Severe storms, high winds, hurricanes, and tornadoes can cause major damage to businesses, towns, and homes. Repairs can cost thousands and leave families devastated. To add insult to injury, there are some contractors who take advantage of vulnerable homeowners during the storm’s aftermath.
Homeowners must be aware of companies known as storm chasers. These are out of town contractors who masquerade themselves as local businesses, but don’t know anything about your community. They thrive off of collecting homeowners’ insurance claim checks before moving on to the next damaged area.
Storm chasers can also scam reputable contractors as well. The Better Business Bureau has sent warnings to homeowners and repair contractors to beware of their tactics. There are ways to protect your home and business from storm chasers.
What is a Storm Chaser?
When the severe weather has come and gone, you are left with damage to your home. The process of repairing your home to normal begins. Sadly, this is also the time when a small group of contractors tries to take advantage of homeowners. They are known as storm chasers.
Their main goal is to make quick money from you and your neighbors. Here’s how they get their business:
- They watch for hail storms, tornadoes, or strong winds to strike an area.
- They know in detail how insurance companies work.
- Aggressive sales tactics are used to build their business.
- They offer unbelievable deals.
- Homeowners are often encouraged by storm chasers to use their insurance policies to pay for damages. They may promise to save the homeowner’s deductible.
- The repair job is done very quickly, but often poorly or left unfinished.
- Other underlying problems and issues with your roof or home are not addressed.
- When issues appear shortly after they finish the job, the storm chasers are nowhere to be found. They’re onto the next storm to scam other homeowners.
Steer Clear of Storm Chasers
Storm chasers will not stay around for long because they are looking for the next damaged area. They give a bad name to honest and reputable roofing contractors.
- Storm chasers don’t have any roots in the local community.
- They aren’t knowledgeable about the local building codes or laws.
- The quality of workmanship is very poor.
- Cheap materials are often used.
- Their staff is poorly trained.
- Warranties either don’t exist or will not be honored because the contractors disappear when the work is done.
- They sometimes leave a project without completing it.
- The hiring practices of these types of companies are sketchy. They often experience high turnover.
Don’t Get Scammed
Homeowners must do their research on roofing contractors to ensure they are not dealing with a storm chaser. First, call your insurance company. They will send out an appraiser to check for any damage if it exists. Once your insurance company has validated damage, they will give you a quote to repair the damage. After receiving the quote, homeowners can start their search for a contractor for repairs.
To avoid getting scammed, use the following tips to hire a reputable roofing company.
- Contact your insurance company for recommended contractors.
- Check the Better Business Bureau for information about the company.
- Ask to see proof of insurance and check their licensing with local and state agencies.
- Pay by check or credit card to have a record of transactions as work is performed. Credit cards offer additional fraud protection.
- You should never pay the full amount of a job up front! Be cautious of contractors who pressure you into paying in full before the work is complete.
- Ask for referrals or to see their work with previous customers.
- Don’t be pressured to sign anything. Do not make hasty decisions concerning your home.
- Don’t sign over insurance checks to potential storm chasers. Get an invoice from the contractor and pay them directly.
- Visit the contractors’ office. If the company only lists a post office box, it’s a major red flag.
- Most companies will discuss a payment schedule with you and give you the agreed-upon schedule in writing.
If you’re looking for a reputable, experienced local roofing repair company, Brian Dawson Roofing is the one to call. We are right here in the community and ready to assist you at every step after dealing with a major storm. Brian Dawson Roofing is licensed and insured.
We’ll be here long after the storm has passed to stand behind our work and honor our warranties. Contact us for a quote today if you need storm damage repair to your roof.