People need to do their homework before they hire contractors to fix their flood-damaged homes, says an Alberta cabinet minister.

Cathy Huth told CBC News the contractor her insurance company sent to rebuild her basement was charging more than twice another contractor's rate.

"I got a verbal quote of $8,800 to $9,000 just to do the cleaning and the bio-spray — which to me seemed quite high. And that's when I started looking at other companies," she said.

Huth then found another contractor quoting half as much.


High River flood victim Cathy Huth says the first quote she was given for repairs to her basement was double what a subsequent company asked for. (CBC)

Service Alberta Minister Manmeet Bhullar said even if a contractor is sent by the insurance company, homeowners should check with other contractors, only give small deposits, and get all the information in writing.

"Just because someone else may think that a contractor is perfectly up to snuff doesn't necessarily mean it'll be the same for you. So you got to do your own due-diligence," he said.

Huth said she is worried other flood victims might just opt to get the work done without checking to see if the prices are inflated.

Her insurer TD Meloche Monnex did not grant a request for an interview.

Rob White, president of the contractor Rainbow International, says they followed the industry practice of quoting a higher amount.

"The only safe way to give an estimate upfront is to try to go a little higher, because you don't want to come back on a customer and say, 'Oh, we underestimated how long it would take to dry,' because we really don't know," he said.