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Tis the Season for Thunderstorms and Roofing Storm Chasers

Be aware of those who claim to be a roofing contractor who are actually trying to scam you with claims of roof damage.

Just in 2023 alone, there were more than 25,000 reports of severe weather involving tornadoes, wind, or hail. The aftermath of a severe storm can be a time of grief and stress for you as a homeowner, but for roofing storm chasers, it seen as an opportunity. Many will travel around to affected locations, claim you have roof damage, promise repairs at inflated costs, and then do few, if any, repairs. So, how can you differentiate storm scammers from legitimate inspectors? Learn to identify contractor fraud and protect yourself from falling victim to a homeowners insurance scam.

How to Spot Roofing Storm Chasers

After a storm hits your area, typically, homeowners will receive calls or a knock on their door by someone who claims they are a roofing contractor. The scammer will claim that you have roof damage, promise to perform repairs, and pressure you to sign a contract. They will often offer to inspect your roof, but this could also be part of the scam, as once up there, they could create even more damage to your home.

  • Be wary of storm scammers pretending to be your insurance company or someone sent by your insurance company. Your insurance company will alert you before a contractor or adjuster is sent, and this is only in the event of a claim filed.

  • mediocre work, using sub-par materials, price gouging, and a request for advance or upfront payment for work that is never completed are all tell-tale signs of a scam.

How to Avoid Insurance Scams After a Storm

Call Your Agent

If you think your home has been damaged, your first call should be to your insurance agent to talk about filing a homeowners claim. Your insurer will send out an adjuster to inspect and assess the damage. and then you can get quotes from local, reputable roofing companies. Your adjuster’s scope of damage can help determine if a contractor’s estimate is reasonable and they may be able to make a contractor recommendation.

Be the First to Make Contact

Be wary of anyone showing up at your home or calling unexpectedly. If a contractor appears out of the blue, don’t sign anything or make any kind of payments. The roof repair process should begin only after you have made the initial call to your insurance agent or company.

Do Your Research

Checking a contractor’s background and reviews is important. Avoid storm scammers by checking a contractor’s track record through your local Better Business Bureau, Home Builders Association, or even your insurance claims adjuster. A reputable contractor will be licensed and bonded, and will be able to provide you with proof of local permits as well as certificates of General Liability and Workers Compensation insurance.

Get More Than One Estimate

Be sure to ask if there’s a charge for getting a estimate, as honest contractors will usually provide estimates for free. Reputable contractors should never be pushy or demanding toward their prospects or clients. You should never feel pressured to make a decision on the spot and getting multiple estimates is an encouraged part of the process. If a contractor is aggressive in trying to secure a contract with you right away, that’s a red flag. Get at least two written estimates and compare them carefully to ensure you’re not being price gouged.

Get It in Writing

Not only should you get the cost estimate in writing, but get all other details of your contract. Make sure it specifies the cost, time schedule, payment schedule, guarantees, and any other expectations. Never leave any portion of the contract blank! If you don’t understand something within the contract, ask for an explanation and always keep a copy of the contract for yourself so you can refer back to it as repair work on your home progresses.