The sad reality is that there are many roofing contractors out there that are looking to make a quick buck. People across the country fall victim to roofing scams every year, with the most common and publicized scammers being the storm chasing contractors.
What is a storm chasing contractor?
Also, known as roofing qypsies, these roofers follow the paths of storms, preying on the vulnerable homeowners left in the storm’s wake. They scan weather and local new stations waiting for reports of damaging winds or hail, and then make their way to the affected areas. They’ll will make their way around the area passing out brochures and giving free estimates, often showing up to homes unannounced. At first, they appear as a saving grace, but then they leave their customers with poor quality repair jobs that often require further repair work shortly down the road.
Storm chasing contractors are able to manipulate homeowners through their knowledge of how insurance providers operate. They can estimate how much the insurance company will pay for a roof repair based on the square footage of the roof, and then they will do the work for that amount. The homeowner is under the impression they are getting a great deal, however, the contractor will repair the roof in the cheapest manner possible, cutting corners and ignoring other problems. The homeowner is then left with an improperly repaired or incomplete roof only to find that the contractor is nowhere to be found.
How to avoid storm chasing scams
Given the nomadic nature of these contractors, they have little to no incentive to provide high quality work. Following a storm, if a contractor is going door to door looking for repair jobs, there is a decent chance they are a storm chaser. If you are unsure, ask the contractor to provide proof of their roofing license and insurance. If they are unable to provide this information, then it might be a scam. If the contractor is able to provide this information, although it provides some peace of mind, does not mean they are being completely honest. Do a little research about the company and see if you can find an address. Companies that have their address listed as a PO box should be avoided.
The easiest way to avoid falling victim to a storm chaser is to do your own research. Make sure the company has all required documents and permits, and also make sure the company is reputable by looking for reviews and testimonials. It is easy to panic when your home is damaged due to a storm, but remember to stay calm, because the decisions you make regarding the repairs will have a lasting impact on your home.