6 Tips to Avoid Roof Damage Insurance Scams
The roofing industry has a reputation of scamming homeowners. Unfortunately, storm damage and insurance claims bring out the worst scams.
Dealing with roof damage and insurance is stressful enough. The last thing you need to worry about is getting scammed on top of it.
Luckily, there are ways to avoid getting scammed. All you need to do is keep some tips in mind when door knockers come into your neighborhood after a storm.
For over 30 years, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has provided transparent information to help homeowners avoid roof damage insurance scams. Now, I’ll do the same for you.
This article covers the following 6 tips to avoid roof insurance scams:
- Make sure the roofing company is local
- Don’t panic
- Never let anyone on your roof without permission
- Don’t sign any paperwork before an inspection
- You have to pay your deductible
- Don’t go price shopping
1. Make sure the roofing company coming to your door is local
After a strong storm comes through, you’ll inevitably have door knockers coming to your door. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, there are storm-chasing companies that come from out-of-state.
This is when most roof damage insurance claim scams occur. These out-of-state companies undercut local roofing company prices, take your money, and go on to the next storm.
I guarantee they won’t adhere to local codes and most likely won’t properly install your roof. This makes ensuring the person knocking on your door is from a local roofing company one of the easiest ways to avoid roof damage insurance scams.
They must have a physical office in your area and a local area code before their phone number. You also need to make sure they’re licensed, bonded, and insured in your state.
These three pieces of paper protect you and ensure the job is done right per state laws. Ask for the appropriate paperwork to prove they’re licensed, bonded, and insured in your state.
If they’re missing even one, it puts you, your roof, and your wallet at risk. If a roofing contractor comes to your door and isn’t licensed, bonded, and insured in your state, don’t even think about hiring them for your roof damage claim.
2. Don’t panic when you hear your roof has storm damage
When you get a knock on your door after a storm, they’re most likely going to say you have storm damage and that you need a new roof. I know this puts you on the spot and is a stressful situation.
But the most important thing you can do in this situation is not panic. Once you panic, you’re setting yourself up to be scammed.
If your roof isn’t actively leaking or the damage isn’t severe, there’s no reason to panic right away. Should you still find a roofer to assess the damage and tarp off the damaged area? Absolutely.
But don’t let a roofer coming to your door scare you into jumping right into their pocket. Depending on your insurance policy, you usually have 1 year to file a claim.
This isn’t to say you need to wait that long. However, it means you have time to research and find a roofing company you trust.
3. Never let anyone on your roof without permission
This next scam doesn’t happen as often as others, but it still needs to be addressed. You should never let anyone on your roof without your explicit permission.
There are some people (I’m not even calling them companies) that go on roofs and do “inspections”. Even if your roof doesn’t have damage, they’ll tell you to file a claim, take the check, and do really shoddy work.
Even worse, they could get up there and manufacture damage to give the appearance of damage. This is fraud, and you’ll be on the hook because you’re the one that went through with filing a claim.
As I said, this isn’t as common as other scams, but it still happens enough that you need to be aware of it.
4. Don’t sign any paperwork before they get on your roof
When a door knocker comes to your door, they’re obviously trying to sell you something or make you aware of storm damage. While you can let them get on your roof for an inspection, DO NOT sign anything they put in front of you.
This paperwork may seem like it’s only for them to get on your roof for an inspection. But they don’t tell you that once you sign the paperwork, you’re giving them the rights to your roof.
This means you have to use this specific company for your roof replacement, and breaking the contract could have financial implications. Under no circumstances should you sign anything unless it’s the final contract with the roofing contractor you picked.
5. You have to pay your deductible
No matter what you hear, you must pay your deductible once your claim is approved. Trying to avoid this is one of the most common roof damage insurance scams.
Some roofing companies offer to pay deductibles, but this is illegal. I’ll say it one more time to get the point across, having a roofing company pay your deductible is illegal.
You and the roofing company are outright committing fraud if you do this. Unfortunately, some homeowners jump at the opportunity when they hear a roofing company is willing to pay their deductible.
This is asking for trouble, and you don't want to work with a roofer willing to do it. I understand it's tempting to save money when possible, especially with a high deductible.
But having a roofing company eat it for you is not worth committing fraud.
6. Don’t go price shopping when insurance is involved
Under normal circumstances, I recommend getting multiple quotes to ensure you find the right roofing contractor. But there's no reason to get quotes from different roofing companies when it comes to insurance.
Insurance companies determine the amount you get for your roof replacement, not the roofing contractor. Unfortunately, most roofing companies’ estimates end up being more than your insurance’s initial estimate.
If this happens, you can put the work in to supplement the claim or make up the difference in the estimates. Because of this, some homeowners look for the cheapest contractor willing to do the work for the amount insurance gives them.
There’s a reason why they’re willing to do it for that price when other companies aren’t. That’s why it’s important to look for a roofing company you trust, not the one offering to do the work for cheap.
I guarantee doing this will lead to problems, and you won’t get a decent workmanship warranty to protect your roof from bad work. I get it; trying to avoid paying anything when insurance gives you money is tempting.
But you’ll spend more money down the road on a roof with plenty of problems if you try to get the cheapest roof possible.
How do you find a quality roofing contractor to handle your insurance claim?
Now you have 6 tips to help you avoid falling for a roof damage insurance scam. By following these tips, I’m confident you’ll avoid being taken advantage of by a bad roofer.
While these tips help you avoid scams by a bad roofer, this article doesn’t help you find a reputable one to take care of your roof damage. And to be honest, finding the right roofing contractor helps you avoid these scams altogether.
But finding one for insurance work is a little different than finding one for a retail roof replacement. That’s why I wrote another article that gives you the tips you need to hire a roofer specifically for insurance claims.
Here are 5 Tips to Hire a Roofing Contractor for a Roof Damage Insurance Claim so you can find a roofer you trust to take care of your roof claim.