Storm victims tackle insurance 'red tape'

Some residents in the Chestnut Ridge community in south Fulton County have started the cleanup process following a powerful tornado which tore through their neighborhood on Monday, while others are anxiously waiting for their insurance company adjuster to arrive before getting quotes and repairs.

RELATED: Cleanup after powerful storms tear through Georgia

Homeowners met Thursday with specialists to help them in the recovery effort. They provided tips on the process.

First, homeowners will want read their insurance policy and go through it with a fine-toothed-comb, especially before paying for any temporary living and cleanup expenses. 

"Some people have been totally displaced and they don't know they may have a clause in the policy that the insurance company put them up in a similar-sized space," said CAP Services contractor Rick Joyner, who offered an informational session to local residents at the South Fulton Library's Palmetto branch about questions for their insurance. 

Other suggestions include surveying damage alongside adjustor and reviewing what they did or did not write down. 

Homeowners will also want to make sure to select contractors recommended through your insurance and the Better Business Bureau, and checking their backgrounds and appropriate state licenses.

"As far these contractors, they're coming from every direction," said Taniko Madison, who is also awaiting for adjusters to arrive at her property and inundated by people offering services. 

Other recommendations to protect homeowners while selecting a contractor include: 

  • Get at least 3 quotes for repairs. 
  • Never sign or pay for anything before notifying your insurance company. 
  • Invite prospective contractors to speak with your adjustor to discuss quotes and repairs. 
  • Keep all receipts, contracts, and correspondence. 
  • Never pay the full amount of repairs to a contractor, and the BBB advises to never pay a down payment above 30 percent; always pay the down payment with a credit card to protect yourself. 

RELATED: Community comes together to help tornado victims