Storm chasers are roofing contractors who go to neighborhoods recently impacted by bad weather like storms or wind. In many instances, these contractors travel from out of state to an area affected by storms and begin to canvas neighborhoods and solicit work door to door. They then use what they know about homeowners insurance to estimate the cost of a new roof. In most cases, they will start by offering a free roof inspection.
It’s best to avoid these storm chasers because the work is typically quick, cheap, and poorly done. If you do come into contact with a contractor after a storm, it is important to keep in mind the dos and dont’s for policyholders.
- Have policyholder file own claim (Don’t allow the contractor to file)
- Ask for and check references (including local suppliers and older references), Better Business Bureau, and Federal Trade Commission
- Verify licensing and Workers’ Compensation Liability Insurance
- Discuss warranty information; especially if the contractor is not local
- Get multiple quotes
- Ask what quality of materials they will be using
- Ask how contractors plan to address clean-up
- Be cautious before allowing anyone on your roof (especially if no claim has been filed yet)
- Think before signing documents (Example: Assignment of Benefits document transfers Claims rights and benefits to a third party)
- Request a written contract that specifies the scope, cost, and timeline
- Be fooled by a “neighbor’s roof is damaged” claim
- Let a contractor insist on receiving a large deposit to “get in line”
- Work with a contractor if they offer to absorb the policy deductible
- Be fooled by the “upsell” on warranties, rebating, discounting, etc.
- Forget to discuss protecting gutters and landscaping
Some more red flags to lookout for are:
- The contractor “just happened” to notice damage on your roof from the ground
- The company “randomly” knocks on your door stating they have extra shingles offering a “good deal”
- If they offer to reuse old flashings to save on deductible
- “Free” upgrades
- Providing an unsubstantiated or inflated estimate