STATEHOUSE – State Rep. Bob Morris (R – Ft. Wayne) authored a consumer protection bill that will stop “storm chasers,” those who come into the state after storms and take advantage of vulnerable homeowners.
“Many homeowners after being devastated by a violent storm are quick to sign up with contactors to repair their homes. They assume they will be covered by insurance, only too quickly find that they are not covered,” said Rep. Morris. “This bill provides a window for homeowners to get out of a contract that they will not be able to afford.”
House Bill 1237 gives homeowners three days to cancel a contract after receiving written notice from their insurance company that part of the claim or contract is not a covered loss; and prohibits a contractor from offering to pay or rebate any portion of an insurance deductible.
Additionally, contractors must have a prior business relationship with the homeowner, have a physical presence or be registered to do business in Indiana. This will create a “paper trail” that will help consumers who may have legal recourse against a contractor.
These flyâ€źbyâ€źnight companies come to Indiana after storms and tell homeowners that they will agree to pay their insurance deductible if the homeowner will sign a contract with them that day. Unsuspecting homeowners have no time to contact their insurance company and they have no idea what if anything their insurance will cover. Many times, the homeowner ends up being on the hook for the entire contract.
“This bill will make it harder for ‘storm chasers’ to take advantage of situations and will protect homeowners,” said Rep. Morris.
This bill has been signed by Governor Daniels and will be effective on July 1st.