Strong storms went through the area recently and we will probably see a few more. Some storms cause a lot of damage and some not so much. When the storms do cause damage, the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota offers these tips when it comes to making repairs and cleaning up.

  • First, contact your insurance company immediately for the policy coverage and filing requirements.
  • Document, by pictures or video, the damage to all your property.
  • Don't make permanent repairs until your insurance company has given approval. It is OK to make minor repairs to limit further damage. Be sure to keep all receipts.
  • Get multiple estimates. Ask for references from friends and relatives and contact BBB for a business review at bbb.org or (800) 464-6222.
  • Restoration companies may list bids on their contract to do service work on your property, some may not to base pricing on insurance allowance.
  • Ask all companies for proof of liability, workers compensation insurance and license to work in your state.
  • Contractors are responsible for obtaining permits.
  • A written contract should specify the work to be done, materials used, and the labor and material prices breakdown.
  • Read the contract before signing it. Avoid signing an "estimate" or "authorization" form before hiring a contractor. Pay close attention to any details that are in bold, underlined or that would need your initial.
  • Contractor's name, address, license number and phone number should appear on invoices and contracts.
  • Verbal promises should be in the contract and that includes warranties on materials or labor.
  • Do not pay in advance or in cash.
  • Review the contract before signing or making a payment. The documents should specify the schedule for releasing payments to the contractor. Ask for a start and end date.
  • Only file a claim with the insurance company if you plan on fixing the problem or there could be repercussions.
  • If there is a mortgage, the company may have an interest in the the repairs. Insurance checks may go to both consumer and the mortgage company, requiring both signatures.
  • Request details and copies of all warranty information. Be clear who guarantees what. Manufacturer's warranty products and contracts warranty service.

"The mission of BBB is to be the leader in building marketplace trust by promoting, through self-regulation, the highest standards of business ethics and conduct, and to instill confidence in responsible businesses through programs of education and action that inform, assist and protect the general public."