What Homeowners Need to Know About Hail Storms and Roofing Scams

Homeowners throughout the United States are learning that hail storms often bring roofing scam artists out of the woodwork. They'll learn this when they find a brochure hanging on their doorknob referencing a recent hail storm and claiming the home's roof may have sustained serious damage. Crooked roofers will show up unannounced to offer help with getting the insurance company to pay for a new roof.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau reported that in the past several years these scams have more than tripled following hail storms. Some companies may employ dishonest tactics such as not telling a homeowner that he or she has to pay a deductible upfront to get the work done, or that they will lose their insurance discount and will have to pay higher premiums.  This can also be true of companies that are not soliciting, but are contacted by the homeowner instead.

Here are some important tips:

  • If there was a hail storm, it usually takes hail about the size of a golf ball to cause serious damage to a roof.
  • Be wary of companies using door-to-door solicitation.
  • If a sales pitch starts with how homeowners are usually unaware of roof damage, avoid the contractor.
  • Do not work with contractors or companies that use high-pressure sales tactics.
  • Since hail usually damages roofs that are pitched in the direction of its fall, not all angles of the roof may be damaged after a storm.
  • If there is no hail damage to vehicles or shrubbery, roof damage is very unlikely.
  • Since unscrupulous people may use tools to cause damage to a roof, do not allow door-to-door solicitors to inspect the roof.
  • Do not sign contracts up front.

After a hail storm, never rush into signing a contract. Call several roofing companies for written estimates, and ask for business cards. When a company emphasizes that homeowners can be compensated by their insurer for an entire roof, never do business with that company. Always ask an insurance agent for their recommendations on reputable roofing companies. If there is severe damage that requires temporary repairs, keep the receipts for all supplies or services. Research a roofing company's reputation online or contact the Better Business Bureau before signing a contract, and ask for references before putting down a deposit.

Legitimate roofing companies should be willing to provide the following:

  • Local verifiable references for previous work
  • Their business license, roofing credentials and proof of insurance for liability and worker's compensation
  • Their written labor warranties and written manufacturer warranties

To learn more about hail damage and roofing scams, discuss your concerns with an agent.

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