Several different storm-chasing companies and “public adjusters” have reps knocking on doors in our area in Lake & Porter counties -- offering to help residents get new roofs for free. As the old adage goes; "NOTHING IS FREE!!"
Call your insurance advisor FIRST about this, please do not sign any paperwork with the contractor that CAME TO YOUR DOOR OR CALLED YOU! Your insurance company cannot get you out of the paperwork you signed. If a contractor is coming to you then more than likely it is a scam or you will not get good work completed. Remember: a reputable company won’t drop by to do work that you haven’t requested. You make the first step: you call the reputable company of YOUR choice, and you schedule an appointment for someone you know and have researched to do the job.
They will lie to you and say it will not be a surchargeable claim and your homeowner’s insurance will not go up. These things are not true.
If you truly think you have roof damage, then you should call a reputable LOCAL roofer that is well known in the area and have your roof looked at by them. If someone comes to your door to say you have roof damage; there is a high probability they are a contractor that does not have current work and more than likely will not be around for you if there is a problem with their work.
Below are some things you should realize and know to recognize Storm Chasers and what to do.
The storm chasers asks the homeowners if they wanted a new roof. Then, they ask about the size of the homeowner’s insurance deductible. They guaranteed the homeowners that insurance would pay for the new roof. Finally, they ask the homeowners to sign some papers.
If it sounds too good to be true…
For many people — especially anxious homeowners whose roofs have been damaged, or homeowners who were convinced that their roofs were compromised by the recent storm — the idea of getting a brand new roof for free is appealing. A problem is solved, no (or very little) cash changes hands and you have a new roof. Everybody wins, right?
Wrong. As Mike LaFollette of Angie’s List writes:
Storm chasers know how the insurance companies work, and based on the square footage of the roof, they can figure out how much it will cost to put on a cheap new roof. The homeowner gets burned because the storm chaser only does the bare minimum to replace the roof, but doesn’t address any other problems, or restore the roof to its original condition…The storm chasers have no incentive to produce high quality work, and there’s really no way for them to be held accountable because they will be gone by the time a problem arises.
When confronted by a storm chaser who insists that your roof is damaged and can be fixed on the cheap, you need to stand your ground. Do you want to do some homework to see if the company is reputable (a history of positive online reviews, an updated website, licenses and certifications are up to date, available if future repairs are needed)? Of course you do. Do not give the storm chaser any of your information or sign any papers.
A few things that homeowners should be considering when the chasers come calling:
- Can these contractors be trusted? Why? Because they seem so nice? Or because you’ve done real research? Make sure it’s the latter.
- Are they qualified to do the job? Are these roofers licensed and certified? How long has this company been in business? Are there references you can check?
- Will I be getting a quality product? What kind of materials do these roofers use? How much roofing experience does the contractor and crew have?
- Will this work carry a warranty? And will the company be around if you do have issues? Who do you call if you have a problem after you accept this new roof?
Don’t be pressured. Don’t sign anything.
Many storm chasers use high-pressure sales tactics to get you to sign agreements or let them onto your roof to perform an “inspection” — some homeowners have even suggested that there wasn’t roof damage before the storm chasers “examined” their roof.
Remember: a reputable company won’t drop by to do work that you haven’t requested.You make the first step: you call the reputable company, and you schedule an appointment.
Please call your agent first and do not sign anything with the company that came looking for you. Your agent will help you and advise you what to do to see if you truly have damage. Your agent will offer guidance so you do not get scammed.