Avoiding a natural disaster may be almost impossible, but you can take steps to avoid the fraudulent business practices that can occur following a disaster.

It's not uncommon for fraud to happen following a catastrophe. If someone comes to your door offering their services - such as cleaning up or repairing your damaged property - follow these suggestions from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) before entering into a business agreement:

  • Get multiple estimates for services and don't rush into any decisions.
  • Get all agreements in writing, including detailed information about cost, work to be done, schedule, guarantees and other concerns.
  • Don't hire someone without checking out their references first.
  • Confirm the service person's identity by recording his or her name and drivers' license and license plate number.
  • Never pay the full amount due in advance or sign a certificate of completion until the work is finished.
  • Never sign a contract with blanks. Dishonest contractors could enter information later that could cost you.

If you're approached about participating in an insurance fraud scam, remember that fraud is a felony and could result in a prison sentence. Insurance coverage may also be voided if it's discovered the policyholder has falsified the claim.

If you think you've been the victim of insurance fraud or have been asked to make up or falsify an insurance claim, contact your independent agent or QBE or call NICB at 800.TEL.NICB.