Rebuilding After a Disaster

Top Tips for Californians

  1. Remember, the Law is on Your Side
    There are many consumer-protection laws designed to protect your rights and well-being as a consumer. Ask about legitimate loan programs, health/family/shelter services, tax waivers, and construction assistance.

  2. Don't Fall for a Phony
    Always verify who people say they are -- whether it's a public insurance adjuster, government official, water tester, licensed contractor, or a legitimate charity. For every generous volunteer who offers their help, there will be a scammer trying to take advantage of you at this vulnerable time. Say "thank you" to the volunteer and "hasta la vista" to the scam artist. Call DCA to check that their professional license is valid at 1-800-952-5210.

  3. The 10% Rule
    In a declared emergency, you cannot be charged more than 10% above the normal price for services, hotels, supplies, etc. Also, only a 10% deposit is legally required for a construction/rebuild job.

  4. Get Everything in Writing
    Legitimate professionals and businesses will give a contract to sign. No contract, no business.

  5. Trust Your Instincts
    If you feel pressured to agree to a verbal promise and it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

  6. Report Fraud
    If you think you have been a victim of fraud contact your local law enforcement or district attorney.

  7. Protect Your Identity
    Protect your identity and personal information. You will have to request and provide a great deal of personal information during the recovery effort. Visit Office of Privacy Protection for resources to protect your privacy.

  8. Save Documents
    Keep all of your disaster related documents (receipts, claims, photos) together and if possible, make copies and store them in a safe place through the end of the rebuilding phase.

  9. Take Care of Your Emotional Needs
    Take time to learn how to cope with stress after the disaster. We all have different needs and it is important to take care of your physical and emotional well-being.

  10. Don't be Afraid to Ask Questions
    Know that its ok to ask for help after a disaster. Recovery and rebuilding efforts can be overwhelming-there are many people who want to and will help make the process a little easier.