BBB gives homeowners tips for winter weather damage

Ice weighing on trees and powerlines across the Mid-South

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Better Business Bureau has offered a few tips to homeowners on how they can repair winter weather damages. As we know, the National Weather Servies issued a special weather alert to Memphis warning freezing temperatures for the next few days.

That means homeowners could face problems like falling limbs and frozen pipes, which can damage roofs, ceilings and floors, cars, fences, and more.

If your pipes freeze, here’s what the BBB says you should do:

  • Cut-off the water valve. If you are unable to locate or operate your cut-off valve, call your water provider immediately for help.
  • Call your insurance agent to file a claim. Be sure to ask for specific procedures or paperwork needed to move forward with repairs.
  • If possible, take photos of any water saturation. An insurance adjuster may need to see what’s been damaged in order to process your claim. Keep any receipts from emergency repairs for reimbursement.
  • As soon as the majority of water has been drained away, all wet items should be discarded or cleaned and thoroughly dried within 48 hours of flooding to prevent the growth of mold, according to the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
  • Water restoration companies can help remove water and set up equipment for drying areas that were saturated.

Here’s some advice from the BBB on hiring companies to repair damage from falling trees or burst pipes:

  • Be wary of companies who show up unsolicited at your door offering to make repairs. Most reputable businesses are too busy right now to solicit work in this manner.
  • Beware of price gouging. Some unethical businesses may increase prices due to the high demand for these types of services during the cold weather.
  • Take time to shop around, get competitive bids, and check references and licensing requirements. Helpful Hint – Do this ahead of time before disaster strikes. You can check a company’s rating and accreditation status and read their complaints and reviews on our website 24 hours a day at bbb.org.
  • Access lists of BBB Accredited Businesses in these industries here:
  • Request a written contract, detailing all services, materials, and labor. Be sure the contractor signs your copy before you make any payments.
  • Never pay for all repairs in advance and do not pay with cash. One-third upfront is customary.
  • Permits may be required for certain kinds of repairs. Consumers should check with their local Code Enforcement office to determine if a permit is needed for their repairs but the contractor should pull the permit for the repair.
  • Confirm insurance credentials. Ask to see proof that the contractor has both liability and workmen’s compensation insurance. If the contractor does not, you could be liable for any accidents on your property, including injury to the technician.

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