When you’re in the middle of a water damage crisis, does it matter whether the professional you hire is licensed and insured? It may not seem like it in the moment, but it is vitally important. Yes, flooding, water damage, and mold are stressful and time-sensitive things. But that doesn’t mean you should take shortcuts!
Okay, we’ve established that a water restoration professional needs to be licensed and insured. But why? That’s the question we’re here to answer.
Choosing a water restoration company
Water damage comes with a thousand potential problems. Depending on how extensive your case is, you could encounter:
- Mold (plus allergy and respiratory problems if the mold is allowed to grow)
- Contaminated water that could make you sick if you try to take care of it yourself
- Flooring, drywall, and insulation that need to be replaced
- Sections of your home that must be rebuilt.
Choosing the right water restoration company goes beyond finding one that can tackle your specific problem. A professional will get your water restoration job done right. Professionals know exactly what to look for and how to handle it (and they also know how to keep safe while doing so).
However, if a company or individual is not both licensed and insured, it doesn’t matter whether they are good at what they do or not. If you hire someone without proper qualifications, you may end up with more of a mess than you started with. And we’re not talking about a water mess, here. It would be more of a legal mess.
Why does a professional need a license?
To operate as a water restoration professional, the law requires a license in most areas. Check to make sure the restoration company you plan to hire is certified to operate in your state and county. Rest assured, if they hold a legal license in your area, they have most likely been well trained to handle and troubleshoot any problem.
There are guidelines for everything from construction to mold eradication, and if a professional is not licensed, don’t trust that he’ll operate by those rules. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) sets these guidelines for contractors and restoration companies. A company must be licensed to complete the entire job – from inspection to restoration to electrical to plumbing.
Be careful in researching the company you plan to hire. Some individuals may be certified to legally fix water issues but not mold. Be sure the company can accomplish all aspects of the job. If you can get a company that is licensed for both, you won’t have to waste time hiring two different companies. When you call the company, ask them straight out if they have the proper licenses and certificates.
Why does a professional need insurance?
Insurance is arguably the most important element here. A professional could get injured while working on your house. Or your home could be damaged because of a mistake on the professional’s part. In either case, you’ll be glad you hired a company with insurance coverage. If any of a number of things go wrong and the company or individual is not insured, the claim will probably be filed on your home owner’s insurance. Paying for other people’s problems is a pain in the neck! Avoid it by hiring a company that’s insured.
If a company is certified by the IICRC, then they already have insurance coverage as part of their certification. If you hire a company that is not licensed by the IICRC, make sure they can show proof of insurance coverage. Don’t hesitate to ask the question “do you have insurance?” right on the phone.
How to check a company’s qualifications
To check on a company’s qualifications, go to their “About” page. They should list their certifications there, but if you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to call them. Do they state specifically that they are certified to clean upholstery? If not, call them and ask.
As a general rule, look for the acronym “IICRC.” If you see it, chances are the company is legitimate and is dedicated to serving its clients with legal and safety guidelines in mind.
Lastly, just because your insurance adjuster says to use a certain company doesn’t mean you have to. At the very least, go check the company’s qualifications before agreeing to anything. You, as the homeowner, get to choose which company you hire.
Water restoration the right way
Being certain that the company you hire will do a good job and complete it legally will take a lot of the stress off your shoulders. Don’t take shortcuts when it comes to hiring a water restoration professional. Can’t get ahold of the pros right away? Here are some tips to help you out.