Storm Damage Draws Scammers

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COLUMBIA - State Farm Insurance Company reports a total of 1,600 damage claims, to both homes and vehicles, after last week's hail storm. The company is now hosting a drive-in inspection facility for the next three weeks at Frank Fletcher Honda to offer damage assessments to policy holders.

The policy holder must contact an agent to schedule an appointment for inspection. All vehicles without an appointment will be inspected based on space availability. The Catastrophe Service Team looks at vehicles' exterior and internal damages before making estimates. Policy holders receive their payments on the spot if the vehicle is considered repairable.  

"We will make a payment at that time if the damages happen to exceed the value. We'll make a total loss offer at that time and the insurer can make a decision on whether or not they want to retain that vehicle," State Farm representative Brice Huddleston said. 

With the hail storm came scam artists who tried to cheat customers out of their money. 

Reports from the Better Business Bureau in the last week suggest that scam artists called "storm chasers" are contacting people claiming to be contractors. However, they have no real credentials. The BBB suggests that customers only seek out familiar companies for damage assessments.