Resource center opens for Sevier County residents

PIGEON FORGE (WATE) – The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance will be opening a resource center Thursday.

At the Community Resource Center, there will be insurance carries with mobile emergency teams, help from the Tennessee Department of Labor with unemployment filing and more. There will be supplies to help residents.

“The damage created by the wildfires was heartbreaking,” said TDCI Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak. “In an effort to help consumers begin rebuilding and restoring their lives, we worked with Pigeon Forge officials to open the Community Resource Center. We’re thankful for all our local partners who have shown such inspiring courage this week in the face of tragedy.”

The center will be open from Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The center’s address is 149 Cates Lane.

Related: Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge fire information

The agency created a list of reminders for homeowners:

  • If your home has been damaged or destroyed by fire, call your insurance company or agent with your policy number and other relevant information as soon as possible. Cooperate fully with the insurance company, and ask what documents, forms and data you will need.
  • Take photographs/video of the damage. Make an inventory of the items that have been lost.
  • Make the repairs necessary to prevent further damage to your property (i.e., cover

broken windows, leaking roofs and damaged walls).

  • Do not have permanent repairs made until your insurance company has inspected the property and you have reached an agreement on the cost of repairs.
  • Save all receipts, including those from the temporary repairs covered by your insurance policy.
  • If your home is damaged to the extent that you cannot live there, ask your insurance company if you have coverage for additional living expenses incurred while repairs are being made. Save all receipts to document these costs.
  • If you have a dispute with your insurer about the amount or terms of the claim settlement, you can contact TDCI for assistance. Click hereto visit our website.

Hiring Contractors:

  • To protect yourself, only hire licensed contractors. Visit verify.tn.gov to ensure that a contractor is properly licensed to work in the State of Tennessee. Different types of work or work with a higher cost may require different licensure.

Before you hire a contractor:

  • Make sure the contractor is properly licensed. Write down the license number and verify that it is legitimate by visiting http://verify.tn.gov.
  • Get several bids. It’s best to get at least three bids and check references.
  • Get a written contract that includes the company’s name, address, and telephone number. The contract should also include an anticipated start and completion date.
  • Never pay more than one-third down and do not let the payments get ahead of the work.
  • Make sure the contractor is insured to cover workers’ compensation, damage and general liability insurance.
  • When hiring a contractor, avoid:

o   A person going door-to-door selling their services.

o   A person who offers services for a short time only, which makes consumers feel rushed and unable to research the contractor.

o   Unmarked trucks or vans, or a refusal or reluctance to set out complete and specific contract terms in writing.

o   Being pressured to pay for more than half of the cost upfront.

To file a complaint about a contractor with the Board for Licensing Contractors, visit http://tn.gov/commerce/article/cont-file-a-complaint or call 800-544-7693.

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