A storm brings heavy rain, strong winds, and storm chasing roofers. These are scam artists who travel around the areas affected by a storm offering to repair or replace a damaged roof.
Most homeowners are scared by the aftermath of a storm. Especially if they have noticed any signs of damage to their property. But no matter how desperate you get to fix these damages immediately, don’t fall into the trap of storm chasers.
They’ll come knocking on your door offering free inspections or low-cost repair and leave you with a poorly constructed roof. In some cases, storm chasers will take the deposit money and leave as soon as they get a chance.
It’s crucial that you understand how to spot a storm chaser who is looking to exploit you. Below are a few telltale signs to look out for:
1. High-Pressure Sales Tactics
Storm chasers try to persistently pressure you into getting your roof fixed. They might try to entice you with limited-time offers or scare you by lying about the scope of your roof damage.
You’ll also get pressured into signing some agreements that’ll allow them to inspect your roof. If you end up signing these documents, you won’t be able to back out as they’ll threaten you with legal action. Some of them might even force you to sign an AOB or Assignment of Benefits, enabling them to file an insurance claim and make repair decisions on your behalf.
2. No License or Certification
Don’t hesitate to ask for a license and documentation prior to signing any kind of contract even if they claim to represent your insurance company. Storm chasers usually don’t have any licenses, insurance, or certifications. Hence, it is a great way to check whether the company/person is trustworthy or not.
For example, you can ask for a workman’s compensation and liability insurance. The former covers the workers from injuries if they get hurt while working on your roof and the latter covers property damage. A reputable roofing company will have both these documents.
3. No Online Presence
In today’s day and age, every small business has some kind of online presence. Ask them if they have a website or a social media presence. Do proper research about the company and read their reviews on website’s like Angie’s List, Home Advisor, Better Business Bureau (BBB), or Yelp.
4. Out-Of-State License Plate
It is very risky to hire a roofer who isn’t locally based as most storm chasers come from another state. You can check their license plates to see which state they belong to or look for rental stickers and out-of-state tags on their vehicles.
These contractors are likely here for a short period of time to get some business. They won’t stick around to rectify any issues that might arise down the line. And since they’ll always stay on a move, you won’t be able to track them down.
5. Claim to Cover Your Deductible
Storm chasing roofers will offer to reimburse your insurance deductible to get work from you. This is illegal as contractors cannot pay, waive, or rebate all or any part of an insurance deductible for repairs of the property covered by an insurance policy.
As a homeowner, this might look like a tempting offer, but remember if you agree you would be committing insurance fraud.
Protect Yourself – Hire a Reputable Roofing Company
You’d be surprised to know how many people fall victim to storm chasing roofers every year. If you find yourself in a similar situation, try contacting your insurance company. The fraudster might even stop you from doing so by saying “you don’t have that much time, the damage will get worse”. They’ll tell you to pay the entire money upfront and assure you that the money will be reimbursed by the insurance company.
These are red flags you need to avoid when hiring a roofing company. Your best bet in such a situation would be to contact a local reputable roofing company. We’ll offer you proper inspections, exact cost estimates, and genuine repair and replacement services.