A storm has damaged your roof and now you’re facing an urgent situation. Immediate repairs are needed to fix split seams, missing or broken roofing materials, damaged flashing, holes, or leaks. The urgent need for roof repair increases your vulnerability to storm chasers. These are unscrupulous roofing contractors looking to make a quick buck off homeowner’s roofing problems in the wake of severe weather incidents.
Learn what a roof storm chaser is and why you would want to avoid them for your roof repair.
What is a Storm Chaser?
Storm chasers are predatory contractors who wait for severe weather conditions to hit before jumping into action. They round up a crew and travel to different areas hit by bad weather in hopes of performing as many quick-fixes as possible. Their ultimate goal is to take advantage of homeowners because they know insurance companies will easily pay for roof repairs in those areas.
After a storm, these unscrupulous contractors often go door to door pitching their storm damage repair services. They start by convincing homeowners their roofs were compromised by the recent storm. They often use aggressive sales tactics and offer to repair the roof for an extremely low cost.
Storm chasers will encourage homeowners to make use of their home insurance. This tactic often works because storm damage can be extensive and costly to repair. What’s more, some storm chasers even offer to pay the homeowner’s deductible for the claim. Before long, a homeowner will be convinced they’re getting a great deal.
Why You Need to Avoid Storm Chasers
While their offers may seem tempting, allowing a storm chaser to fix your roof will end up costing more than you bargained for. Storm chasers know how insurance companies operate. They use this information to estimate how much material they will need for repairs and then offer a bargain price on “quality” products.
However, they will end up using the lowest quality products and cut corners by repairing the roof on the outside without addressing any other underlying problems or restoring the roof to its pre-storm condition. Critical parts like ventilation, insulation, and flashing will not be taken into account. It’s also common for these scammers to intentionally cause more damage to the roof in order to inflate an insurance claim.
Because the storm chasers roof repair is done shoddily, you’ll end up with a poorly constructed roof, which will fail sooner than expected. When this happens, the insurance company will have already paid for the repair work, so you’ll be left to deal with any future repairs or full replacement out of pocket. And the fraudulent contractor who was once so ready to help will have vanished without a trace by the time a problem arises.
In some cases, roof storm chasers will offer a free inspection, give a reasonable quote, and ask for upfront payment. Once the payment is made, they move to the next area without any intention of repairing the roof.
How to Recognize a Storm Chaser
Identifying a storm chaser before handing over any money is pivotal. Here are a few telltale signs you’re dealing with one:
They’re Not Local
Storm chasing companies usually work with out of town subcontractors. You’ll know they’re not local because they don’t have a license in your state, are not registered with the BBB, and don’t have a locally recognized name. But be careful because some storm chasers partner with local roofing companies to calm suspicions.
They’ll Knock On Your Door
The most obvious tell-tale sign of a storm chaser is they come directly to your home, especially after a big storm. They do this because they cannot rely on homeowners in need of roof repair to find them.
They Offer Lowball Bids
A storm chaser will try to entice you with a deal which sounds really good. Their offers are usually designed to get you to sign with them impulsively.
They Want You to Sign an AOB
Signing an AOB, or Assignment of Benefits, basically authorizes these fraudulent roofers to gain your insurance policy rights to recover repair costs.
They Want Payment Upfront
They often demand payment in advance. If they’re too pushy, it is a sign you should back away.
How to Avoid Storm Chasers When Hiring a Roofer
- Make the first step: A reputable roofing contractor won’t knock on your door if you haven’t requested their services. You are the one to call the roofer and schedule an appointment.
- Start building a relationship with a local roofer: Before you’re in need of emergency storm roof repairs, begin building a relationship with a reputable, local roofer. This will give you an idea of how they operate, how reliable they are, how they sort out issues, and the quality of their work.
- Make sure the roofer works with local crews: You want to avoid working with roofers who partner with out-of-state subcontractors. A local roofing contractor depends largely on having a good reputation, so they’ll hire qualified and experienced roofers.
Choose Local Roofers Not Fly-By-Night Scam Artists
Hiring a local roofer who is licensed to work in your area, especially after a storm, is the best option because they:
- Make only necessary repairs without taking advantage of you
- Use quality materials,
- Provide excellent workmanship
- Stand behind their work by offering valid warranties
Homeowners Should Also
- Verify the roofing company’s license and their insurance coverage. A reputable company will provide this information without hesitation. In Florida, you can check the status of licenses at The Dept of Business and Professional Regulation.
- Do an online search for reviews and the business’s status with the Better Business Bureau.
- Confirm the company is providing a valid warranty when the work is completed that covers both workmanship and materials issues.
If you need a roof inspection, repair, or replacement in Central Florida, check with Alan’s Roofing – a local roofing company you can trust. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.