Common Roofing scams and How to Avoid Them
Colorado’s storm season is rapidly approaching. In addition to preparing your home for physical damage and reviewing your insurance policy, you will also need to brace yourself for potential roofing scams.
Unfortunately, areas that have recently been hit by storms are prime targets for roofing scammers. Scams are also prevalent in areas with large senior populations or with older model homes. Being aware of some of the more common roofing scams can help you avoid becoming a victim.
Top 5 Roofing Scams
1. The Storm Chaser
Immediately after a storm, national companies will often send hundreds of sales representatives to the most severely impacted neighborhoods. They tend to offer massive discounts and quick work.
The key problem here is the “quick work.” Storm chasers are looking to fix as many roofs in an area in as little time as possible. The result is often shoddy work or cheap materials.
Furthermore, when you have an issue, you may find you have difficulty contacting your storm chasing roof company. They are more-than-likely out of state and have a corporate office where you will be lost in a never-ending shuffle of complaints.
2. Extra Materials Roofing Scam
This scam involves a roofer knocking on your door claiming to have recently repaired a neighbor’s roof. He or she happens to have extra materials from that job and notices your roof could do with some repairs. Since they already have the materials, they can offer a discount.
While a roofer may be able to detect certain issues from the ground, there is no real way to appreciate the exact scope of repairs needed without a proper inspection. A roofer claiming to know the precise condition of your roof and who has all the necessary materials just lying around is not to be trusted.
3. Roofing Insurance Fraud
This is a serious scam that can result in legal trouble for both the roofer and the homeowner. In this instance, a roofing company will submit two separate invoices: one to the homeowner, and a much higher one to the insurance company.
The idea is that you, the homeowner, will be able to keep the difference when the insurance company overpays. The roofer might suggest you use the surplus to help pay the deductible, or simply keep it for yourself.
Your roofer might try to coerce you by suggesting the insurance company “has plenty of money” or they “won’t even notice.” Again, purposely over-billing insurance is fraud and can be prosecuted in court. Don’t fall for it!
4. Low Bids and High Pressure Offer Scams
A ridiculously low starting bid for a roofing project is a big red flag. This starting price tends to be offset by mysterious “unforeseen” costs, such as increased price of materials or labor shortage.
The cost of materials does fluctuate for the roofing industry, but that price should be locked in when you sign your contract. Pricing should not change drastically mid-project.
These low, low prices may also be accompanied by a “today-only” caveat. This is a high pressure sales tactic that makes homeowners feel they will miss a prime opportunity if they don’t act right away. A quality roofer will never pressure you to sign anything on the spot at the risk of missing out on some deal.
5. A Roofer Asks for A Big Down Payment
A down payment for roofing work is not out of the ordinary, but a roofer that requests a large down payment is likely a scam artist. In general, the down payment for your roof should never be more than 20% of the projected cost of repairs. Any more than this is cause for concern.
Avoiding Roofing Scams
As a general rule of thumb, if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Obtain several quotes before proceeding with repairs, and use a local company that is familiar with your area’s weather patterns and housing codes. Look for a company with a physical address and that has lots of positive online reviews. A quality roofer should be ready and willing to answer any questions you might have and may even offer a free inspection.
What Should I Do Immediately After a Storm?
Following a bad storm, you should perform a thorough assessment of any damage and contact your insurance company to file a roofing claim. They will assign you an insurance adjuster who will help you locate quality contractors and file necessary documentation.
If you need further assistance filing a claim or your claim has been denied, you can speak with a qualified roofing insurance attorney. David Roth is dedicated to holding insurance companies accountable and has helped hundreds of claimants receive a fair settlement. Contact our office or go online to schedule a free consultation.