Cautionary Note: As with every disaster, a lot of contractors converge on the affected area. Unfortunately, some of these contractors are unscrupulous persons and prey upon storm victims. If you should engage a contractor to assist in your storm recovery, I offer the following advice:
1. Ensure the contractor can provide you with a valid Certificate of Florida Workers Compensation Insurance or a valid Certificate of Exemption.
2. If required by the contractor’s profession (builder, roofer, plumber, electrician, etc.) ensure they are licensed by the State of Florida – this can be checked online at www.MyFloridaLicense.com.
3. If the contractor asks you to assign your insurance benefits to them “Assignment of Benefits” clause in their contract, check with your attorney or insurance professional before signing. Personally, I would never enter into an “Assignment of Benefits” agreement with a contractor or sign an agreement which allows the contractor to sign your name or endorse any insurance benefit payment check on your behalf.
4. In my opinion, you should not provide a contractor with cash upfront.