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Watch out for Hurricane Irene scams, insurance problems

Here's some things to keep in mind while everyone is still clearing up after Hurricane Irene:

From the Maryland Insurance Commission: if you were forced to evacuate and left without important medical equipment like eyeglasses or prescriptions, emergency regulations have been activated that require insurance providers to waive time restrictions on refils. These regulations will apply while the State of Emergency is still in effect.

This also applies to dentures.

The Attorney General's office sent out a warning to homeowners and others who might need the services of contractors, roofers, tree trimmers or others due to storm damage. Definitely restrict your search to companies registered with the Maryland Home Improvement Commission and those who have a Maryland business license.

You should also avoid those who use high-pressure tactics, insisting you pay upfront or make an immediate decision. There are often salesmen roving neighborhoods after a disaster of any size, but remember you should treat more pressing problems like any other: get multiple bids and get a contract for the work.

The AG recommends that you include in any contract:

"all of the work that the contractor has agreed to perform, the dates the work will begin and is expected to be completed, the total cost of the work, the type and quality of materials to be used, how and when payments will be made, and the provisions of warranties on the materials and labor."


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