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Improving Your Home: Homeowners upset over 'fire truck chasers'

Insurance restoration requires a lot of specialized equipment and chemicals, and the proper training to know how to use them safely and effectively.
By Paul Bianchina Published: March 8, 2014
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There are plenty of “fire truck chasers” out there — the restoration equivalent of ambulance chasers in the legal profession — and personally I would suggest that your friend stay away from companies that resort to those types of business practices. On the flip side of that, the large national insurance companies often have deals cut with the large national restoration companies, and unfortunately that's beginning to squeeze out many of the good, smaller independent restoration contractors.

These national chains are typically represented by locally owned franchises, and while in my experience they usually do a good job, you have to be aware that if anything goes wrong, you may be dealing with a large, faceless national corporation at some point.

Hopefully your friend has a good relationship with his or her homeowner’s insurance agent. I would suggest asking the agent for a list of names of reputable restoration contractors that the agent can personally recommend to do the work; interview at least two of them; ask for references, check their licenses and so on; and then go from there.

Have a home repair or remodeling question for Paul? He can be reached by email at improvingyourhome@ykwc.net.