Houston tornado: Things storm damage victims should know before hiring a contractor

Catastrophic weather events bring out the best in Houstonians, because we want to help each other.

SHEER DESTRUCTION: Deer Park/Pasadena tornado preliminarily rated as EF3

But tornadoes and hurricanes also blow unscrupulous contractors into town looking to benefit from other people's misery.

When your house is in pieces, the first thing you want is an immediate fix. But take your time and ask questions before signing anything.

"Look for a local company, look at the Google reviews. We live and die by those today and Better Business Bureau reviews," said Shane Kohn, owner of Image Roofing.

Be leery of contractors knocking on your door or working out of a van as a local company with a brick-and-mortar office is the best.

"When the storm is over, and everything is done, and you have a problem, those companies will not come back and help you," Kohn said. "And you want to make sure they have insurance, they have coverage, you can even ask for a copy of the certificate to verify or call their agents. So you can make sure you have a legitimate company.

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Here's your to-do list in order:

- Take photos

- Inventory the damage 

- File a claim

- Make temporary repairs, keep receipts

- Ask about living expenses

- And check, check, and triple check who you are doing business with.

"The city of Deer Park is requiring all contractors to get registered with the city," said Mark McGuire, contractor with AO1 Roofing. "We are already registered with the city, but they're requiring an additional step to be registered for this storm."

A lot of folks are in the same predicament, so be patient to get those repairs taken care of.