Insurance Group Claims Investments About us

Protect yourself from contractor fraud

Major weather events that damage homes, personal property, businesses, and vehicles are becoming more frequent in Canada. If you need to file a claim after a weather event, we will help you understand your claim, and provide you with a list of our preferred vendors. Here’s what you can expect when working with our preferred vendors.

In times of crisis, it may be more difficult to access our preferred vendors and you may choose to look for a contractor elsewhere. Unfortunately, unscrupulous people sometimes pose as reputable contractors to take advantage of people when they are vulnerable. We want to help you protect yourselves from these people.

If you hire your own contractor outside our preferred network, here’s some important advice that can help protect you from contractor fraud:

  • Know your rights when hiring a contractor. Be sure to check your provincial government’s consumer protection site.

  • Avoid cash payments and ensure workers’ compensation insurance is in place. If a contractor suggests you pay cash or is unable to provide proof of workers’ compensation insurance, these are warning signs they may not be reputable. Paying cash will make it much harder to go back to the contractor later to resolve issues. If they cannot provide proof of workers’ compensation coverage, you could be held personally liable for injuries.

  • Be wary if your contractor suggests trying to claim for unrelated repairs. If the contractor suggests adding ‘extra’ repairs that aren’t related to the claim, you should consider another vendor. This is another sign that the contractor may not be reputable.

  • Always ask for and contact references. Contact the references to ensure they are actual customers.

  • Look for these things in your contract before signing. Don’t sign anything until you have a detailed contract to review, and once you do, look for these things:
    • Confirm the business name and contact information is on the contract. Ensure the full name of the person you are dealing with is on the contract. Ask for government-issued ID to verify their identity

    • Do some basic research on the company using the internet or social media

    • Compare the contract to your estimate, and make sure the scope of work is detailed and similar to the original estimate

    • Make sure the vendor’s GST/HST and business license numbers are on the contract, and confirm they are registered with the Better Business Bureau. You can confirm GST and HST numbers on Revenue Canada’s website

  • Document the process.
    • Take pictures before, during, and after repairs are complete to document that the work is done properly and matches the work agreed to in your contract

    • If your contractor hires sub-trades to complete some of the work, be sure to run the same checks on them that you did on your contractor. If you get vague answers, or they can’t produce documentation, tell your contractor you don’t want to work with them

    • Confirm any necessary building permits have been obtained and are posted appropriately

  • Never pay for the full job upfront.
    • Agree to a payment schedule, and track payments and change orders carefully

    • Set a reasonable upfront deposit

    • Arrange to pay for materials only after they arrive on site

    • Agree to a ‘hold back’ payment, usually a percentage of the total estimate, that will be your final payment only after you have inspected the work on completion and are satisfied

We are always available if you need assistance throughout the repair process. There may be occasions where additional unforeseen damage is discovered; have your contractor contact your Claims Representative and we will respond to additional amounts owing under the policy.

If you suspect you have been the victim of a scam or fraud, be sure to report it.