It’s that dreaded sound again.
It’s spring, the clouds have rolled in, and you sneak a peek out of the window to see what seems like golf balls falling from the sky. Hmm, not golf balls. Hail!
Hail and other storm damage are some of the most common insurance claims in the U.S. Since they are so common, many roofing companies try to take advantage of the situation – and sometimes in unethical ways. As you are navigating your home insurance claim due to hail and storm damage, be on the lookout for these four common roofing scams.
After a big storm, most homeowners are worried and impatient, which makes them easy prey for roofing scammers. One of the most common roofing scams is roofers that follow storm events to find damaged roofs – “storm chasers”. Typically, they will travel door-to-door in impacted communities and offer to repair or replace roofs – whether they are damaged at all or not!
Now you may be thinking, “why does it matter? I just got my roof fixed for a huge discount or even free!”.
A word of caution – the work done by storm chasers is often poor. While it may look like a win-win situation, your new roof from a storm chaser is typically repaired quickly and at the lowest cost possible before they leave town. The lifetime of your roof may be half that of a well-constructed roof, leaving you with a mess to still clean up in the future.
How do I avoid this? Don’t rush the process. It may be enticing to accept the work of someone that shows up right after the storm, but be sure to take your time and call your insurance provider to see if they have any recommendations for roofers in your area. If you suspect you’re dealing with a storm chaser, you can check the status of the roofer’s license and check the Better Business Bureau for any business complaints or issues.
Oh, can it be? That’s a great price!
Hold your horses – that roof estimate might be a little too good to be true.
Some construction or roofing companies will offer an incredibly low price for the estimate to repair or replace the roof. However, once work begins, the price just goes up and up from there. While there is some fluctuation in building costs, you shouldn’t see a major change in price for materials in the middle of your build.
How do I avoid this? Do your research and if you have time, get multiple bids for the project. Discuss the pricing schemes with the companies and how the costs will be broken down. Be sure to converse with your contractor prior to the project to make sure all potential issues are discussed and they have a plan of action for each of them.
The sun is shining, your roof looks great even after the storm last week, and life is good. Then, one day, a roofer knocks on your door claiming your roof is a real mess. “How have you not noticed it?”, they reply. They might point out some vague damage and offer to take a closer look. You may start to worry – maybe I did miss something?
Some shady roofers have been known to find mystery damage to a roof even though it is in great condition. Do not trust these roofers with repairing or replacing your roof.
How do I avoid this? While it may seem nice that someone took the time to stop by and address a concern with your roof, don’t trust their “good” intentions. If you think there may be an issue, get a second opinion on the damage. Never ever let a stranger on your roof or sign a contract to get a roofing estimate. Never sign a contract to receive an estimate of the damage.
There are a couple of different ways roofers can attempt to commit insurance fraud. For one, they may submit two separate invoices: a lower-cost version to you, the homeowner, and a much higher one to the insurance company.
This is fraud and can be prosecuted, which is not something you want to be involved with either. They might also claim they’ll get enough money back from over-billing the insurance company to reimburse your deductible.
How do I avoid this? Review their proposal and estimate carefully. If a contractor offers to pay your insurance deductible or offers other questionable incentives, be aware that these could be fraudulent.
How do I find the right roofer for me?
Like with any industry, there are good and bad businesses in roofing and construction. If you are concerned about what company to choose, be sure to consult your insurance company on their recommendations. With claims like these being the most common, they should have plenty of experience with different companies in your area.
At G&G Independent Insurance, our promise is to always keep your best interest in mind. That is why we thoroughly interview the roofing companies we recommend. We also coordinate with both the client and the roofer to ensure a quality roof repair and smooth claims process. If you would like us to recommend a roofing company or file a claim, please contact us!