A violent storm causes incredible amounts of damage to both residential and commercial roofs. In the aftermath of a hail storm or hurricane, beware of disreputable “storm chasing” contractors who quickly populate a neighborhood to take advantage of home and business owners.
With improper repairs and expensive “quick fixes,” roofing storm chasers work out of a vehicle, rather than an office, and travel into a hard-hit areas.
The warning signs
Typically, a storm chaser will arrive in a particular neighborhood and go door to door, looking for damaged properties to offer their services. They may boast of an ability to offer you a path to avoid paying an insurance deductible (an illegal practice), or offer you a “free roof.”
Unfortunately, these offers are too good to be true. Many roofing storm chasers start roof repair projects only to leave the homeowner stranded when they move on to the next storm or hurricane affected area.
Better Business Bureau Complaints
Roofing storm chasers blemish the industry by causing customer complaints. Roofing contractors lead the 2010 Better Business Bureau inquiries by industry with over 3.6 million people checking on the integrity of their roofing contractors before making the decision of who to hire.
As an industry, roofing contractors ranked 16th in complaints, with only half of them settled.
Unfortunately, unlike many other states, Florida does not have any specific legislation to protect home or business owners from roofing storm chasers. The best way to protect yourself from a roofing storm chaser scam is to research, stay informed and call a trusted local contractor first.
How to Know if You Are Dealing With a Storm Chaser
How do you know if you are dealing with a storm chaser – or just a local roofer? Here are a few key tips to help you identify who you are dealing with:
Check the license plate of the vehicle that the contractor is driving. Is it an out of state license plate? If it is not, avoid doing business with the contractor. Any potential installation or repair errors will be nearly impossible to If so, chances are they are not local contractors and won’t be there for you if there’s a problem after the work is finished.
If they are from out of the area, how far away are they located? Workmanship warranties only work if the workmen are available to do the follow-up care.
Ask for proof of current licensing. Make sure that any roofing contractor you engage has been currently and properly licensed. Also require that they have current insurance. Ask to see their license, as well as certificates of workman’s compensation and liability insurance. This protects you should a mishap happen during the roofing process. If they don’t have workman’s compensation or liability insurance, you could be liable for worker’s injuries.
Research the roofing company with online review sites such as the Better Business Bureau and Angie’s List. How long have they been in business? Do they have local references from before the storm hit? Have they done work in your area before?
Ask local lumber yards and building supply vendors if they done business with these contractors. Have they paid for their materials up front? Are they current on any billing?
It’s Best to Turn Down a Storm Chaser Who:
- Arrives on your property and tries to pressure you into signing immediately.
- They use high pressure sales tactics and won’t take no for an answer.
- They guarantee that insurance will cover all of the costs, offer a free roof or waived deductible before the claim has been submitted to the insurance company.
- You cannot find the company listed in the phone book or any information online.
- Asks for a down payment upfront to “purchase materials”
For quality roof repair in Tampa Bay, Florida, always make the choice to do work with a roofing contractor who has been certified by roofing material manufacturers, such as GAF. This certification proves that the roofing company has been trained to the manufacturer’s specifications for the best installation of their products, ensuring that the roof will last.
Protect yourself from roofing storm chasers by choosing Imperial Roofing Contractor to help repair your storm or hurricane damaged roof.
Originally published: Sept. 24, 2013
Information updated: July 16, 2015