Roofing storm chasers: they swoop into town after a significant storm, promising quick and affordable repairs to homeowners in need.
But are these storm chasers the solution they claim to be, or are they just taking advantage of vulnerable homeowners?
It’s a question that many people have asked, and in this article, we will explore the world of roofing storm chasers to uncover the truth behind their operations.
- What is a storm chaser?
- The Problem: When a Severe Storm or Hail Storm Happens, Time is Not on Your Side
- How Does Their Scam Work?
- Tips to Avoid Getting Scammed by Storm Roofers
- How to Spot a Roof Storm Chaser Scam?
- Should You Hire a Storm Chaser?
- Choose a Local Roofing Company
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is a storm chaser?
Storm chasers are individuals or companies in the roofing industry who target homeowners after a severe weather event, such as hail storms, tornados, hurricanes, heavy winds, or intense storms. They often go door-to-door, offering free roof inspections and promising to handle the insurance claims process.
Storm chasers use aggressive tactics to convince homeowners to sign contracts and pay for roof repairs. They often create a sense of urgency, emphasizing the need for immediate action to prevent further damage to the home.
Scamming homeowners is a common practice among storm chasers. They may demand upfront payment or offer low-quality materials. Some may even claim they are using extra materials left over from another job. Some storm chasers even disappear after receiving payment, leaving homeowners with incomplete or subpar repairs or no repairs; they took the money and ran.
The consequences for homeowners who fall victim to storm chasers can be severe. They may need more repairs, voided warranties, and additional expenses to fix the damage caused by the scam artists. Moreover, unethical storm chasers can prolong the insurance claims process, exacerbating the homeowner’s stress and financial burden.
The Problem: When a Severe Storm or Hail Storm Happens, Time is Not on Your Side
When your home’s roof is damaged, water can leak into the house. This water can lead to all sorts of damage, from mold growth to structural damage over time. So, there is a sense of urgency when it comes to a roof leak, but it usually depends on its size.
Because of a severe storm or natural disaster, it can mean loads of homes are affected. This also means the licensed, reputable roofing companies will be hectic and need help to handle all the roof repairs as quickly as they might want. This is why storm roofers typically follow severe storms because of the lack of sufficient roofers to do all these roof repairs.
How Does Their Scam Work?
Storm chasers employ a variety of tactics to scam homeowners needing roof repairs. First, they create a sense of urgency, emphasizing the need for immediate action to prevent further damage. This urgency often leads homeowners to make quick decisions without thoroughly researching the contractor.
Storm chasers may demand upfront payment, claiming it is necessary to secure materials and schedule repairs promptly. They may also use low-quality materials and charge you for higher-quality materials.
Once they receive payment, they may disappear without completing the repairs or leave homeowners with subpar work.
Tips to Avoid Getting Scammed by Storm Roofers
When a damaging storm hits and leaves your roof needing repair or replacement, it’s essential to be cautious of storm roofers. These questionable companies may seem like a quick and convenient solution, but they often engage in fraudulent practices and can leave you with poor workmanship. Here are five essential tips to keep in mind to help you avoid being scammed by a storm-chasing company.
1. Do your research: Before hiring any roofing company, whether local or storm chasers, take the time to research their reputation and credentials thoroughly. Look for online reviews, check their license, and seek recommendations from friends or family. Avoid making hasty decisions based on high-pressure sales tactics or unsolicited offers.
2. Verify insurance and licensing: Reputable roofers will have the necessary insurance coverage and licenses to operate in your area legally. Ask for proof of insurance and proper licensing to protect yourself from liability issues during the project.
3. Watch out for high-pressure tactics: Be cautious of storm chasers who use aggressive and high-pressure tactics to convince you to hire their services. These tactics often involve scare tactics and artificially inflated claims about the severity of storm damage.
4. Get multiple estimates: Seek multiple estimates from roofing contractors to compare pricing, materials, and services. This will give you a better idea of what is reasonable and help you identify any overly expensive or suspicious quotes.
5. Check the contractor’s payment terms: Quality roofing contractors typically have standard payment terms and schedules. Be wary of storm chasers who demand upfront payment or require payment in full before the work is completed. Reputable companies usually follow a reasonable payment schedule based on the project’s progress. Many roofing contractors also have financing available, and you may not be required to pay anything upfront.
How to Spot a Roof Storm Chaser Scam?
When severe weather strikes and your roof sustains damage, it’s essential to be proactive in finding a reputable roofing contractor to make the necessary repairs. But amidst the chaos and urgency, it’s crucial to be aware of storm chaser scams.
Storm chasers are unethical individuals who exploit homeowners during their vulnerable time of need. By knowing how to spot a roofing storm chaser scam, you can protect yourself and ensure you receive the quality repairs and service you deserve. Here are a few signs to look for:
They Contact You
One of the critical behaviors exhibited by storm chasers is their proactive approach to contacting potential victims. Storm roofers often target areas that have recently experienced severe weather events or massive storms. They reach out to homeowners through various means, including door-to-door visits, unsolicited phone calls, or even by approaching them directly outside their homes.
These aggressive tactics are considered red flags and should raise concerns for homeowners. It’s essential to be cautious when approached by storm chasers, as their primary goal is often to convince homeowners to sign contracts for immediate roof replacements or repairs.
The problem with these actions is that storm chasers may need to be legitimate roofing contractors. They might need the necessary licenses, certificates of insurance, or certifications required by your local building codes.
Engaging with them could result in subpar workmanship, incomplete repairs, or payment disputes. Homeowners should always verify credentials, ask for proof of insurance, and research the reputation of any roofing company before signing any agreements.
To avoid falling victim to roofing scams, homeowners should be cautious of storm chasers who contact them directly and exhibit pushy behaviors. It’s best to seek out reputable local roofers who have established themselves in the community and have a track record of delivering quality work.
They Want You to Pay Up Front
One standard red flag when dealing with storm chasers is their insistence that homeowners pay upfront before any work is done. This aggressive tactic is often used to pressure homeowners into making quick decisions. On the other hand, a reputable company typically does not require large upfront payments.
Paying upfront to storm chasers carries significant risks. There is no guarantee that the work will be completed satisfactorily or even done at all. These unscrupulous individuals may disappear once they have received the payment, leaving homeowners with little recourse.
They Want to Pay Your Insurance Deductible
Allowing storm chasers to pay your insurance deductible should raise a red flag for homeowners. While it may seem like a convenient offer to cover your deductible, it is a form of insurance fraud and can be illegal.
Insurance deductibles are the portion of a claim homeowners are responsible for paying out-of-pocket. By allowing storm chasers to pay your deductible, you are deceiving your insurance company by making them believe you have paid your share of the claim. This can lead to severe consequences, including policy cancellations and legal repercussions.
Reputable roofing contractors, on the other hand, understand the importance of following homeowners insurance company protocols. They work directly with homeowners’ insurance adjusters to handle claims professionally and ethically. They provide accurate estimates and necessary documentation to support the claim, ensuring a smooth and transparent process.
Working with reputable roofing contractors also offers homeowners the benefit of experienced professionals who understand the intricacies of the insurance industry. They can guide homeowners through the entire claims process, from initial inspection to final resolution, advocating for their best interests and ensuring fair compensation for the storm damage.
They Usually Come from Outside the State
One standard indicator that you may be dealing with a roofing storm chaser is out-of-state license plates on their vehicles, as they often travel in large groups from one storm-affected area to another. Additionally, their contact information may only include a P.O. Box address, making it difficult to track them down if issues arise.
To protect themselves from roofing scams, homeowners should exercise caution and thoroughly research any contractor before hiring them. Choosing reputable local companies with a proven track record is essential rather than relying on unknown contractors who may be operating under pretenses.
They Falsify the Damage During a “Free Roof Inspection”
Storm chasers are notorious for their deceptive tactics, particularly during their so-called “free inspections.” These inspections may seem like a helpful service, but in reality, storm chasers are using them as opportunities to falsify damage and inflate insurance payments potentially.
During these inspections, storm chasers will intentionally exaggerate the extent of roof damage or may even create false damage altogether. They may use tools to simulate hail hits or make small punctures to make it appear as if the roof is more severely damaged than it is. By doing so, they can convince homeowners that an expensive roof replacement is necessary, leading to higher insurance claims and payouts.
These tactics perpetuate insurance fraud and have detrimental effects on reputable roofing contractors. When homeowners fall for the scams of storm chasers, they unknowingly diminish the trust and credibility of established roofing companies. Reputable contractors strive to provide honest assessments and quality work, but the presence of fraudulent stormchasers undermines their reputation and threatens their livelihood.
To avoid becoming victims of these scams, homeowners should be cautious when dealing with storm chasers. It is essential to verify the credentials and reputation of any roofing contractor, insist on obtaining multiple opinions, and hire a trusted and local company with a proven track record. By doing so, homeowners can protect themselves from falling prey to falsified damage and support genuine professionals in the roofing industry.
They Want You to Sign an AOB
When dealing with storm chasers and their scams, one common tactic they employ is convincing property owners to sign an Assignment of Benefits (AOB) document. An AOB is a legal agreement allowing the roofing company to take control of the homeowner’s insurance claim and negotiate directly with the insurance company to collect insurance money.
While an AOB may seem convenient, it is crucial to exercise caution when asked to sign one. By signing an AOB, the property owner gives up their rights and control over the claims process. This means that the roofing company now has the power to make decisions regarding repairs and obtain insurance money directly.
Unfortunately, some fraudulent storm chasers will abuse this authority. They may overcharge for repairs, use subpar materials, or even file additional claims without the homeowner’s knowledge. In worst-case scenarios, they may disappear entirely after receiving the insurance payment, leaving the property owner with unfinished or poor-quality work.
Property owners should carefully read and understand the terms of an AOB before signing it to protect themselves. It is advisable to consult with their insurance company and seek advice from reputable contractors or legal professionals.
Should You Hire a Storm Chaser?
When faced with roof repairs after a storm, homeowners may consider hiring a storm chaser for their convenience and expertise. However, it is essential to carefully weigh the factors before making this decision.
One risk associated with hiring storm chasers is the use of cheap materials. These contractors may prioritize quick fixes over long-lasting solutions, resulting in subpar repairs that may not withstand future storms. Also, storm chasers often need more warranties on their work, leaving homeowners without recourse if problems arise later.
To protect themselves from scams and shoddy workmanship, homeowners should seek a reputable local roofing contractor. Researching local roofing companies with a strong track record can provide peace of mind and ensure quality repairs.
It is also advisable to thoroughly vet potential contractors by checking their licenses, insurance coverage, and references from past clients. Asking for a detailed contract with a payment schedule and scope of work can further protect homeowners from fraudulent practices.
While storm chasers may offer convenience during a stressful time, it is crucial to consider the potential risks carefully. By choosing a reputable roofer and taking the time to vet contractors, homeowners can ensure they receive high-quality repairs that will stand the test of time.
Choose a Local Roofing Company
Choosing a local roofing company is paramount when addressing storm damage and ensuring high-quality repairs. Local roofers offer numerous benefits that can make a significant difference in the outcome of your roofing project.
One key advantage of working with a local roofing company is their familiarity with the weather patterns in the area. Local contractors deeply understand the climate, including the frequency and severity of storms. This knowledge enables them to provide accurate repairs tailored to withstand your region’s specific weather conditions.
Another advantage of choosing a local contractor is their ability to return for additional repairs if necessary. Weather can be unpredictable; even the most well-executed repairs may require further attention. Local roofers are readily available and accessible, making it easier to address any issues.