Every year, millions of homeowners replace their roof, either because it has reached the end of its lifespan or because of sudden storm damage. Roofing scams are common and each year unsuspecting homeowners are left to deal with shoddy roof repairs and insurance fraud. Knowing how to avoid a roofing scam will ensure you get a high-quality roof that protects your home and property.
It’s common practice in the residential roofing industry to solicit new clients through direct mail, cold calling, and even knocking on doors. Many of these salespeople are legitimate but unfortunately, some of them aren’t. It’s important for homeowners to recognize common roofing scams and learn how to avoid them.
Common Roofing Scams
1. Storm Chasers
Most roofing scams tend to happen after extreme weather conditions when individuals referred to as storm chasers pose as local roofing contractors. They promise to help homeowners fix their roof, then disappear having done either shoddy repairs or no work at all.
These scammers follow bad weather events in search of damaged roofs with the goal of making as much money as possible and quickly leaving town. Some signs that may indicate you are dealing with a storm chaser include:
- Drives a vehicle with out-of-state license plates
- Offers to submit your insurance claim
- Requests monies be paid directly to them
- Uses a post office box for a mailing address
- Seems pushy or makes you feel uncomfortable
- Can’t present a business license or proof of insurance
2. Free Roof Inspections and High-Pressure Sales Tactics
If someone knocks on your door offering to do a free roof inspection, be cautious. These scammers will often tell you they are working in the neighborhood and can offer you a good deal.
A roofing problem that is an actual emergency will usually be obvious to the homeowner and doesn’t require a salesperson to “discover” it while canvassing the neighborhood. Offering “today only” deals or insisting you need emergency repairs are common tactics. Any legitimate roofing contractor will recommend that you get a second opinion and will expect you to get several estimates.
3. Free Roof Offers
If a salesperson shows up at your door offering you a free roof, beware. These types of scams are so common that the Better Business Bureau regularly warns the public about them.
These scammers often target elderly homeowners who have older homes and live in areas that have recently experienced storms. The scammer offers a free roof inspection and climbs up to look around for damage. Some of them actually create damage by tearing off shingles or hitting areas with a hammer to mimic hail damage. This is all an effort to scam both the homeowner and their insurance company.
4. Insurance Fraud
Some contractors may offer to pay your insurance deductible. Homeowners should immediately be suspicious and ask themselves why a legitimate business would offer to do this. It’s illegal in many states, including Missouri, for contractors to offer to pay a homeowner’s deductible or offer other questionable financial incentives. Roof repair companies that refer to themselves as “insurance claims specialists” and promise to get homeowners more money on their insurance claims should be avoided.
How to Avoid Being the Victim of a Roofing Scam:
Unfortunately, you need to beware of scammers and do your own due diligence in making sure you hire a reputable and trustworthy roofing contractor. Here are some steps you can take.
Ask friends, neighbors, and co-workers for referrals and do an internet search. The company’s business website should feature testimonials from satisfied customers and tell you how long they’ve been in business. Check with the Better Business Bureau to review their business history as well as any reviews or complaints. Check review sites like Google, Yelp, and Home Advisor for positive and negative reviews.
Contact Your Insurance Company
If your roof is damaged, contact your agent immediately. Insurance companies can recommend reputable contractors if you need emergency repairs. They'll also be able to help you understand your coverage. Make sure an adjuster inspects your roof before repairs begin. Your claim can be denied if the insurance company doesn’t inspect the damage first, meaning you end up footing the entire cost of repairs.
Get Written Estimates
If you suspect you need a roof replacement or repair, get free inspections and written estimates from several local contractors. Estimates should include a working timeline, payment schedule, and transparent pricing. Ask for client references and a list of completed projects in your area so that you can view their work for yourself.
Use Licensed and Insured Contractors
Work with only fully licensed, bonded, and insured contractors. That ensures you don’t have to worry about financial liability for any injuries, accidents, or damages that happen on your property. Legitimate contractors will often provide this documentation before you request it.
Get a Signed Contract Before Work Begins
Make sure the contract you sign details the cost, time schedules, payment terms, guarantees, and any other expectations. You should receive a copy signed by both parties to ensure that changes aren’t made without your knowledge.
Work With a Trusted Local Roofing Company
Some door-to-door salespeople are honest, hard-working professionals who will provide great service, while others are just the opposite. By doing your research, you should be able to avoid any roofing scams that are happening in your area. The best way to avoid scams and shoddy repairs is to work with a local contractor who has been in business for several years and has a history of positive customer reviews.
Since 1999, Brian Dawson Roofing & Construction has been installing residential and commercial roofing systems throughout the greater St. Louis region. Because all of our work is done under warranty and we are fully insured, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your new roof is dependable and long-lasting.
Contact us online or at (636) 733-6435 to schedule a free inspection and consultation. Our mission is to provide quality roofing services and top-notch customer service at a competitive price.