Hail season: Montana insurance commissioner warns of fraudulent contractors

By: Hailey Monaco

BILLINGS — It’s that time of year, when hot temperatures during the day bring hail in the evening, and people are pulling cars into garages and taking shelter. Hail season is here and with that, comes the possible fraudulent storm chasers.

Montana Insurance Commissioner Troy Downing warns of the things homeowners should look out for when being approached by contractors to fix damage.

“Whenever there’s a tragedy, there are unfortunately bad actors that will sometimes take advantage of that and come in and start soliciting business,” Downing said on Wednesday.

Last month, some flood victims had to deal with contractors coming to them, taking their money, and not doing the work they promised. Now that hail is threatening homes, Downing says you should never give money upfront or sign a contract without properly vetting the potential contractor.

“It really is unfortunate that there are those that would take advantage of people in such dire straits, you know, people that have suffered such loses,” Downing said.

Downing also recommends documenting all damage with photos before cleaning or starting repairs, and contacting your insurance company immediately to get the claims process started.

Storm chasers typically come from out of state. If a contractor is not verified to do business in Montana, that is another red flag.

“The last thing you want to do is pay some money upfront, not be able to get that back, and not have that contractor show up or have them do sub-par work,” said Downing.



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