As the community recovers following a disaster, it will be a priority to help those who have lost their homes with the rebuilding process. County and city jurisdictions will have similar but separate processes for rebuilding. It will be important to follow the guidelines set by whichever jurisdiction you live it. These guidelines will be published following a disaster.

Better Business Bureau (BBB) Tips

As evacuees return to their homes and assess how to rebuild, unethical businesses may emerge to try and take advantage of those recovering.

The following BBB tips will help victims rebuild and recover:

1. Watch out for scams

Unfortunately, consumers in disaster-stricken areas often become the victims of scammers looking to make money off misfortune. Consider is a red flag if a worker shows up on your doorstep unannounced without identification, the contractor claims to be FEMA-certified, doesn’t have a permanent place of business, or asks for personal information like bank account or social security numbers.

2. Check with your insurance

As soon as you can, call your insurance provider and ask about policy coverage and specific filing requirements. Take pictures of the damage and save all receipts including for food, lodging or other expenses that may be covered under your policy.

3. Take your time

Don’t be pressured into making an immediate decision with long term impact. Don’t rush into decisions and don’t automatically hire the first contractor who comes along.

4. How to find a business

Visit to find a trustworthy contractor near you. A contractor’s BBB profile includes company information, a BBB rating, a complaint history, and reviews from past customers.

5. Make sure they’re licensed

You can verify that a contractor is licensed through the Contractors State License Board (CSLB). It is a felony to contract without a license in a declared disaster area.

6. Get it in writing

Make sure you get a written contract from anyone you hire. It should specify the work to be done, the materials to be used, and the price breakdown for both labor and materials.

7. Don’t pay in full before work starts

CSLB advises that you pay no more than ten percent down or $1,000 in advance and don’t be pressured to pay cash. Don’t’ let the payments get ahead of the work.

8. What to do if you have a problem

If you are having issues with your contractor and despite your best efforts they can’t be fixed, file a complaint with the BBB. It is also wise to file a complaint with the CSLB.