As I drove home that night I did not know what to expect. Much of downtown Shawano looked like a tornado had hit it. Trees were down and street lights were out. What would I find as I drove down Lincoln street toward my home. Summer storms come and go. As we learned last August it didn’t take a tornado to cause mass amounts of property damage. Straight-line winds ripped through Shawano county and in some cases completely destroyed homes. Many folks on my street had a tree laying across their roof. For the next two weeks all you heard was chainsaws. We were lucky with only a few branches in our yard.
As an insurance agent I worked very hard the next few days helping Shawano residents with their Storm Damage claims. The instinct is to get things fixed right away. With most local contractors booked on jobs for the next few months people turned to any able bodied individual claiming to be a contractor. Many of these folks were from our immediate area: Green Bay, Wausau or the Fox Valley. This is often fine as their reputation will be on line so close to home. What you need to scrutinize are the contractors labeled: Storm Chasers.
With Wisconsin summer storms these Storm Chasers have been a problem. So much so that Wisconsin passed a law to protect consumers. They are aimed at targeting those nefarious “storm chasers” that will show up, assure you the claim will be covered and sometimes leave you with shoddy workmanship or a bill higher than they originally bided. Our suggestion if you have damage to your home and you are in this situation is to:
- Call your insurance agent to file your claim
- Make sure you research the contractor you choose
- Ask the contractor if they are insured (ask for a certificate of coverage)
- Call the agent on that certificate and make sure the coverage is “active”
- Protect your property from further damage
Remember, its only “stuff”. Stuff can be replaced so be safe. Stay calm and get your agent and insurance company on the case. We are here to help you.