Restoration Fraud If insurance is paying for contractors to fix damage to your home, be aware of restoration fraud. A vendor may overbill for the job under the assumption that your insurance company will pay the full amount. Recognize signs of potential fraud and never pay up front. Renovation is big business nowadays. And with big business comes a greater potential for fraud. According to the Canadian Home Builders' Association some of the steps you can take to prevent fraud include the following:Get everything in writing – a written contact gives you peace of mind.Hire professional contractors. Check their references, their past work and if they haveWorkers' Compensation coverage.Do your homework – take control and understand the key steps in reconstruction.Don't make an underground deal – a cash payment may seem easier, but it can also put you at risk.1On the Job: What to Watch ForOnce you have confirmed a contractor and work is about to start, be an active project manager. Things you should be on alert for before, during and after your renovation project include:A request from the contractor to pay the full value of the quote up frontExtra work at any point in the project that was not included in the original priceNecessary building permits not being issued or not being posted for significant construction projectsAny "unforeseen problems" that arise (could these have been anticipated?).Page SourcesCoalition Against Insurance Fraud – Agent and Insurer ScamsHouselogic.com – 5 Top Contracting ScamsSources 1Canadian Home Builders' Association – Advice from Homeowners Related ServicesInflating ClaimsInflating or exaggerating the extent of an insurance claim is a crime. Insurance crime increases insurers’ claims costs and, ultimately, costs everyone in the form of higher premiums.Identity TheftIf your personal information is stolen, criminals can use it in elaborate schemes, including insurance fraud. Learn how to safeguard your identity. Useful LinksBuying Home InsuranceAs a homeowner, you need to insure your house for replacement costs so that in the event of serious damage or destruction you have adequate coverage. Be sure to keep your home insurance current by reporting material changes or upgrades.Home Inventory ApplicationA current inventory of your belongings makes it easier to file a claim. Keeping your records off-site is wise in case a fire or flood damages your property. Consider updating your home inventory each spring and advise your insurer of any major purchases.