Division of Consumer Affairs reminds Tennesseans to play-it-safe after flooding

Thursday, July 11, 2013 | 03:53 pm
NASHVILLE – With recent heavy rainfall raging through Tennessee it’s important for residents to play-it-safe if flooding has occurred and to be wary of any individual claiming to offer home repair and flood repair services at discounted or greatly reduced rates. “Heavy rain and storms can bring more than just soggy basements,” says Consumer Affairs Director Gary Cordell. The Division of Consumer Affairs reminds Tennesseans that even though the waters have gone down, there may be additional dangers lurking around the corner. “Flooding can impact a home’s foundation, the electrical system, and floodwaters can also leave behind things that could make people sick. We can’t stress enough the importance of asking for help from reliable experts to keep your home and family safe.” 
 
Often with storms come individuals who misrepresent themselves or offer services that seem too good to be true. It’s important to verify the identification, license and claims of any contractor or official who comes to the front door. Tennesseans are encouraged to use http://verify.tn.gov to see whether a contractor has a valid license or use the Buyer Beware list. Additionally, Director Gary Cordell reminds Tennesseans that if any individual represents themselves as a government official it is best to contact the affiliated agency to ensure the authenticity of the visit. 
 
If your home has been flooded, check out the following “play-it-safe tips: 
  •  Before re-entering your home turn off the power and gas. 
  • Check your home for broken or leaking water pipes. If you find any, make sure to cut off the water supply by turning off the valve at your water meter. 
  • Weather permitting, open up the windows and get fresh air moving through your home.
  • Disinfect all items that touched floodwaters.
  • Read your home insurance policy carefully and contact your provider with any questions about what is covered and what is not. 
  • Assess the damage and decide whether you should call your insurance company to file an insurance claim. (Note: Frequently filing claims could affect your coverage.) 
  • If you choose to contact your insurer, locate a copy of your policy and read through it. 
  • Make a list of everything that is damaged, including structural damage and damage to personal property.
  • Take pictures, if possible, of all damage – inside and outside, from several angles – to get full documentation before any repairs are made.
  • Keep all receipts for cleanup and restoration expenses.
  • Create a flood response plan to help prepare for the future. 
  • Always consult http://verify.tn.gov and the Buyer Beware list at http://tn.gov/consumer/buyerbeware.shtml to make sure you’re working with a licensed and reliable contractor. 
For more information on choosing a reputable contractor visit the State of Tennessee Guidelines for Home Repair Contracting.
 
To file a complaint with Consumer Affairs click here http://tn.gov/consumer/complaint.shtml.
 
Consumer Affairs is a division of the Department of Commerce and Insurance, which works to protect consumers while ensuring fair competition for industries and professionals who do business in Tennessee. 
 
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