Imagine someone from a roofing company comes to the door and tells you they noticed a hole in your roof. Understandably, many people would suddenly worry about their roof and agree to let them “check it out.” Unfortunately, this can be a costly response. Learning to avoid roofing scams is an important step for homeowners.
Education is a large piece of the Lake Region Insurance Agency ethos. The more you learn about your home and your insurance, the better you can protect your hard work.
Our team helps you insure everything from your car to your business, and we do it with integrity and clarity. Call or stop by one of our Greater Minnesota offices to get a free insurance quote and review.
Stay on Your Toes to Avoid Roofing Scams
Unfortunately, not every service provider has the best intentions. Many shady practices exist that prey on a homeowner’s fears. The following are five tactics that some contractors use and how to avoid these scams.
1. “I See Damage”
Some companies train their employees to approach other homeowners in a neighborhood where they are working. These employees may knock on your door and tell you that while working on another roof, they spotted damage on yours.
They will oh-so-kindly offer to do you a favor by going up to take a look. Once this Good Samaritan contractor comes down, they will tell you that there is, in fact, damage.
There are two significant problems with this. First, you have no way of knowing if there is damage unless you go up to look, which isn’t safe. Second, they may very well have caused damage themselves while they were up there.
Their next step is to pressure you into getting your roof fixed ASAP, by their team, of course. The pressure will increase if you decline the contractor or tell them that you need to think about it.
To protect yourself from this tactic, do not allow anyone onto your roof who shows up unsolicited. Ever.
Instead, hire a reputable company to do a roof inspection each year or after a storm. With this habit, you will know what shape your roof is in and if there are any potential problems. You also will develop a relationship with a roofer you can trust.
2. “Unforeseen Circumstances”
Another popular scam in the roofing world relies on the dreaded “unforeseen circumstances.” A contractor will begin a job at an agreed-on price, usually a strangely low price, and then the following will happen:
- They inform you that the damage is worse than they initially thought.
- They tell you that the amount and cost of materials are going to be significantly more.
They will present this scenario as urgent and ask you for money, or else their crew will have to stop work on your roof. This scene can strike terror in the hearts of homeowners, and they end up forking over the cash.
To make sure you don’t end up in this situation, get at least three bids from highly-rated roofers before choosing a contractor. Read through the contract carefully to ensure that it is very detailed and thorough, without vague language.
If a contractor says there is an increased materials cost, ask to see their receipts before paying a new invoice. If they can’t produce receipts, or they don’t match the invoice, don’t pay.
3. “No Deductible”
Watch out for a roofing company that tells you they will pay your deductible or that your roof will be free because insurance covers it. This is a scam. Close the door. Walk away. Do not agree to anything with this company.
Disreputable roofers will lure homeowners with a “no deductible” scheme. They tell the owners that the company will pay the deductible and handle everything with their insurance company.
Then they give you a lower bill to pay while submitting a second, much higher bill to the insurance company. This situation is fraud, plain and simple. And even though you aren’t trying to be fraudulent, you can get in trouble if this comes to light.
To avoid roofing scams like this one, always talk with your insurance agent for clarity about your policy.
4. “That Was Quite a Storm!”
Storm chasers are not just thrill-seekers who want to see a tornado up close. Some roofing companies fall under this label, too, and not for good reasons.
A common roofing scam is to canvas a neighborhood after a storm, telling homeowners that their roofs sustained major damage. In a panic, many people agree to have these companies do repairs or replacements. Sadly, many times there is no significant harm, and the homeowner ends up paying for nothing.
Of course, storms often do a lot of damage to homes and roofs. Hail damage alone can account for up to $14 million each year. The trick is knowing how to discern what you really need.
After a storm, or any time you suspect damage to your roof, call your insurance agent first. Then reach out to well-reviewed roofers who are fully licensed and bonded to get at least three estimates.
The truth is that after a significant weather event, reputable roofing companies are hard at work for their clients. They don’t have time to wander through neighborhoods looking for jobs. Again, unsolicited inspections or quotes are a huge red flag.
Protect Your Interests
Here are the best ways to protect your home and wallet from roofing scammers:
- Never allow any unsolicited contractor into your home or onto your roof.
- Read reviews and ask for referrals from people you trust.
- Invest in an annual roof inspection and keep up on necessary maintenance.
- Call your insurance agent with any questions or if anything doesn’t sound right to you.
Always trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, or you have internal alarms sounding, you are probably correct in your instincts. There are plenty of excellent companies who work with integrity, so you should never feel pressured to work with a scam artist.
Lake Region Is on Your Side
Our Lake Region team works hard to find a homeowners policy that meets your needs. We are independent agents who do not have to sell only one company’s insurance plans. We search through all possible options to find the right fit for your home.
With offices located in Willmar, New London, and Cokato, Minnesota, we work in the communities that we serve. Stop by one of our offices today or visit the website to request a free quote.