NASHVILLE, Tenn., Aug. 7 -- The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance issued the following news release:
In light of the rain that has caused severe flooding in parts of the state, the Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI) is providing tips to homeowners for interacting with insurance companies and selecting contractors.
* As soon as possible after an event affects your home, assess damage. Locate a copy of your home insurance policy and read through it. Weigh contacting your insurance carrier or your agent. (Note: Frequently filing claims could affect your coverage.)
* If you decide to contact your insurer, make a thorough inventory of all of the items missing from or damaged in your home for your adjuster.
* Take pictures, if possible, of all damage - inside and outside, from several angles - to get full documentation before any repairs are made.
* Secure and protect your property against further rain or other damage as much as possible without making permanent repairs, so that the adjuster can see and document the full extent of the damage,
* Keep receipts for expenses of protecting your property from further damage.
* Follow the claims-filing procedure set forth in your policy. If there is a dispute, follow the company's dispute process.
* Many larger companies have quick-response teams that come into areas of heavy damage to process large numbers of claims as quickly as possible. Others will not send someone out unless you call them. Call your company to be sure.
* Call TDCI with insurance issues at 800-342-4029 or the department's Consumer Affairs division hotline for non-insurance issues at 800-342-8385.
* Tennessee'sBoard for Licensing Contractors has found that unscrupulous, unlicensed contractors like to take advantage of homeowners anxious to rebuild after disasters. Be sure to hire only licensed contractors and check them out with the Board. Consumers may verify a license status by calling 800-544-7693, or may check TDCI's website for various trades at verify.tn.gov.
The Board for Licensing Contractors, a regulatory board within the department, features a consumer resources page on its website, http://1.usa.gov/mQF7s0. Again, the State encourages
Tennesseans to regularly visit and utilize verify.tn.gov, which is the license database for dozens of professions (including home contractors). Consumers can and should check the license status of any contractor they consider hiring, not just ones from out of state. They also can find the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance's list of problem contractors at http://1.usa.gov/p3ar2C. There is a monthly disciplinary actions report posted at http://1.usa.gov/oaY9Yo, as well.
The Contractors Board can be reached at 1-800-544-7693 or by e-mailing Contractors.Home-Improvement@TN.Gov. Both can be used to file complaints against a contractor.
Also be advised that the National Flood Insurance Plan is a federally administered program, operated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. For further information, visit FEMA.
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