Your roof can suffer a great deal or damage when a big storm hits and your roof takes storm damage. Typically, this storm damage is covered by your homeowner’s insurance, which means you are more likely to take action to repair or replace your roof. “Storm Chasers” are fraudulent roofing contractors that know about the increased likelihood of roof repair in areas affected by large storms, and can rip off homeowners with poorly constructed roofing projects. Knowing how to identify these storm chasers can help you avoid falling for their corrupt tactics.
What is a storm chaser?
Roofing contractors who go to areas recently affected by storm damage, rain, hail or strong wind are called storm chasers. They use special programs to locate large storms and determine the value of affected homes. These roofing contractors have immense knowledge about insurance companies they use their knowledge to estimate the cost of a new roof. Local and reputable roofing companies are most likely overwhelmed and overbooked, and the “Storm Chasers” use that to their advantage and go door to door to notify residents that they have roofing services available. Typically, they will start by offering a free roof inspection.
Why are they unreliable?
Most storm chasers only do the bare minimum to replace a damaged roof. They will find the cheapest materials to quickly assemble a new roof, often leaving out important elements that a professional roofing company would take in consideration, and they fail to restore things back to their original condition. The roofs that are installed by them usually only have a lifespan of fewer than 10 years because they are installed using cheap material, whereas a professional roofing company using high-quality materials and techniques would leave you with a roof lasting 40 years with warranties to back up their install. Professional roofing companies have the certifications and licensing while storm chasers usually do not have the proper licensing or insurance to work on roofs.
In some cases, storm chasers do not replace the roof at all. Instead, they give a free inspection, quote a reasonable price and ask for upfront payment. Once they are paid, they move on to the next town without any intention of working on the roof.
What tactics do storm chasers use?
If you want to avoid being scammed by storm chasers do your research before handing over any money. Make sure that the contractors you hire to replace your roof or fix the storm damage have a reliable background and pay close attention to the approach they use. There are a few telltale signs that a contractor is a storm chaser.
1-They come directly to your home
The most obvious tell-tale sign for storm chaser is that they come directly to your door, Roofing companies don’t go out looking for work, especially after a big storm, they know that work would be coming to them as people will try to find reliable roofers in Albany to deal with their insurance agency and get the best repair or replacement possible. Storm chasers, on the other hand, move around to wherever the storms go, they cannot rely on the chances that people in need of roof repair will find them. Sometimes storm chasers go so far as to pretend they were sent by a company that previously worked on your roof. If this happens, ask for proof.
2-They want payment upfront.
No roofing company will ask for payment upfront before starting the job, When you pay storm chasers upfront, even if it is just a deposit, it is likely that it will be the last time you ever see them.
3-They offer to pay for the deductible.
How nice would it be to have your insurance deductible waived? Storm chasers think so, too. If a roofing contractor offers to pay for your deductible, they are probably a storm chaser. It is considered insurance fraud to allow a contractor to pay the deductible. If you let a roofing company pay your deductible, you will be the one responsible for committing the illegal act. Make sure you are familiar with your insurance policy and the laws regarding fraud to prevent yourself from falling into this trap.
4-They create damage that was not there before.
Because they are usually familiar with the insurance claim process, storm chasers sometimes create their own damage if the real damage is not sufficient. They may use golf balls, hammers or other hard, heavy objects to pound dents into your roof. Watch and listen carefully as contractors inspect your roof and have a camera or cell phone ready to catch them in the act if you are suspicious. Adding fake damage for the purpose of collecting insurance money can have serious consequences.
Educate yourself and your neighbors about the common signs of storm chasers to avoid being the victim of a roofing scheme. Check the Better Business Bureau if you are unsure of the legitimacy of a roofing contractor. This will tell you if the business is local and if complaints have been filed against it.
Infinite Roofing and Construction is proud to boast an A+ rating on the BBB. We are a local, trusted roofing company in Albany with over 20 years of experience. Getting a new roof is an expensive endeavor, so make sure you are getting it done right the first time by a company you can trust.