Tips for storm damage victims

The Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota is offering guidance to Minnesota and North Dakota residents dealing with property or tree damage in the wake of this summer's storms.

Though most contractors and tree trimmers have your best interests in mind and want to help, there are those few that are only interested in helping themselves. To avoid those bad actors, the BBB provides the following tips to homeowners who have incurred damage:

• Get references from friends and relatives and contact the Better Business Bureau to obtain free Business Reviews on any company you are considering hiring. Visit or call toll-free at 1-800-646-6222. Shop around and get more than one estimate.

• Contact your insurance company immediately to inquire about policy coverage and specific filing requirements. This gets the ball rolling on the claim process.

• All companies and individuals that provide tree care or tree trimming services and/or who remove trees, limbs, branches, brush or shrubs for hire must register with the state of Minnesota's Tree Care Registry. This includes public, private and governmental entities.


• Document the damage to your property (and autos); take pictures or video if possible.

Do not make any permanent repairs until you get approval from your insurance company. Your insurer might not fully reimburse you for permanent repairs made without their authorization.

• Make any minor repairs to limit further damage to the home. You may be liable for damage that occurs after the storm has passed, so make temporary repairs, such as boarding up broken windows or throwing a tarp over a leaky roof. Be sure to save all of your receipts.

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