The roofing industry doesn’t have the best reputation. Most homeowners (for good reason) take a cautious approach to roofing companies and don’t necessarily trust them.
A lot of this distrust stems from unsuspecting homeowners being taken advantage of by contractors looking to make easy money using scare tactics. This is especially true after a strong storm goes through an area.
Companies (storm chasers) from all over the country follow these strong storms and flood the areas with salespeople. They’re sent to your area for one reason and one reason only, to use scare tactics to sell roofs.
The last thing you want is to get scammed into buying a new roof, especially if you don’t necessarily need one. Because we’re trying to clean up the roofing industry’s reputation, we’re going to give you 5 tips to avoid getting taken advantage of by scammy storm chasing companies.
The team at Bill Ragan Roofing has helped homeowners in Nashville avoid getting taken advantage of since 1990. We don’t believe in using scare tactics to get you to buy a new roof from us. If you do have storm damage, we’ll work with you and your insurance company to get the problem taken care of.
By the end of this article, you’ll learn what a storm chaser is and 5 tips to avoid getting scammed by a storm chasing company.
What is a storm chaser?
When most people think of a storm chaser, they think about someone chasing tornados or other extreme weather for thrills. But in the roofing industry, they’re known for other reasons.
Storm chasers is an industry term for companies (usually out of state) that go into areas after a big storm to sell roofs to homeowners that might have storm damage. These companies work by sending highly-trained salespeople to go knock door to door using scare tactics to try to sell new roofs to unwary homeowners.
They’ll undercut the prices of the local roofing companies in your area to make the deal seem even sweeter. Once the salespeople get the money, they’ll move on to the next storm-hit town.
Once they leave, they’ll leave the crews behind to do the work. Usually, the work is done poorly without caring about following local codes or if they install your roof properly.
As soon as the workers leave the job site, the storm chasing company will quit answering their phones. This is what we call a “tail light warranty” because as soon as their tail lights disappear from view, the warranty disappears as well.
5 tips to avoid getting scammed by a storm chasing company
Now you know what a storm chaser is and how they operate. But how can you avoid the above situation happening to you?
Below are 5 tips to avoid getting scammed by a storm chasing company.
1. Ask the roofing company who’s knocking on your door if they have a local office and phone number
One of the easiest ways to avoid getting scammed by a storm chasing company is by asking for their office address and phone number right off the bat. You must make sure they have a physical office location in your area and a phone number with a local area code.
That’s not to say all out-of-state companies are out to scam you. But if you just had a strong storm come through and an out-of-state company is knocking on your door, it’s a good bet they’re in the area chasing storms.
2. Check the roofing company’s paperwork
Every roofing contractor should be licensed, bonded, and insured in the state(s) they operate in. These three pieces of paper are in place to protect you and ensure the job is done right.
To avoid getting scammed by storm chasers knocking on your door, ask to see the appropriate paperwork to make sure they’re licensed, bonded, and insured specifically in your state. If they’re missing even one of the three, it puts you, your roof, and even your wallet at risk.
If a roofing contractor isn’t licensed, bonded, and insured in your state, don’t even think about hiring them. Otherwise, if something does go wrong, you will have literally zero recourse.
3. Don’t panic when they say you have storm damage
Storm chasers coming into your neighborhood are there for one reason, to scare you into buying a roof. When you get a knock on your door, they’re immediately going to say you have storm damage and that you need a new roof.
The most important thing you can do in this situation is not panic. Once you panic, they have you right where they want you.
Is storm damage stressful? Yes, of course, it is. But if your roof isn’t leaking or the damage isn’t severe, there’s no reason to stress out or panic right away.
Even if you do have storm damage, you have 1 to 2 years to file a claim depending on your insurance policy. So, there’s no reason to rush into buying a new roof from a storm chasing company when they say you have roof damage.
4. Don’t sign any paperwork or let them get on your roof
Remember, storm chasing companies will undercut the prices of the local roofing companies in your area. These low prices are tempting, especially with scare tactics they like to use.
No matter what they tell you, don’t sign anything they put in front of you or let them get on your roof. They use a clever way to trick you into signing the paperwork by saying they’re only going to get on your roof to do a roof assessment.
But what they don’t tell you is that once you sign the paperwork, you’re signing away the rights to your roof. This means you have to use the storm chasing company for your roof replacement and breaking the contract could have financial implications.
If a storm chaser comes to your door, says you have storm damage, and wants to do an assessment, thank them and tell them you’ll reach out to your insurance company. But under no circumstances should you sign anything or let them get on your roof.
5. Call your insurance company and a local roofing contractor if you suspect roof damage
The best way to avoid getting scammed by a storm chaser is to avoid them altogether. If a company knocks on your door and says you have storm damage, tell them you’ll reach out to your insurance company and preferred local roofer.
Your insurance will send out an adjuster to check to see if you have a storm damage claim. And if you do have a claim, you’ll have a local roofing company lined up that knows your area's installation codes, the paperwork required, and everything else they’ll need to ensure your roof is correctly installed in compliance with your state’s requirements.
Will homeowners insurance cover your storm-damaged roof?
Now you know the 5 tips to avoid getting scammed after a strong storm hits your area. Asking a company going door to door after a storm if they have a local office, phone number, and the appropriate paperwork for your area helps you determine right away if they’re up to no good.
But the most important things to do when they knock on your door are not to panic and not to sign anything they give you. Following these 5 tips ensures you don’t get taken advantage of even if you do have storm damage to your roof.
But what do you do if you actually have storm damage? Will your homeowners insurance company cover it?
This is a huge concern after a huge storm blows through an area. That’s why we broke down what kind of roof damage your insurance company covers.
The team at Bill Ragan Roofing has provided a helping hand to the residents of Nashville and surrounding areas with storm damage to their roofs since 1990. We strive to give you a positive experience during such a stressful time. If you’re local to Nashville, don’t hesitate to contact us to help you deal with your storm damage.