor vehicle liability card, plus vehicle ownership papers. A copy of the automobile policy is recommended to be carried. And a Canadian Non-Resident Inter-provincial Motor Vehicle Liability Card is strongly recommended. U.S. travelers who do not carry a Canadian Non-Resident Inter-provincial Motor Vehicle Liability Card and are stopped by Canadian police or are in an accident while driving in Canada risk being fined or having their vehicle impounded until proof of proper coverage is obtained."